October 14, 2012


We recently interviewed published author Mayank Jain

Short Bio :

Mayank Jain is an IIM Calcutta alumnus (2010 batch). He is currently working with a top FMCG company, directly associated with the world of sales. 
Stop Me If You Can!!” is his debut novel, a kind of satire on the world of sales. He is also a talented mimicry artist and has done live audio cricket commentary in the past. More recently, he has been on the lookout for a real life Rohit Salaria (the chutzpanik, eccentric over-the-top protagonist of his book) to whom he promises to give away all his land and property the day he meets him.
So here goes,

-Tell us something about your novel

The book “Stop Me If You Can!!” is a humorous take on the world of sales. The protagonist, Rohit Salaria is a fresh graduate from one of the famed IIMs, and has just picked up a sales job with an MNC called ABC. For his first assignment he is posted in Hyderabad as a territory manager. He discovers the ever dynamic world of sales; the uncertainties and the complexities related to it. And then of course, there is that single most important corporate entity - boss.

But Salaria is different. Very different. Riding high on IIM credentials, the maverick in Salaria takes over as he devises his own methods to deal with situations around him. Somewhere in between he also starts wooing a very attractive girl called Priya who happens to be from the marketing department of ABC. Again Salaria’s pursuit is anything but usual.

It is Salaria’s attitude and outlandish thinking that lend humour to the story – a very distinctive humour that runs through the book. To say the least – he is impossible. He dwells in his imaginary world and descends on mother earth once in a while to leave us mortals baffled with his unique thought process.

It’s my honest attempt to spread some mirth and make you smile with every section of the book. Laugh with Salaria or laugh at him. Laugh you will.

-How did this book happen and why did you choose to write about it?
Okay, so I would generally make a note of funny ideas or situations that I saw around me/imagined. So there were ideas galore. Then I joined a top-notch FMCG company post my MBA from IIM C and entered the world of sales. That’s where I saw an opportunity to bring together all my old ideas and the new ones in the form of a book. I was very confident that I had enough matter, and that publishers would like the content because it was going to be different, not the run-of-the-mill stuff. Plus, I received encouraging feedback on a few of the initial chapters which I put on a blog (now closed). And of course, I was enjoying the writing bit all along. That’s precisely how the book took shape.

-When did you take to writing?
I suddenly became interested in writing after I cracked CAT. That was way back in 2007. CAT to me was the ultimate test of one’s competitiveness. And then suddenly there was this irresistible urge to tell the world how I managed to bell the CAT. Thus began the first leg of my writing journey. I trudged and slogged and somehow managed to complete my first manuscript just after I graduated from IIM C. Then I went about the business of submitting my work to publishers etc. There were a few offers, but by the time they came I had already started working on a second manuscript. And this one I knew was going to be very different. I was just loving it. That is when I decided to put my first manuscript on the backburner and totally focus on the second one. Thus was born Rohit Salaria.

In between, at IIM C, I was the chief editor of a few magazines for the literary and marketing clubs.

-Where do you usually write? What is your favourite setting to write in?
I usually (make that always) write in a table-chair setup. I generally think very hard and deliberate over each and every statement that I write. Hence I require a very, very peaceful environment. If I can get food at regular intervals and a calm place then I just keep going. However, I never stay up late at night or strain myself.

-Did this story come to you easily or did you find yourself stuck with a writer’s block sometimes?

(Laughs) You should read the story to know what this guy Salaria is capable of. And he really made me think hard. So, yes, initially there were definitely these times when I was stuck. But then I kind of kept my habit of jotting down ideas on the run going. And then the character Salaria also took some kind of shape in my head, and I could very well envisage his reactions under different circumstances. So, gradually I got accustomed to this free flowing style where I would have the next part of the story mentally prepared even before I sat down to write it. Thereafter, it was quite a smooth run. And that is why I think the book is decently fast paced.

-Tell us about your life online and the sites you maintain
I really haven’t had a very active life online. There was this blog that I started writing (which is defunct now) and which was the genesis of “Stop Me If You Can!!”. But having said that, I have a facebook page for the book which has close to 400 fans. And I am decently active on the page:

-What are your thoughts on life – The one thing that it takes to live it?
One should take it a little less seriously, feel elated and roll along. There is no need to put pressure on ourselves and others, because each of us is different. The day we realize that and look within rather than looking outwards, the world would be a much happier place.

Having said that, I would also like to say that I love to work hard towards the goals that I set for myself. And I think it brings back a lot of satisfaction and contentment.

-How has your experience been so far in the literary world? Any highs or lows being a part of this space that you would like to share -here?
Oh, it’s a tough world out there in the literary space, especially for a first time author. You need to be really good as well as lucky to get a look in at your work.

The highs were getting multiple offers for my book within the space of a few days. The lows were definitely the times when I was waiting to hear some good news from publishers. There were times when I doubted whether my work would ever see the light of day. But then the day I held the first printed copy in my hands, all those times were wiped away in one go.

-Tell us something about your work & hobbies?
I work for a top FMCG company and am in sales currently. I love my work and my workplace both.

My hobbies include physical fitness – I regularly jog/swim. I am quite a cricket buff too. I am generally very up to date in cricket stats and fall in the category of people who start reading the newspaper from the last page onwards (and leave it by the time they reach the center page). And then of course, I love reading and writing.

-So how did it feel when you finally finished writing the book?
Oh, it was a wonderful feeling. Knowing that the book was over gave an extraordinary sense of achievement. But I also knew that I had to toil a lot to get a good publisher. And I was quite prepared for it. Also, completion of the book meant that I would have a few weekends where I could just relax and socialize more – for which I was getting less time while writing the book.

-Top 3 All-time favourite books.
·         Jeeves collection by PG Wodehouse
·         My Journey Back To Life, It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong
·         Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

We would like to thank Author Mayank Jain for a Tete-e-tete with Team Book Readers Lounge.

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