Sunday, January 19, 2014

Author Interview: Mallika Nawal: Author of I'm a Woman & I'm on SALE

Mallika Nawal is a professor-cum-writer. She is about to complete her doctorate in marketing from IIT Kharagpur. She is a best-selling author of three management books and has taught at reputed institutes like Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar, S.P. Jain Center of Management Dubai and IIT Kharagpur.

She serves as a Panelist on the WHO's Network of Experts for Psycho-Social Working Environment in Developing Countries. She was also part of the subcommittee on Management Education and made recommendations to the Ministry of HRD for the 11th Five-Year-Plan.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, adventure sports, and playing with her two precious dogs. 
Welcome, Mallika! (profile taken from her Goodreads page)

Your real name and pen name?
Mallika Nawal.
{If I had (or have) a pen name, chances are I would keep it a BIG Secret. Because, I’ll be Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde}

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
My two-month summer vacation every year at my Nana’s [maternal grandfather] house with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles...of course, only till he was there. After he left for his heavenly abode, the house just wasn’t the same anymore.  

About your education
I’m a Notre Damian, first and foremost!!!
I did my Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Patna Women’s College; my MBA in Marketing & HR from IIPM, New Delhi and my Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior from IIT Kharagpur.  

What career did you plan during your education days
Are you kidding – I wanted to get married when I was 11 so I could escape education. [LOL]
I am the living legend – the Legend of the Underdog. {The Slacker who went to IIT Kharagpur} 

What languages you can speak and write?
English and Hindi. And I can also speak the language of LOVE…ha ha!!!

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
The person I see in the mirror.

What hurts you most in this world
I have a fragile heart, although I never wear it on my sleeves.
So, I hurt deeply when I see injustice, unfairness, tyranny, oppression, persecution, child abuse, animal cruelty…basically, Everyday News.  
And most importantly, the loss of a loved one (whether human or animal)

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
Well, it begins from the beginning.
I was born with a congenital oral anomaly – ‘Ankyloglossia’ (commonly referred to as ‘tongue-tie’). Almost every doctor my worried parents consulted with…suggested surgery. Of course, even then they couldn’t state with absolute certainty that I would speak normally after the surgery.
My parents had to make a tough call and they decided to spare their infant and forgo the surgery. ‘She can stutter all she like…we won’t put our baby through this ordeal,’ they said in unison.
Much to the shock of all the doctors and to my parent’s delight, their baby girl grew up without a stutter or a lisp or any other speech problems.
In fact, look at the beautiful irony – I made a career out of speaking. I am after all a Business Communication Professor and have taught at ivy-league institutes like the IIT Kharagpur, S. P. Jain Dubai, and XIM Bhubaneswar. And mind you, this is when I don’t have a formal degree in English or Communication for that matter. I am a Marketing grad…but I speak so fab…that almost wherever I go, I am requested to teach Communication. Take that, all you doctors!!!  
Of course, the best compliment I receive (much to the chagrin of the mistaken doctors) is when my students walk up to me in class and say – ‘Mam, will we be able to speak English as well as you do by the end of the term?’    
And now, I’ve opened my own institute, Nawal’s English Workshop, to help groom the country’s youth.  

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I’d probably want to live a day in the life of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. I would love to see the original opulence of Fatehpur Sikri and the Agra Fort. And maybe, while I am at it, I can also beat some sense into Salim.  

What is your favorite genre and why?
A well-written thriller interspersed with art, history and ‘art history’. In terms of history, my favorite period is the Mughal era so I try and read everything I can lay my hands upon.
In terms of particular favorites; my all-time favorite books are The Far Pavilions, Freedom at Midnight, Gone With the Wind, The Crimson Throne, Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, A Stranger in the Mirror, etc. 
By the way, I’m not all thrillers or history all the time. I absolutely love the world of Harry Potter. I think it brings out the child in all of us…(laughs) actually, in my case the child is usually out and about.    

