Guest Post: C. Suresh, Author of A Dog Eat Dog-Food World

‘A dog eat dog-food world’ – The Making

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I write that title and it feels like I am Jackie Chan, who used to end all his movies with shots of all the comic missteps made in the shooting of his movies. Not far from true about how this book got written, too, since I am constitutionally incapable of doing anything without making a cartoon out of myself.
It started in my youth, when bell-bottomed trousers were all the craze. A time when boys used to discuss the increasing size of the bell-bottoms of their trousers with the same excitement that is now shown in discussing the reducing size of the waist-line. If you had a trouser that did not flap around completely hiding your shoes, your clothing was considered ugly and your tastes hopelessly unsophisticated.
Exactly why that should be so, I never really understood. I mean, they were quite handy to hide the fact that you had a couple of holes in your shoes and that your shoes had not seen polish since the day they left the showroom. They also helped you sweep the floor merely by the process of walking across it. But, why should this make you any more attractive to women? Well, it may, but I am yet to see a boy trying to attract a girl by exhibiting his prowess in household chores, and it was less likely in my day when even most girls would laugh at someone who did so. (AND, yes, even if women do not dress to be attractive to men, the primary motivation of most men to dress well is to be attractive to women. If the world were full of men, the way they would dress…forget it, I am not in the mood for telling horror stories now).
By the time I hit IIM-Bangalore, you had to be really unsophisticated to parade around in fancy dress like bell-bottomed trousers. The doubt remained in my mind. Everyone believed that a man, who appeared to be walking around on a couple of mops, was an enchanting sight for a time and, suddenly, the same man turned into something like those stilt-walkers you see in festivals. Our ideas of sophisticated dressing and, to take a larger view, elegant life – how do we get them and how do we change them?
IIM-Bangalore provided me with what seemed to be the answers. The courses on marketing management were all ‘Aha’ moments for me, insofar as they taught me how this could happen. True, what they taught me was how to fit a product to suit the aspirations of a customer but, to me, it seemed that it could work equally as well the other way around. The process of marketing the product could, by itself, CREATE an aspiration or DEFINE how an aspiration OUGHT to be satisfied, even if the marketing professionals did not intend so profound a change.
So, way back in 1988, was the genesis of the idea for this book. I had always been interested in writing and, indeed, in 1988 I had planned to save enough to quit early and start writing. Back then I had planned this book as a pseudo-history of marketing management, which could also prove as a primer for certain basic concepts of marketing management.
By the time I got down to writing the book, though, I had made matters more complicated for myself, as I normally do. You know how it goes. You are nicely chugging along writing some 500 words a day and, suddenly, one day you decide to up your productivity and write some 2000 words a day. Net result – for the next three months you laze around, not even writing words in Facebook statuses.
Something like that happened. When I decided to write this up as a novella, I wanted to also build in things about human motivation, office politics and the general life-cycle of an organization. Of course, you do not want it to come out like some khichdiof messed-up ideas, causing the reader to feel like going and making a New Year resolution about not buying any such book again. To write it seamlessly as a humorous tale and still layer it with multiple strands of thought was a daunting task, so daunting that I went climbing mountains instead of buckling down to writing.
Eventually, I did sit down to write the satirical pseudo-history of marketing management - in fits and starts but that is the way I work. One day, I would be sitting around furiously typing in 5000 words; the next month I would conceptualize and admire the beauty of what I would write but would be too lazy (and, dare I say, too afraid to put it down. After all, very few things look as wonderful in reality as they do in imagination) to actually sit down and type it all in. No-one was more surprised than me when I really hit ‘The End’ on this novella.
Now, it is out published by ‘Fablery’ and the heartening thing is that it actually does seem to read seamlessly to almost all the readers, who have taken the time to review the book. What is more, all the layers of satire have caught the notice of one reader or the other.
It should not take – and should never have taken – so long to write this book. As can be seen, the longest interval was between conceiving the book and typing in the first word. THAT, in short, is the dilemma of any beginner author. A book is actually a part of yourself and to put it out in the harsh light of reality is a frightening prospect. But, then, you never will know if you are good unless you try.

No-one is a loser, who tries even if (s)he fails. A loser is the one who wants something but admits failure without ever trying. Thankfully, I did not let the fear of failure get in the way of completing this book even if it did take a small matter of nearly a couple of decades to do so.

Author: C. Suresh

Book Musings: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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I bought All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven as a part of my December book loot, when my salary got credited into my account. Amazon for that one brief moment let me make my payment online. And I was ecstatic.

My brilliant New Year's Eve plan consisted of eating chocolate chip cookies and reading All The Bright Places, as I welcomed the New Year. I didn't get time to bake the cookies, so I made myself some chocolate pudding and settled down.

Theodore Finch has haunted me ever since. 

I wish Jennifer Niven was a close, personal friend of mine so that I could call her up and talk to her about Finch. When I finished the book, I realized why all the other book nerds that I know had insisted that I read the book the minute the finished it.

It's difficult to believe that a boy as gifted and as talented as Theodore Finch, who is a cry for help from the very first page, is ignored by everyone around him. The book makes you think deeply about how one snide comment, one stray remark can scar a child for life and shape who they go on to become as young adults.

I have been criticized for reading "young adult" books where I am an adult. But I believe the issues that are addressed in this YA fictions, are often problems that have haunted as adults. Believe me, words can leave scars that no ointment can ever heal. Because these scars cannot be seen.

All the Bright Places has it synopsis perfectly in place: This is the story of a girl (Violet Markey) who learns to live, from a boy (Theodore Finch) who wants to die. 

Filled with life lessons, and addressing a topic that we don't often see in fiction books (manic depression), I believe this book has left an indelible mark in my mind forever. I realize this is not my typical book review because I believe trying to review the book would be committing a grave injustice on my part. I have such strong feelings for this book - I wouldn't be able to tell you like it is.
Jennifer Niven

Do pick up this book. Doesn't matter what age you are. And if you happen to have teenagers, and if they ever tell you they're feeling depressed - please do not laugh it off. Depression has no explanation and no age limits. Be there for them.

Read All the Bright Places together maybe that would help.

P.S. - This was the second time I wanted to reach through the book and save a character. It is so difficult to grow to love a person, and then be forced to let them go because you couldn't help them.... I hope some day I'm able to create a character as colourful as Theodore Finch. And I hope no matter what life throws at him, I'm able to save him.