28 November, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with R.T.Manu Ramesh, #Author of The Sales Room

*** Special Feature - November 2014 ***

About the Author
The most vivid memory of R.T. Manu Ramesh’'s childhood is that of changing schools every two years owing to his father’s transferable job as a civil servant with the Government of India. It varied from a convent run by Catholic priests in white cassocks in a small town at one end of the spectrum to residential schools of ochre robed Hindu Sanyasis .He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from the reputed RV College of Engineering, Bangalore, India, in 2006 and started his career in the IT industry as a software programmer. He however found his true calling a couple of years later when a dynamic, young, entrepreneur, invited him to join his start-up, Aurigo Software Technologies, as a part of the Sales and Marketing team. The firm was to expand in India in a big way. Playing a crucial role in the company’s growth Manu was instrumental in its foray into the India market and acquisition of first ten customers in India. He now works for an MNC and is based in San Jose, California. He is an avid tennis player and swimmer. He has an ear for music. He enjoys travelling, reading, water surfing and watching movies during free time.

Contact The Author

Interview with the Author

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I am a bit of a late bloomer. While I was always observant and loved recounting interesting anecdotes I never saw myself as a writer. However in the case of ‘The Sales Room’ I strongly felt there was a story to be and decided to take the plunge writing. 

What inspires you to write?
There are a number of factors. The most significant is the conviction that there is a story to be told. The prospect of entertaining readers and providing them a break from the rigmarole of everyday life is another. The possibility that one might benefit from reading the book in some tangible or intangible way keeps me going as well.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I was having a cup of a coffee with a friend. We discussed movies, politics, and books and finally started talking about business. I joked about writing a funny novel about a failing software startup. My friend thought that it was good idea but I didn’t. On going home and thinking about it in depth I changed my mind and started to write ‘The Sales Room’.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The scene when the CEO of ‘Oregon Software Technologies’ thinks divine intervention would change the fortunes of the organization and decides to invite the ‘Vastu Man’ over is my favourite. The reason I like it is because this is something that we would come across only in an Indian company. It showcases Indian cultural idiosyncrasies and shows that desperate times call for desperate measures. While readers have observed that the book is a racy read I think this chapter is particularly so.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
While Rajesh Iyer is a figment of my imagination he does share my weakness for good south Indian filter coffee. He is also outspoken. Other characters might have inherited my quirks that I am unaware of.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I am more comfortable typing my stories into my laptop than writing them on paper. Thirty minutes before I start writing is spent reading some of my favorite authors.

What is your usual writing routine?
I am regimental by nature and this is true of my writing schedule too .I start writing late in the morning, say 11 AM, after I finish working out. I write until 7 PM with a 30-minute lunch break and a few short coffee breaks.

Do you read? Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I love reading although I do not read as much or as often as I would like to. My favorite authors among others include Joseph Heller, Salman Rushdie, Richard Crasta , Raja Rao and Fyodor Dostoyevskey.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Always be original and ensure you enjoy the process that brings the book to life. Be open to advise but not at the cost of authenticity. It is after all your work and you can shape it anyway you like. Whether it is good or bad, to someone’s liking or not, is a matter of opinion and beyond a point immaterial. 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
As far as the lead roles go Kunal Nayyar , the actor who plays Rajesh Koothrapali in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ would be perfect for Rajesh Iyer. Freida Pinto would play Sonal, the girl in the marketing team. Nazeeruddin Shah would play the CEO Venky. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I love sports and live an outdoor life. I play tennis and swim almost everyday. When I get a chance I go water surfing. I try and read as much as I can.

About the Book
Rajesh Iyer, a young, ambitious salesperson, returns to ñThe Sales Roomî of Oregon Software Technologies after an aborted attempt at getting into a business school in the US, only to notice the metamorphosis of the software start-up which he had earlier been an integral part of. What used to be a rat-infested hole in the midst of a vegetable market is now a swanky, state of the art facility owned by an upcoming Bollywood star. The enthusiastic and compact team firing on all cylinders is replaced by a sclerotic and bureaucratic set up. Sales review meetings, once rife with passionate discussions, are now replete with profanities. The ill tempered angel investor's scream can be heard all the way from his villa in New York.Rajesh, now shunted into an innocuous role finds every effort made to alleviate the condition of the demoralized sales team, met with resistance. As revenues dwindle and tempers rise, Rajesh realizes he is running out of time and options. He either toes the CEO, Venky's line and becomes party to a sham or quits citing a host of plausible reasons. This hilarious narrative takes the reader from plush corporate boardrooms of Bangalore to the seedy hotels in Delhi as Oregon meanders in search of illusory customer wins. Rajesh meets several interesting characters ranging from the busty Polish graphics designer to the loquacious pimp masquerading as a taxi driver.

Buy the Book

1 Autographed Paperback Copy of The Sales Room by R.T.Manu Ramesh to a lucky Indian Resident.

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