16 January, 2018

#Interview with Sunil Mishra, #Author of Transit Lounge

About the Author:
Sunil is a software professional with over two decades of experience in the field of banking technology. Currently he is working with Infosys in India. He has earlier worked with McKinsey, Accenture and I-flex solutions. His work required extensive travelling to different parts of the world and this constituted the basis of his current book. He travelled to more than 30 countries across six continents and engaged with senior managements in different client organizations. 
Sunil is an MBA from IIM-Lucknow and holds a B.Tech from IIT(ISM), Dhanbad. He completed his schooling in Bokaro Steel City, a relatively small town in Jharkhand, India. Sunil has avid interest in writing and has actively blogged on various platforms in the area of banking technology, consulting, leadership and changing role of media in the digital world.

Contact the Author:

An Interview:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I was fortunate to travel to so many countries as part of my work. I used to write personal notes of individual travels, anything that I would find interesting. As I started blogging about some of these travels, I received positive reviews from my friends and well-wishers. It is then that the idea of collating this and publishing it as a book occurred to me. 

What inspires you to write?
Writing is a learning process in itself I think. It happens as part of creative reflection on events and incidents around us. There is a joy in writing that I believe most authors are inspired by.

How did you come up with the idea for 'Transit Lounge'?
The book is travel memoir of 30 countries. Most of these were business travel as part of professional work. Though I had some interest in writing, this book was quite accidental. It covers a travel of 15 years compiled over last 5 years.

What are your favorite moments in the book? Why?
The travel memoir has many interesting incidents.

I recall our business trip to Tbilisi sometime in 2005. One evening, we were informally invited by the hotel staff to join their anniversary party. Only one lady in the group spoke broken English. One of the ladies, I was surprised to hear, knew some old Hindi songs – of Raj Kapoor’s era. She sang those songs verbatim, it was great to hear. I had read that Indian cinema was popular in Russia but it was quite surprising to see a Georgian girl singing when she could hardly speak English.

Another incident I recall was our business presentations in Tehran. An English translator was hard to find. The best we could find was a local partner, who spoke good English but was a veterinary doctor by profession. He would translate every word after I spoke and he would take at least thrice as much time and a lot more sentences to explain. After sometime, I got suspicious if he was only translating what I was saying or adding his own story. It was tough for him to explain banking terms being a veterinary doctor. Every time he brought a book of English dictionary for our presentations and meetings. He would refer to them during meetings as well. He took some 15 minutes to explain "interest" and I was told he used some medical terms to explain that.

There was a mugging incident in London which could be surprising to some. Though the city is safe in general, in pockets, incidents like these happen. I was deceived on one occasion while walking into a kind of pub. It was scary as they took all my money and even noted my credit card number. I was relieved to come out unharmed on that occasion.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read books but not as many as I would have wanted to read. Some of the classics I like, are Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Animal Farm by George Orwell. I also like books on Indology. Among the contemporary writers I like Sanjeev Sanyal’s writing.  

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Write like no one will ever read, edit like everyone is going to read. Don’t edit when you are writing first few pages, just write.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Possibly, writing. I do blog on LinkedIn and sometimes write articles on digital technologies. I have also written a few articles on the changing role of mainstream media in the new digital world.
From a traveler’s perspective, all my travels have given me great learnings. So, it’s difficult to call out favorites. I enjoyed visiting the less traveled to countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Iran, Georgia, Croatia and Venezuela, to name a few. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I enjoy writing in my spare time. The reaction to my first book has been truly encouraging and I do look forward to writing more books. I am currently working on a fiction, though it is yet to shape up fully.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
"The world is a book, and those who don't travel only read one page." – St. Augustine 

Another one on traveler versus tourist – "The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton 

My attempt to write the book has been to capture the traveler’s account, I enjoyed writing it and I hope it is equally liked by the readers.

About the Book:
"Transit Lounge" is a contemporary book consisting of short incidents, observations and reflections while travelling to 30 countries across six different continents during the last 15 years. 
The book is a personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argentina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy,Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand.  
It was interesting to observe all these different cultures and people from an Indian perspective. The book is a compilation of small incidents and events during such travels; it includes losing an air ticket, dealing with difficult custom officials or getting mugged in a prime location in a foreign country."

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