NS Ravi has recently published his book ‘Those were the Days’. It is a non-fiction book. I am currently reading it with a review coming up soon. It is definitely a genre of book which I normally do not read. But this year, I had resolved to read books out of my comfort zone. Therefore, reading non-fiction. But I have no appetite for technical or politics. History being a favorite genre for me, I agreed to review this book for
About the book.
The book is a series of letters written by the author to his two children. As a result, the book covers diverse topics in a conversational manner. It is also about a way of life which no longer exists. As we see our new generation which has limited attention span and thinks anything prior to TV is pre-historic, the book is a revelation. It is also a kind of history which cannot be found in text books. When I saw my non-reading 16-year old son read the book, I knew the potential of the book is immense.
About the author.
NS Ravi holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Delhi. He has had a distinguished career in the public and private sector. He has widely traveled around India, and the world. He speaks Tamil, Hindi, English and French.
Ravi is married and has two children.
Lets Get Familiar with the author N S Ravi.
Hello Ravi, tell us about your book ‘Those were the days’.
The book is a result of my discussions with qualified(Engineers,MBAs) young Indian colleagues aged below 30 years when we lived in an African country over a period of three years.Far removed from family, from English,from sufficient number of Indian channels which normally could have kept us occupied, we had a unique relationship different from that of a boss-subordinate .The innumerable discussions covered a wide spectrum of subjects concerning India. It became evident and clear to me that many people born after 1980 were not fully aware of the tremendous progress India has made over the last fifty years which I had the privilege to witness and silently participate. It made me realize that there is a necessity to present a collage of the progress the country has made in the form of a book so that people do understand the progress the country has made.
Why should we read the book?
I would think the book is a good read for all Indians who have reading as a hobby. I have had very good feedback from my own aunt who is close to Ninety years of age as also mothers of some of my friends who are well past the age of seventy. They were all able to easily connect with happenings covered the narration. Similarly, some of my young friends have reacted positively remarking that they just were not aware of the progress the country has made. The book does not rely on statistics but uses incidents and anecdotes from my own life to drive home the point.
What challenges you faced when writing the book? How did you overcome?
The biggest challenge I faced was to start writing in the first place. I loved to write. Reports that I had prepared in my professional capacity were always well appreciated. But writing for general reading public was something which was alien and challenging. I did not know whether my style of writing and presentation would suit the palate of a typical Indian reader.
However, having taken the decision to definitly write, I adopted the simple approach of taking it up as a challenge as there was nothing to lose. I knew in my heart that the subject was interesting enough based on the reaction I had received from my colleagues who always were appreciative of my ability to respond positively to their queries.
Which is the most interesting aspect/chapter in the book?
The concluding chapter of the book is very powerful and I have no doubt that those who lived in India of that period will be touched and moved to recall those days. The book has been written covering a variety of subjects and each has been dealt with individually. The chapters are not related though they are linked by the undercurrent of Indianness. Reader can read the book at leisure covering one chapter a day without losing thread. For many who are on the 40 plus the book would make them feel nostalgic and relive their lives. That would be one of the most interesting aspect of the book.
What books / authors have influenced you most in life?
I have been blessed to be born in a family where tertiary reading was encouraged.We used to buy a large number of magazines. I was also lucky that we had the concept of book lending library during my initial formative years from where we could borrow a wide range reading material. Even reading comics was not discouraged. My father insisted and ensured that the first book I read was the Ramayana and Mahabarata written by Rajaji. It was a known subject which made understanding easy and the English was simple and superb.I have been very seriously influenced by Indian Mythological writings. In terms of authors who have impressed me I would count names of PG Wodehouse, Rex Stout, Doyle, Mclean in the top rung.
What is your writing style?
I believe in simple language using familiar words and avoiding difficult words as far as possible.I always wanted my writing should be enjoyed by the reader and not used to improve his or her vocabulary by constant reference to dictionary. In case of this book I have used the concept of letter writing wherein I have narrated the entire book to my son and daughter.
What writing advice would you give to debutante writers?
It would be unfair for me to even think of donning the mantle of someone who can guide or advice debutante writers. After just one book it is not done. Yet I would say to new comers that if I can do it so can you as long as you are confident!
Any new books in progress?
I am pretty well advanced with my next book which is a fiction. I would like to complete my part of it by early November so that it can hit the stands by early next year.
What are you currently reading?
I completed Scion of Ishvaku by Amish last week. I have started on the recent novel by Jeffrey Archer titled ‘Mightier than the sword’ which is the concluding part of the Clifton chronicles. I enjoyed the earlier four parts part of serial and am sure this too would be good. Archer for me is a good story teller.
Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.
I am a simple plain speaking man and honestly do not know how to answer the question. I would think it would be for others to talk of not three at least one interesting thing of me.
From my side if I were to try hard, I would say insistence on punctuality, not to be afraid to loudly laugh when reading even a good comic, and a good decent memory for details could be considered as three non controversial facts.
Connect with N S Ravi on –
Facebook – nuranisravi
Twitter – @iamnsravi
Linkedin – nuranisravi
The interview was conducted for Wordbite.