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I started writing for pleasure at a really young age – in school, to be precise. Although, back then I wrote a lot of poetry. In fact, one of my poems, Touched by an Angel, was published abroad when I was in the 12th grade.
But I never thought that I would take up writing as a profession. I just couldn’t imagine that I had what it takes to become an author.
But in 2007, a publishing house approached me to write a book for them. They had read my research paper and were interested in the offbeat topic of religio-marketing. I said yes out of excitement and the rest is history.
For a while, I was really happy with the academic accolades I was receiving (the Business Communication book is a prescribed textbook at several universities and institutes and the religio-marketing book got me a lot of international repute)…but something still felt amiss. I mean, if you look at the West, most English professors turn to fiction writing. And it makes sense too – “practice what you preach (or teach, in this case)”…and I was curious. Could I do it too? But it was just a thought, I didn’t really act on it.
The thought culminated into action when I wanted to write a book on feminism. But I knew if I wrote a textbook on feminism, it will only interest academics. So, I picked the popular genre of the masses – a fast-paced thriller.  
As for the purpose of my writing, it’s always been to educate in a fun non-serious way.  

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
My latest book (and my debut fiction) is I’m a Woman & I’m on SALE. Apart from that, I’ve written three textbooks.
The synopsis is given below (starting with the most recent):
I’m a Woman & I’m on SALE - I’m a Woman & I’m on SALE is the 1st part of the ‘I’m a Woman’ Thriller Trilogy. It’s dedicated to ‘Nirbhaya’ and was released on 16th December 2013, the 1st year anniversary of the ghastly incident. (May she rest in peace!!!)   
The story begins with Harsh Jalan – a senior partner at a top law firm, despite his young age. He’s sharp, he’s shrewd and he’s successful. But he foolishly believes that nothing can ruffle him…of course, little does he know that he’s about to meet Maya.
Not only is she sexy and stunning; she’s sharp and smart…and she’s hiding an explosive secret.      
But can Harsh save his beautiful client from the clutches of her most powerful adversary yet…Pratap Taran Jograj…as life spirals out of control in this cat-and-mouse game of life-and-death, revenge-and-retribution, and crime-and-punishment?
Business Communication – Beginning with the epochs of ancient history to the aeons of a modern world, communication has always been the cornerstone of success. This book is an effort to take the reader on a transformational journey – a journey of personal and professional growth for a successful life. From the common aspects of oral and written communication to the finer aspects of etiquette and decorum, the book is filled with everyday practical examples to help the reader gather a conceptual understanding of communication in all its dimensions.  
Religictionary – The A-Z of religion – Religion, to the common man, is a path that leads him to God and lays down certain guidelines on the norms of acceptable behavior. However, though we grow up to know our religion, we rarely stop to spare a thought to other religions of the world. Hence, this book talks about different elements found in different religions, listing practices of popular religions like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and moving onto uncommon practices of the Kalash tribe or Jehavah’s witness. Hence, this book becomes a must-read for people who wish to increase their cultural sensitivity and improve their RQ.   

The Eleventh Commandment: An Introduction to Religio-Marketing – There are several factors that influence a consumer’s behavior. While religion and religiosity levels are not the sole determinants, they play a significant role in the overall consumption process and hence deserve attention. This book, therefore, provides an insight into the world of religio-marketing and approaches the dual approaches: (1) when the religion of consumers shape marketing decisions, and (2) when marketing concepts are used to market religion as a product.   

What are your forthcoming writings?
I have recently finished my short story titled, ‘1994 – Who Ordered an Ordeal?’ (tentative title) for Ian Faria’s forthcoming book. Ian, who is Nicole Faria’s dad, is a motivational speaker and the theme for his forthcoming book is ‘Women Empowering Women’.  
I am now working on the other two parts of the ‘I’m a Woman’ series –
·         I’m a Woman & I’m the NEMESIS
·         I’m a Woman & I’m the PHOENIX
Apart from this, I am busy finishing my textbook on Marketing Management along with my co-author Joytilaak Deb. It is going to release shortly.
That’s pretty much it for now. PHEW!

