Interview of Meghdoot Karnik, Author of “Dronacharya at the Workplace”

author Meghdoot Karnik, Dronacharya at the Workplace book, Indian English literature, Indian English authorsIt is said that wise men perfect their studies with experience in real life. It is true about Meghdoot Karnik, founder and CEO of Carpe Diem Training Solutions, who recently debuted as author. His first book Dronacharya at the Workplace is a collection of short stories which draw upon particular incidents in the lives of mythical characters from the Mahabharata and link them to problems at workplace in the contemporary corporate scenario. The Author, Meghdoot Karnik,  has spent 20 years in training in Corporate life and Educational institutions and uses his vast experience to recreate the situations and relate them to the Mahabharata in the book. Dronacharya at the Workplace is not a mere take on the Mahabharata. Each of the stories has a solution implied in the analysis of a problem. SliceofRealLife catches up with Meghdoot Karnik to share with you his journey from a corporate trainer to a published author. Here are excerpts from the interview of author Meghdoot Karnik:

Congratulations! How are you feeling as a published author? 

It is a great feeling, especially when you see your book displayed in the company of some authors you love and respect. It is humbling to see the book sharing space with big names like Amish, Jeffrey Archer, Ravi Subramanian etc. I am nowhere in that league, but just to see your book in the same company gives a sense of pride and achievement. Irrespective of the actual sales of the book, this is a heady moment, and I am trying to keep my feet on the ground.

Who or what motivated you to hold a pen and debut as an author? 

As I have mentioned in the introduction, this book is a result of planets aligning together. A friend told me that “I have a gift and should write.” When I took the advice seriously, I was wondering what to write. I have been fascinated by the Mahabharata since childhood, the complexity and greyness of the characters and the various sub plots that exist. I decided to weave my experience of 20 years with the Mahabharata and come up with a book.

Would you like to share a brief about the book?

This is a collection of short stories. Each story has a protagonist who faces a dilemma in Corporate life. With this dilemma somewhere in the back of their minds, they have a generic discussion with people in their personal lives, which inadvertently shifts to an incident in the Mahabharata. While analyzing this incident the protagonist finds the situation in the Mahabharata very similar to his / her situation in corporate life and gets the solution to the dilemma. I have tried to analyse the situations in the Mahabharata in a logical manner.

You are a qualified accountant and corporate trainer. How did your transition from corporate training and business consulting to writing happen? 

I am a trainer for life. During various personal conversations with friends and juniors, I have been using Mahabharata as a reference point for discussing personal and corporate dilemmas. The book is just an extension of my training career, only in print.

What challenges or difficulties came your way during this journey? I mean how eventful your journey was…

Writing a book is extremely difficult, especially for a first time author. While the concept of what I was going to write, was clear in my head, the format took time to evolve. I wanted it to be a management book written in a fictional style. Initially I wanted it to be a novel, with each story being a sub plot. But then I realized that the flow and independence of each story would be compromised by the need of stringing the plot together.

The second challenge was to integrate the Mahabharata with the corporate situations, go back and forth and have a seamless transition between both the worlds. Readers will judge whether I have been successful or am guilty of force fitting some situations.

From an eventfulness perspective, like every writer, I have faced writers’ blocks, flow of thoughts when I had no access to a pen and computer and capturing them from memory later. The balance between working, spending time with family and writing had to be maintained. There would be instances, where creative thoughts would flow, and my four year old son would want me to play with him. Credit goes to my wife for bearing with my idiosyncracies and allowing me the freedom to pen down my thoughts. She has also been my first editor.

Does the book “Dronacharya at the Workplace” have any bearing on your personal experience and observation in the corporate world? 

Most situations in the corporate world are generic and anybody who has a 10 year or more journey, would be able to identify with the same.

There are several books with focus on mythological characters like Dronacharya from the Mahabharata. How is your take on the Mahabharata unique or different from those?  

Firstly the book is not a take on the Mahabharata. Few incidents are analysed and the analysis is objective. For example, universally Duryodhana is painted as the villain and Abhimanyu is recognized as a great warrior. I have tried to go beyond the obvious, and get into the minds of the characters, and bring out their thought process while taking the decisions they did. This thought process helps people solve corporate problems.

Does the book convey any message explicitly or implicitly to readers?  

There are a lot of explicit messages clearly in the book, with respect to recruitment, innovation, career management etc.

What is the response to your maiden book so far? 

It has just been a week since the release, and the response has been above expectations. A large part of it is due to the distribution network of Crossword and the effort by The Write Place to make it available across the globe and in all formats.

What is your next book about? (If you have already planned)   

I have a couple of ideas, but I will wait for the response to this book, before I start writing. thanks author Meghdoot Karnik for the opportunity to interview him and wishes him all the best for his next ventures! 

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