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Interview - Chitra Lele

By Sowjanya D Reddy

Chitra Lele is a young management consultant and multiple world record holding author who is conferred with the title of A Versatile Writer by the India Book of Records for penning the maximum number of books on various genres including business management, poetry, personal transformation in a span of 18 months. Chitra’s publications include academic and reference books, research papers, poetry anthologies and scholarly articles.

Q. You have written “English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth”, what inspired you to write a new book? What is your latest book all about? 

Languages open a vista for learners. The more languages one knows the better are the chances for progress. English provides a chance to develop in any field of one’s choice. It does not confine a citizen to his or her own nation. It opens the possibilities to be global in a real sense and it is a shockproof cover against the shockwaves of globalization. We have much to share with each other and having a common language is the first step along that road to engaging in commerce and scientific research and to sharing knowledge and friendship. This is where English steps in, and my book, English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth, reflects this very philosophy. It deals with the global aspects of English like educational equity, cross-cultural sensitivity, seamless cohesion, etc., in an engaging and stimulating manner.
This latest academic book is doing well, both in terms of responses from readers around the world and literary records. This book is not a mere academic book, but it has personal touch to it as I have written it in a lively and stimulating manner. And since it is written in an easy-to-understand format, it offers something for each of my readers to learn from. The appreciation and responses that I have received are a testimony to the fact that my book is opening up a whole new way of seeing and interpreting the world through the English language.

Q. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Slowly and steadily, as I developed a deep reading habit, I became exposed to a wide range of genres. And this in turn, gave me the confidence to write on a wide variety of subjects. Initially, I contributed essays, poems and articles to my college and university magazines, then as I received appreciation from my peers and elders, I gained confidence to try my hand at various other mediums—magazines, newspapers, online blogs and portals, radio poetry reading sessions, international journals and anthologies. With all these contributions, I started to develop an innate desire of becoming an author. This innate desire combined with my habit of registering ideas and learnings from various settings gave me the momentum to develop my views, theories and approaches into books.

Q. How did people close to you react when you told them you were going to start writing your own books? How did you feel?

Interaction and Observation are two key factors that have always inspired me to draw lessons and learnings from my surroundings and from my interactions with people, and then to transform these learnings into my own unique theories and approaches. My parents’ golden rule “In order to write quality-driven books, one must read quality-driven books”, our huge home library equipped with a wide range of books, objective feedback from my readers, and the constant encouragement from my parents in terms of their creative flair and unflinching support, have played an instrumental role in nurturing my writing skills and transforming me from a mere thinker into a proactive author. Everyone around me was both excited and very encouraging about my writing endeavors.
Writing to me is one powerful way of transforming my everyday experiences into something interesting, and then sharing it with readers like you all and sort of initiating a chain reaction of ideas and knowledge-sharing. And the satisfaction that I derive from my books and their positive impact on my readers is beyond words and measure.

Q. Did you receive any set-backs while writing and publishing the books you wrote? How did you deal with them?

My first book, The 6 Spheres of Life: Unlocking the Door to Success and Happiness is a book on personal transformation that has been written in a unique style with a practical approach. Once I began approaching publishers, I received appreciation for my efforts. The publishers were really surprised and happy at the same time that a young author like me was tackling subjects of academic value, whereas normally young writers deal with topics like romance, chick-lit, fiction, etc. Bringing wisdom and change in others, and that too through a youngster’s take on life, was something that all of them found appealing. The initial three publishers showed interest in my manuscript and said they would publish it in their next publishing program, which was about a year away from their reply. The fourth publisher, a big name in the field of reference and academic books, picked my book for publishing in their current publishing plan, as they found the premise of the book not only financially viable but also of high academic value — a book that can be used as a text/reference book in colleges, universities, personality development workshops, and in home and corporate libraries as well.
In the beginning, I was a little concerned that readers might go with the age-old belief that personal transformation books are preachy in nature, whereas in reality my book is not at all didactic; none of my books are preachy. To my relief, once my book was released both in the national and international markets, the responses from college and university students and professors, corporate training professionals, housewives, business professionals and readers from all ages and cultures assured me that they liked my book as they could relate to it and also found it as a doable motivational force to improve their lives in all spheres.

Q. Do you have any specific writing style? Do you write even fiction books? If yes, what do you think makes a good story?

No matter what topic or genre I am focusing on, there is one common thread that connects my literary creations – a youngster’s take on life and its aspects. Bringing change in others and that too through a youngster’s viewpoint, is something that my readers find appealing. And that’s exactly the reason why my books although reference books/academic books in nature do not sound sententious.
As long as I am able to touch people’s life, I feel that as a responsible author I have achieved my goal in helping people. My books are a combination of positive message and practical value as both these aspects are important for producing a quality-driven book. For example, in my latest book on the importance of the English language in today’s world of globalization, English Language: The Gateway of Global Growth, I have blended hard-core knowledge with motivating real-life experiences related to different people and cultures that I have had on my journey across the world while working on this book. So there is a universal appeal in this book for all, right from teachers and students of English to anyone interested in joining the global growth wave. In my previous book on collaborative team management, Organizational Democracy: Collaborative Team Culture: Key to Corporate Growth, I have blended the principles of management and spirituality in a lively and stimulating manner, so this aspect makes the book universal both in tone and application in all settings — social, personal and professional. In other words, though most of my books are academic in nature, but because of their personal touch factor, there is something in them for each one of my readers to imbibe.