What are your future plans?
I live my life in the present so I do not plan so much for the future. Although, knowing myself, I guess I will be traveling lots, teaching lots and writing lots.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
1.   Research – Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, the book should be well-researched.
2.   Logic – I’m a big fan of logic and common sense.
3.   Language – I think books should not only entertain, it should enrich a person’s life and lingo.
4.   Characters – When I’m writing fiction, I want characters that everyone will identify with. That helps in bringing the characters to life and it no longer remains just a book.

Your dream destination on Earth?
Rome (and the Vatican City that is its heart).

Your favorite time of the day?
I am a night-owl: probably because that’s the time I unleash the hidden Mr. Hyde – after all, that’s when you can write a scary pulsating thriller. Try writing one when you have a bright rainbow in the sky. Unfortunately, I’m not that diabolical.    

Your zodiac/sun sign?
The hard-headed and stubborn Capricorn – and I am literally and metaphorically the mountain goat – quietly climbing my way to the top.

Your favorite color and why?
Black (when I am Mr. Hyde) and Pink (when I am Dr. Jeckyll)

Your favorite book and why?
The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye. As the Guardian aptly puts it (and I don’t think I can do a better job than them), “Like Gone With the Wind, Pavilions is a work of folk art from a vanished culture, permeated with loss.’
In fact, critics often say that what Gone With the Wind is for the Americas, The Far Pavilions is for India. It’s a must-read for every Indian.  

Your favorite celebrity and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite celebrity. If I still have to pick, may I please be conceited and just say – the person in the mirror? [Pardon me, like Mr. Bean I too have a strange academic sense of humor.]

Your favorite food?
Has to be Italian…since I love everything Italian: Italian Leather, Italian Shoes, Italian Fashion, Italian Luxury Brands, Italian Cities…& of course, Italian Men (wink, wink). 

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon, Moon – [Coz I’m Looney] J
Laughter or Smile, Smile–It speaks even when the lips are closed.
Morning or Evening, Evening – More romantic!!!
Coffee or Tea, Or Me? [LOL, jokes aside – I’m a Tea aficionado]
Mountain or Sea, Mountain (Remember, I’m the proverbial Mountain Goat!)
Long Drive or Short Drive, Long Drive [I’m also the eternal romantic]
Silence or Conversation, Silence! In fact, you know what they say - ‘Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.’
Water or Fire, Fire – (I set the world on FIRE!!!)  
Air or Earth, Mother Earth, all the way.
Mars or Jupiter, Jupiter – the bigger, the better!!! (Pun intended)
Moon or Sun, Is this a trick question – I already answered this one… It’s still the Moon
Tulip or Rose, Rose – (I’m a sucker for pristine red roses)
Red or Blue, Red – it can convey so many emotions.  
Left or Right, Can write with both.
Glance or Stare Glance. “Sucker for Stolen Glances”

What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology, A Gadget Freak
Life, A Roller-Coaster Ride
God, I’m Still Looking
Humanity, Not for Humans
Terrorism, The Darkness Within
Racism, Let’s Stop Racing (pun intended!!!)
Childhood Abuse, Stop Stop Stop
Love, Is Out There
Parenting, A Tough Job
Old age, Like Fine Wine

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
Love Me, Hate Me…But You Can’t Ignore Me

The last line of your autobiography would be…
She left her footprint in history…

Prabhat Khabar (3rd January 2014) -

Links for I’m a Woman & I’m on SALE
YouTube Trailer -
Flipkart -

Infibeam - 

HomeShop18 -

Amazon (India) - 

Links for Business Communication

Infibeam -

Amazon (U.S.) - 

Links for Religictionary – The A-Z of Religion
Flipkart -  

Amazon (India) - 

Amazon (US) -

Links for The Eleventh Commandment – An Introduction to Religio-Marketing
Amazon (U.S.)  - 

Amazon (India) - 

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