Thursday, March 20, 2014

Celebrity Interview: Jayant Swamy: Management Consultant, Trainer and Published Author

At The Oxford Book store, Leela Palace - with my wife Vidhya
Born and bred in idyllic Bangalore, he currently lives in scenic Seattle. He holds an MBA from The Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. He has donned several professional hats over the last twenty years – Corporate Trainer, Management Consultant, Technology Manager and Faculty at Business schools. Colours in the Spectrum published by Leadstart Publishing (India) in 2013 is his debut novel. He has two non-fiction publications to his credit. An inveterate film fan, he has written the script for a full-length feature film and is optimistic of finding serious takers. He is currently working on his second novel, tentatively titled Family Secrets. he volunteers with several professional organizations and is a member of the Board of Directors of IIM Americas – an alumni association of premier B-schools. His wife Vidhya is a Human resources professional and a dilettante marathon runner.

Welcome on board Jayant!

Your real name and pen name? 
Jayant Swamy and Jayant Swamy

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
I read my first novel, an Enid Blyton book, when I was barely 6 or 7 years old. During my elementary school years, I remember being a member of three libraries and diligently devouring the entire collection of Enid Blyton! When I was in the sixth grade – my grandfather who had just retired, used to narrate an episode of the epic Mahabharata every day for an hour after school – which I found enthralling! That may have been the genesis for my fascination with the character of Karna (a.k.a Karan – my protagonist’s name in Colours in the Spectrum)

About your education 
An MBA from The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Book launch Sep 13 2013 with actor Anant Nag and my nephew
What career did you plan during your education days 
Management Consulting

What languages you can speak and write? 
English, Kannada, Hindi and smattering of French

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life 
The Gurus who entered my life and bestowed me with their Grace!

What hurts you most in this world 
Injustice. Any form of disrespect to basic human dignity.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it? 
My tendency to procrastinate. Self-awareness and a constant effort to put at least some of my thoughts into action.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why? 
Gautama Buddha. So I can experience Nirvana.

What is your favorite genre and why? 
Fiction – Drama, Action and Thriller
IIM Alum Authors
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
An avid reader since childhood, I was always enamoured by the power of the written word and the intricacies of the English language. While I had several stories going on in my head and had even penned some of them partially on paper, the real impetus to heed my calling and practice my passion came in the form of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, which I happened to read while immigrating to the US. That is how Colours in the Spectrum was born. Thereafter, I completed the Certificate Program in Literary Fiction at the University of Washington and went on to complete and publish my novel.
I write to express and share my ideas. I love the complex craft of fictionalizing fact and factualizing fantasy, making it appear seamless. I enjoy the limelight and adulation it brings as well.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work? 
Colours in the Spectrum – my debut novel published in July 2013. Synopsis given below. A PDF with sample chapters is attached – feel free to share or post as you deem fit.
Aristocratic parents, academic brilliance, smouldering romance with the prettiest girl on campus, a God-given gift that enables him to perceive people with an aura of colour — growing up in the garden city of Bangalore in the sedate seventies, teenager Karan has everything going for him.

At thirty-five, swept away by the unforgiving culture of Los Angeles, Karan’s life is in shambles. The women he loved have deceived him; Dolly, the child he parented is taken away; his God-given gift is gone. Karan is penitent he once humiliated Danny, a friend who wanted to be much more.

Seeking atonement, Karan returns to Bangalore, the burgeoning silicon megalopolis of the post-liberalization nineties. Living in the ancestral house, haunted by memories of the debacled death of his parents, he faces a new fear — of being afflicted by promiscuous Lila’s unfulfilled wanderlust.

Karan reconnects with Arjun, Aarti, and Indu, rekindling the flames of friendship and love, trust and betrayal, and hope and despair. When tracing the whereabouts of Danny leads to a startling discovery, Karan must confront the truth through a complex interplay of agony, forgiveness and grief. Can Karan redeem himself? Does the love he always chased find him?

What are your forthcoming writings? 
My second novel, tentatively titled Family Secrets, narrates the tale of two sparring half-brothers, who have to be reborn, to set right the injustice meted out to one and find an honorable way of redemption for the other. The third novel is a mere concept at this point in time –all I know is it will be a drama set against the backdrop of the corporate world.

Landmark store - With my brother Arun
What are your future plans? 
Publish my second novel within the year. Scout for a buyer for the movie script I have written. Become a bestselling author. I am a confirmed wanderer (metaphorically speaking) and am always open to what life throws my way. 

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book? 
I write only what I believe in. I maintain respect for the reader at all times. I love creating complex multi-dimensional characters that are gray, rather than black or white. I believe fiction is all about Why-Not and What-If.

Your dream destination on Earth? 

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? 
Bangalore, India & Seattle, USA.

Your favorite time of the day? 
Sunny afternoon!

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 
Those times gone by -With my parents in the 1990's
Your favorite color and why? 
Every conceivable shade of Blue. Source of energy and calmness at the same time! I do like most colours with the exception of brown and certain shades of yellow.

Your favorite book and why? 
Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. Reading the book gave me the impetus to convert my dream of being a writer into reality.

Your favorite celebrity and why? 
George Clooney. He was born in the same year as me. He exudes the perfect mix of strength and sensitiveness.

Your favorite food? 
Not particularly a foodie. I prefer a simple, home-cooked Indian meal.

Some quickies [Highlights in yellow]:
Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile [Laughter AND Smile], Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea
Mountain or Sea [Mountain AND Sea], Silence or Conversation [Silence AND Conversation],Water or Fire [No preference], Air or Earth [No preference],
Moon or Sun [Both], Red or Blue, Left or Right

What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology [Internet, Mobile, Laptop],
Life [Present, Journey, Ephemeral]
God [Faith, Super power, Divine]
Humanity [Compassion, Empathy, Justice]
Terrorism [Eliminate, Death, Hatred]
Racism [Unfair, Unnecessary, Inevitable]
Childhood [Innocent, Spontaneous, Books]
Abuse [Cigarettes, Bullying, Eradicate]
Love [Unconditional, Acceptance, Tenderness]
Parenting [Nurturing, Responsibility, Role model]
Old age [Childhood, Freedom, Serenity]
Vidhya & I with actor Shabana Azmi when she visited Seattle
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote  The more things change the more they remain the same.

The last line of your autobiography would be…  “Among the ashes of despair glimmer embers of hope”


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