Today We are with Mr. Akshay Shroff Author of ‘The Monk.’
He is an international media advertising sales consultant since past three decades. He is also translated ‘Bardoli ka itihas’.
AMIT– Hello Sir! Tell me something about yourself.
Sir- I have been brought up in a large family, involved in the main business of agriculture, salt works, and etcetera. My grandfather was a freedom fighter and an important shot in the then National Congress, spearheading the freedom movement.
He had a tremendous command over English and Marathi languages. He used to dictate and I would write his various communications. He had also translated ‘Bardoli cha Itihaas’ way back in the 1940s.
I picked up my knowledge and use of English from him in those early years of my childhood. I have also been a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction ever since.
Professionally, I have been an advertising sales consultant of domestic and international media first in Delhi and now since last two decades in Mumbai.
Happily married to Jayna since 1981, son, Rohan and daughter-in-law, Stuti are my family now.
My hobbies comprise of reading, writing, trekking, travel and wild life. Lover of nature and animals, dogs have been my companions on and off.
AMIT– “The Monk”, such an attractive title! How did you come up with this?
Sir- It’s a long story. I have always dreamt of becoming an Author. I used to write essays, short stories, experiences during my travels, and so on. When I was in the X Standard, my essay on India’s progress since independence was selected and published in the school’s annual book. When Neil Armstrong stepped down on the moon in July 1969, my article praising man’s achievements was fixed on the college’s Notice Board for over two months and it generated rave reviews.
These minor achievements boosted my confidence in writing a book. However, business and other commitments took precedence and I found little time in pursuing my age-old dream. Over a decade ago, prodded and encouraged by my wife, I started writing. The initial couple of manuscripts on love and romance had been a shabby job and obviously, didn’t find any takers.
I kept thinking of a more acceptable subject for my novel and one fine morning, four years ago, the idea of a book on the growing menace of terrorism hit me and there was no looking back. As the plot took shape in my mind, I wondered about the title. Because, as the book will reveal towards the end, the protagonist had been going through pangs of guilt and remorse of his action and he decides to don saffron robes as an act of penance, I fell for “The Monk”.
Today, after getting so much acclaim for the title itself, I consider myself fortunate of having my finger on the readers’ pulse.
AMIT– Is it your favorite genre in writing as well as reading?
Sir-Not necessarily, Among fiction books, I have read most of the works of Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase, Harold Robbins, Irving Wallace, Arthur Hailey, Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Frederick Forsyth, Mario Puzo, Ayn Rand and more recently, Indian writers like Arvind Adiga, Siddhant Sanghvi, Amish Tripathi, Anand Neelakantan, Vani Kaushal, Shikha Khanuduja Kaul; to name some.
Same principle may apply vis-à-vis the writing genre too. The Monk is my debut novel. Let’s wait and see the clarity the next morrow would reveal.
AMIT– Tell me something about your characters/lead characters of your story.
Sir- The lead character had been an ardent fan of Sunil Gavaskar and aimed at pursuing a career in Cricket. He loses his father, a Police Sub-inspector in the 1993 serial bomb blasts in then Bombay at a tender age of 10. Overnight, he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a police officer. Much later, while serving in the Anti-Terrorism Squad, he loses his mother and fiancée in the serial train blasts of July 2006.
Rest of the story and his journey — the book will disclose.
AMIT– What were your expectations from the book?
Sir- The subject being of universal concern, readers around the world wanting to know the consequences of terrorism, I expect a global audience for The Monk.
I leave it at the mercy of the discerned reader.
AMIT– What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sir- It needed thorough and exhaustive research in many aspects, which you will come across when you read the book.
AMIT– Gargi Publishers believe in good quality. How was your experience with Pulkit Sir and company?
Sir- Pulkit? An energetic, enthusiastic, dynamic, honest and a committed publisher. A professional to the core. No wonder, he has been successful in a very short span of time. Given his age, I am confident, he will go places.
His team of Cover designer, Amol Karambe and type-setter Ajay Verma match his qualities.
AMIT– Would you like to share anything that has left by me?
Sir- Yes, I wish to bring it to every reader’s notice that I do not hold brief for any religion. Personally, I am an atheist. But I have no grudge against any religion or anybody’s beliefs. The book may contain passages which may hurt somebody’s sentiments. I respect everybody, except of course, the misguided terrorists and their instigators/supporters. Otherwise, no offence meant to innocent people of any religion.
AMIT– And the last one, you seem to be so mature, talented and passionate for your work. From where do you get so much passion, energy, eagerness to work and work. Share with us.
Sir-Passion? Perhaps in borne.
Eagerness? Desire to be successful.
And finally, is there any substitute for work? As that line in the song of a classic Raj Kapoor film ‘Shree 420’ says —–
Chalna jiwan ka hai kaam
Rukna, mout ki nishani!
Thank you so much Sir!
Readers can by this book