Yesterday's Hindu's Metro Plus edition carried an interview of mine with Prabalike Borah.
We had met a couple of weeks ago at Minerva Coffee Shop and chatted over coffee. The interview titled 'Cricket, Books and More' turned out well with a nice picture of me posing in front of a stack of 'The Men Within' copies, presumably taken at the Chennai launch of the same.
It is always nice to be acknowledged for a good, hard effort. 'The Men Within' took me about one year to write. I did the plot first, the character sketches and then went about writing chapters, researching for small pieces of information wherever I required them. Reading the Gita, the Art of War, Cricket coaching manuals, Management books, Books on leadership and team play, googling information on several small details that stuck in my head, and then recalling incidents, clearly seeing and reliving what went on in my mind when the incidents happened, it was a highly satisfying experience when I put it all together. I wanted the book to answer as many questions in 'The Art of Winning' or rather 'The Science of Winning' to cricketers, managers, lay persons and give hope to anyone with a dream.
I was vaguely aware of the fact that the book was probably the first novel on cricket in Indian Writing in English but it got confirmed only after a wonderful review of the book by none other than the grandmaster of cricket journalism in India, the late Rajan Bala. A fantastic review that I will cherish forever, in which he mentioned that this was indeed the first work of fiction on cricket in IWE!
The book went into its second print within a fortnight. It hit the bestseller list in the Hindu. Several reviews followed, all of them very positive and more importantly several reader comments cutting across language, age, profession - students, grandmothers, managers, cricketers, coaches etc - who liked the book for its inspirational content. A student wrote in saying that he could use this book's philosophy to plan for his exams and his life, a grandma wrote in saying that her life would have been different if she had read this book when she was twenty, several youngsters wrote in saying that the book has changed their perspective to life and given them hope to dream. One CA picked up 40 copies at one go to distribute to his friends, and I know one eminent management consultant from Hyderabad, who subsequently became my good friend - Amar Chegu - who has gifted even more number of copies as corporate gifts. It is the greatest compliment to a writer I realise, when someone actually gifts your book to another. It is certainly feedback like this that makes the entire effort worthwhile.
A couple of students from Chennai University wrote their doctoral thesis on the book. It made the long list in the 2007 Crossword-Vodafone award. And now it is being made into a movie. With a team like Ram, Mohana Krishna, Sumanth, Swathi, Bharani and Subbaraju, this movie should do extremely well. The book is in its fifth print today. I am doing motivational lectures and workshops based on the content of the book.
I wrote this book to bring out the wonderful parallel between life and cricket. The game taught me much and I wrote it as honestly as I could. I see it touching the 1 million figure at some point or another; there is no way this book will not. It will, sooner than later.