In Conversation with Vasant Kallola, Author of “IT’S OKAY TO FAIL, MY SON”
A Mumbai based author and qualified Engineering graduate with post graduate diploma in Marketing Management, Mr. Vasant Kallola has spent 32 years in corporate having worked with leading Indian and multinational companies. In the field of creative writing, he has taken big strides since the launch of his first commercially published book in 2016.
Vasant is a fitness enthusiast and also holds ‘Black Belt’ in martial arts. He has a deep interest in psychology and has a knowledge of world-renowned ‘Mind Toughness’ techniques.
Vansant’s first book ‘IT’S OKAY TO FAIL, MY SON’ reflects the emotions of every loving parent towards their kids. This helps to build a strong bond between the parent and the child and helps them walk on a path of excellence.
Vasant has co-authored a book – ‘Fit at Thirty+’. In the year 2018, Vasant has written and produced a Short Film – JUSTICE, which has won 3 awards at Goa Asian Short Film Festival, Goa in April 2018 and 2 awards at prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2018, New Delhi, in June 2018.
Vasant is ready to launch with his new book ‘CHIRANJIVI’ which presents an interesting account of the immense power of the resolve of a man against seemingly impossible odds. It highlights the fact that, if a man resolves to fight the evil, no one can stop him, not even death.
BV: Tell us something about your Book?
Vasant: My book, ‘IT’S OKAY TO FAIL, MY SON’ is about a father-son relationship. It is a story of a father and his exquisite relationship with his only son. The story weaves around current education system and attempts to find an answer to some revolutionary thoughts such as while we continue to churn out thousands of graduates every year, why can’t we attempt to create geniuses like Albert Einstein or Newton or Galileo? How can the interest levels of students in studies be raised to the level of passion rather than studies remaining a routine for passing exams and securing marks? How can mediocrity in a system be converted into geniuses? And how can all of these be done through student – parent-teacher partnership, so that no student would be afraid of failures and even if parents tell their wards ‘It’s okay to fail my son.’ No student fails really!
BV: How did it feel when your first book got published?
Vasant: The real emotion came when I started getting an overwhelming response from the readers. It is quite satisfying to know that readers really like my work. The book also achieved many milestones such as appearing among top 5 selling books on Flipkart in a survey carried by Flipkart and The Economic Times.
Several parents vowed to change their treatment to their wards; teachers confessing to being like Rahul Saxena, the protagonist of the story and many students deciding to work towards excellence in their studies is an amazing honor showered by the readers to the book.
BV: What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
Vasant: It’s special because it deals with your wards, children, the future generation and their well-being. The book helps them overcome a fear of failure and walk on the path of excellence, which once mastered can help them lead a very successful and happy life.
BV: What other genres do you enjoy reading?
Vasant: I like to read about adventure, life lessons, and motivational stories. I particularly like to read the stuff that touches my heart.
BV: How important is research to you when writing a book?
Vasant: Research on the subject is basic fundamental to any story. Like in my book, ‘IT’S OKAY TO FAIL, MY SON’ it was very important for me to study the challenges being faced by the students. It also deals with parents and teachers, so it was also important to study and understand their perspective. I am happy that my efforts paid off, so much so that; the book is being referred in many schools by the teachers as part of ‘Formative Assessment’. There are many school authorities who have ordered book in volumes and distributed to teachers and parents.
BV: When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Vasant: It just happened. I saw struggles of my own son, Viraj, to score good marks and my immediate reaction was ‘why to worry so much?’ My emotion came out in the form of a novel which is now for readers to read and judge.
BV: Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Vasant: For new writers, I suggest be patient. Writing really tests your nerves, particularly when you are new. Second advice is to prepare well. Give time to form a story which readers can relate to. Before you approach the publisher, give your story to some experienced editor/reader so that you can fine tune it as per their feedback.
BV: Whom your books mostly dedicated to?
Vasant: I would like to give my readers an excellent reading experience. So, in my journey going forward, I will try and not stick to one particular area/genre. My first book, ‘IT’S OKAY TO FAIL, MY SON’ is an emotional story of a father-son relationship while my second book; ‘CHIRANJIVI’ is an adventure story. It highlights the struggles and journey of an ordinary man, Govind, who is on a mission to save millions of lives when a powerful sage decides to annihilate the earth. The sage is so powerful that a normal human being cannot even touch him. I have adopted a different writing style, which will give the feeling as if watching a movie to the readers.
BV: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Vasant: Yes. I need to work hard to detail the emotions of female characters, particularly with negative shades, as my experience with the opposite sex is very positive and enriching. So, in the book, writing about Sheetal, the mother of Sachin Saxena was a difficult task for me.
BV: Do you reply back to your fans and admirers personally?
Vasant: Yes, readers’ emails are very close to my heart, as my whole existence as a writer is because of them. Interested readers can register on my website – www.vasantkallola.com to get regular updates on my work.
BV: Have any of your books been adapted into a feature film?
Vasant: ‘IT’S OKAY TO FAIL, MY SON’ is my first published book. A production house has taken rights for making a Hindi / regional language feature film based on its story.
BV: Now when you look back at your past, do you feel accomplished?
Vasant: Yes very much. I am lucky to have been blessed with lovely family and friends.
On the work front, I have had a very successful career in the corporate world. My last assignment was as a Senior Vice President in Tata Group Company, Viom Networks. So far, my experience with people, events, and experiences in life have been positive and enriching. I always look at life with the positive frame of mind, irrespective of the outcomes which usually have temporary effects.
BV: What do you do in your free time?
Vasant: I am a fitness enthusiast. In my free time, I go for swimming or jogging. I am a black belt in martial arts, Jeet Kun Do, I also practice it regularly in my free time. If I have more time still, I meet friends or spend time with nature.
BV: Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?
Vasant: If you are asking to write my autobiography, then my reply is no. But, if your question is whether I would write for some other personalities, then I am not sure. But, at the moment, I have no plans.
BV: When can the readers expect your next book in print?
Vasant: My new book, ‘CHIRANJIVI’ is under print. It will be out in the market by end of January 2019.
BV: Are you working on something new at the moment?
Vasant: Yes. I am working on a couple of subjects at the moment. One highlighting uselessness of wars; the other highlighting modern-day stress in our lives and how true love can help us overcome even worse of the situations. The immense power of women is also a subject I am working on. As I said earlier, I do not like to stick to stereotypes and love to offer varied reading experiences to my readers.