Q. How does it feel to take writing as a profession?

I am a record-setting author, peace ambassador and management consultant, all rolled into one. At any given point in time, I am either a management consultant churning out new ideas for my next book project or an author trying to figure out how will my new theories or approaches apply to my management field or any other domain. My management profession is a hub of ideas for my books, and at the same time, my books help me to validate my theories and approaches in the practical settings of the corporate world. Apart from these fields, I am also a peace ambassador associated with organizations like the World Peace Organization (USA) and Peace Writers Organization (USA). All these fields are interrelated and all these fields are very close to my heart and my life’s purpose revolves around these fields, and that’s what keeps me going!

Q. How will your work affect the masses?

Apart from progressing in my computer management field, I want to contribute to the society. I want to mark many more beginnings and set and achieve many more milestones in the fields of literature, education and peace-making. To encourage youngsters of my age to join the bandwagon of peace-making and social transformation is one of my biggest aims. I have started my work in this field through my books, seminars and my association with peace organizations like the Peace Writers Organization (USA) and the World Peace Organization (USA). I am only at the first step of my journey and have a long way to go!
I believe that each one of us will be independent in the true sense of the term only when we ensure that the Freedom in Thought and Action no longer remains on mere paper but also translates into conscientious efforts. I am trying to do my bit my empowering people for a good cause through my seminars, peace-making efforts and books.

Q. Do you have a team of people who help you complete stories? If yes, how do they help you?
Since I am more into writing reference books and academic-driven literature, it is like a one-woman show as I have to develop new theories and approaches for various challenging scenarios, be it any field — software engineering, business management, etc. But yes definitely for writing academic and reference books, I have to meet and interact with a lot of subject matter experts on all points of the world compass, to learn about the latest trends and patterns in the field, and also to validate my own developed theories and approaches in the practical world so that my books have both theoretical and practical value.

Q. How was your college life? What are your favorite memories? What lesson do you think people should take from college?

During my college days (not so long ago), rather weekends, my parents and I spent a great deal of time in our home library. My parents taught me the importance of quality reading. Our home library is huge and it has always been a 24/7 learning setup for me, which constantly keeps me on the lookout for new ideas and insights. At a young age I was introduced to a world of adventure, books and a lot of other things — thanks to my gracious parents who are avid travelers, readers and learners. It is to them I owe my gratitude for all the diverse experiences that I have had in various parts of the world. Traveling around the world has made me more open to new ideas and visions, which in turn gets reflected in my writing. My college life was both a roller coaster ride of fun and adventure and an ongoing session of learning and growth, which is also helping me now in my literary pursuits and in my corporate journey.

Q. How has the experience been? Can you share some things about life that you learnt on your road to success?

The experience has being enriching, both as an author and as a person. The one main thing I have learnt and lived by is that literary or artistic trends are constantly changing, but for me as an author, what remains constant is to find ways of evolving and covering subjects and genres that challenge me.
As far as my management field goes, customer experience excellence is the key to operational success. Earlier, I used to apply other experts’ theories, but now with my own written books, not only I but many corporate houses are using my theories and approaches to enhance their revenues and customer service levels.

Q. Who has been your inspiration and driving force since your childhood and throughout your career?

The two most important pillars in my life that have kept going from one milestone to another in my journey — my mother for her creative flair and unflinching support and my father for his analytical skills and objective criticism.
Another major motivator — my Readers who have constantly kept me going!

Q. Having won many prestigious awards, tell us how has it changed your insight in writing? Has it given you more confidence?

My latest academic book, English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth, is doing well, both in terms of responses from readers around the world and literary records. It is a part of my latest record with the India Book of Records, A Versatile Writer. And so are 8 other books included in this record. I have received 70+ Letters of Commendation from world leaders and peace organizations, right from the Hon. Ex President of India, Pratibha Patil to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, for my peace-making efforts and my book on personal transformation, The 6 Spheres of Life. This feat has been registered by the Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records. These letters are a never-ending source of inspiration for me, which give me the impetus to scale newer heights of success; these gracious words of appreciation and encouragement from various prime ministers, presidents, mayors, governors and heads of states are incomparable to any materialistic gains.
My efforts in the fields of education, peace and literature have got recognition from prestigious record books like Limca Book and India Book. This recognition, in a way, fuels my passion to do more and to write more without losing focus on the Quality aspect. Being a part of history is one of the most surreal feelings. It makes me immensely happy that these records and my books not only give me the sense of (permanent) identity, but I know my books, articles, poems and other literary creations are going to be there to enrich the lives of many even after I am gone.
These awards and records are a constant reminder for me that I have a responsibility towards my readers. I will always continue to write with a purpose and for a good cause, and such appreciation will definitely help me to do better and remain focused on my goals.

Q. Some tips for upcoming writers?

Well I am too young and only a few books old to give advice to my fellow writers. But I would definitely like to share a few learnings with them in order to make their literary journey a less bumpy : Believe in your own power of writing, make up your mind on what you want to derive out of your literary works, whether name, money, share a story, etc., and start with what interests you and let it evolve.

Q. Any such belief as a “formula for success”?

Do not follow competition blindly, follow the star in your heart! This may not be the perfect formula but it will definitely get one started on the road to positive progress.


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