Sunday, November 4, 2012

Interview with Mayank Jain

Here we present an interview with Mr. Mayank Jain, the author of 'Stop Me If You Can - An IIM Grad's Tryst with Sales' (Reviewed Here). He shares his views about his book and how it came into being, his views on a real life Rohit Salaria, his favourite books and much more. For some real interesting next few minutes, read ahead ...

ZR: Did you always have this story in mind, or did some real situation inspire you to come up with this beautiful storyline?
MJ: To tell you very frankly, I don’t think I had the story in mind for a long time. So, this is what I generally used to do since, um, my MBA days at IIM Calcutta I guess – whenever I came across a funny situation I would make a note of it.

Now when I embarked upon my career in sales, I started writing a blog which was a lot of my previous and current experiences exaggerated to the hilt. I wasn’t really writing to evoke responses from people but just for the kicks. But I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who came back to me and told me that they were liking what I was writing. Some even proposed that I write a book. That was where the turning point was. And that is precisely when I decided to make a book out of my writings. I started nurturing the character Rohit Salaria and the story started taking shape. I pulled the blog down, and focused on making it a full fledged novel. Then the toiling part came. And finally I’m glad to see the final product and am decently happy with the numerous positive responses that I have received till date.

ZR: How much time did the whole process take - from inception of the idea to the final product in hand?
MJ: Well, honestly it was a lengthy process. I would be lying if I said it was an easy job completed quickly and without any pain. So, like I said, I got the idea of writing a book after my experiences with the blog. Putting together the first draft took me around 10 months after that. And then began the strenuous exercise of posting to publishers, which lasted about an year. Then there was editing, final editing and proof reading – all of which require a lot of time and energy. So, all in all it took around two years for the whole process to complete. And there were obviously a lot of times in between when I doubted my capabilities and questioned myself on whether the book would ever see the light of day. It’s a huge amount of satisfaction to see the final product on the shelves. One thing I would say to all first time authors-in-the-making is that while writing and while on the lookout for publishers, keeping yourself motivated is very, very important. It is very natural to start feeling demotivated and losing focus. But then if you have your eyes set on the goal, sooner or later, you should be there.

ZR: In real life, do you believe a Rohit Salaria - like personality would be equally successful? In your opinion, is it wise to be a Rohit Salaria?
MJ: (laughs) To even think of a real life Rohit Salaria is quite amusing. If you have read the book you will know what I am talking about. Very simply put he is impossible. With nerves of steel and a Bond-like attitude, he knows no limits.

But then having a real life Rohit Salaria would be a very interesting concept. I don’t know how successful that guy would be, but I can tell you he would be someone who would be very, very visible in his organization. And being visible is not all that bad no. Challenging bosses, devising strategic plans to woo a girl or launching marketing campaigns based totally on gut feeling, ah, it would be exciting to meet such a guy in a real-world setup. In fact, I had joked in one of my previous interviews that I would gift all my money and property to him, the day I stumble upon the real-life Rohit Salaria.

I strongly recommend joining the FB community at
to get a flavour of Rohit Salaria and his antics which make him so special.

ZR: What, according to you, are the greatest works in contemporary fiction till date?  Do you also believe that the best of contemporary fiction is yet to come -or- is Rohit Salaria the answer to this question?
MJ: All works of P.G. Wodehouse and his characters – Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, Aunt Agatha et al are right up there for me. Then I think there is something about Catch 22 and Yossarin that keeps you glued to the book.

And to answer your question of Rohit Salaria being the best work of contemporary fiction (laughs). I would love to think that this be the case. With his super attitude and insurmountable spirit, and the fact that he is already striking a chord with a generation of corporates, why not?

ZR: Who is your all time favourite author? Which are your favourite books?
MJ: Like I said, I like P.G. Wodehouse a lot, and I don’t think anyone comes close. I am a big fan of his flowery language and English humour. His Jeeves collection is something I relish a lot.

ZR: As an author, where do you see yourself and your book 5 years down the line?
MJ: I don’t really think I have thought hard on either of these lines. I don’t know where I would be – would I have written another book, two more books, three more books or maybe none after the first one in five years time. Will I be a hit phenomenon or would I have drowned with time? I don’t know. And honestly, I think I should only be focusing on my work, working hard and letting the other things fall in place. Also, right now I also have a regular job and I totally enjoy going to work, and my work. And I intend to do well there too.

ZR: Nowadays, a lot of people are turning into authors, even when they are qualified for other things, and are doing a remarkable job. Do you believe this is because everyone has a great story to tell and a unique way of telling it, that makes them noteworthy or are there some other reasons for this?
MJ: So you need to thank one person big time for this – Chetan Bhagat – for opening the floodgates of writing/authoring in India. I think people who have tales to tell were always there. And now with more and more opportunities available, anyone who dreams to be an author has more avenues than ever before to be one.

As for myself, I was very confident that a Salaria-like character could melt the stoniest of hearts and bring laughter and smiles to those who have ever been in a corporate environment. Or those who have ever wooed a girl. Or those who have ever had a boss. Or those who have ever been in teams. (laughs)

ZR: Are you planning to come up with another book anytime soon? Would it also have a prodigious IIM grad as its protagonist? Would it also be masala packed and  humour laced?
MJ: Well, as of now, I haven’t thought of anything concrete. There are a few ideas, but let’s see. Right now I want to focus on “Stop Me If You Can!!” Rest, I leave it to time.

Thanks Mr. Jain!! We wish you all the very best for all your future ventures and look forward to reading, enjoying and reviewing many more books of yours.


1 comment:

  1. Good set of questions Vaishali. Chetan Bhagat has indeed opened the floodgates for many aspiring authors.