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Ahona Das

~On a chat session with N.S.RAVI, the author of 'Those Were The Days'~

Ahona Das Book reviewer and editor



1.  'Those Were The Days' - If you have to explain to a person who hasn't read your book yet, what would you say about 'those' days?


This is a book  takes the reader through a quick tour of how things have evolved over the last fifty odd years for us in India  and make one  undertand that we have come a long way in terms of bettering our life style.

Imagine walking into a mobile shop and getting a telephone with connection.Just compare with fifty years ago when you had to wait for years and years to get a telephone connection.Today you just pick your mobile and ring up your friend who is thousand miles away and compare with the time when we had to book a call and wait for it to mature!

Walk into scooter dealer shop and drive away with a scooter today and compare with having to wait for four to five years to get an allotment or alternatively buy an allotment in the black for half the price of the scooter itself.

Think of a life without 24 hour multi channel television or even FM stations and compare with life without television or just one radio station braodcasting few hours in a day you favorite songs!

We have come a long way and you have to read about it to know and appreciate.




2.  From the corporate sector to the literary world: how has your journey been?


It has not been very difficult when you realize that I was keen to ensure that I did complete my book and got it published.

Once the writing bug got entrenched in my system I had to sort of shrug of the affiliation with corporate sector which had been my benefactor all these years.I knew that I could not do justice to the demands of both the worlds.I definitely was not talented or equipped to don one hat or the other and switch role on a regular basis.

Till now I have no regrets since who so ever has read my book felt that it was a good effort.i have been frequently asked when and what my next book would be about.

This is more than enough for someone like me to keep at it. The journey as you call it has been wonderful!



3.  Show us a glimpse of your daily routine.


It is reasonably simple and desgned to ensure that there is a good balance and distribution of time.

My day starts early –just a shade short of five in the morning.For the last eighteen months I have been following the water drinking exercise and gulp down four glasses in an empty stomach.Having a pet dog who loves to sleep under my bed ensures that his needs are taken care of after my morning ablutions.We both return after a fortyfive minute outing .

I drive my daughter down for her early morning CA  classes.This is a seven day routine and will be so for few more months.My wife joins me in this dtrive and we thus get some time together.After returning we have our morning coffee  and watch the news headlines  before adjourning to do our stretching and other small exercise routine.I normally finish my bath by half past eight and follow it up with meditation and prayer routine for about an hour.

My wife teaches French  in a school for about three to four hours in the morning and leaves by about half past nine.

The next four hours I spend with a quick read of news paper before settling down with my PC to work on my current project.

After my wife returns and gete the lunch ready we share an hour over lunch and  quick TV surfing .If there is a good movie we both watch.If not I return to my project after a catnap of 15/20 minutes and work till five.The next one hour I go for a long walk in the neighbourhood park to be followed by an evening tea session with wife.

She has some kids for tution in the evening and I watch some TV pogramme usually on sports.I also manage one hour on  my project  before our daughter joins us by eight in the evening and we have dinner together.

Being fond of Indian history I now a days watch the serial on Ashoka along with my wife before taking my dog out for walk of fifteen to twenty minutes.

I retire with a book by ten which is my companion along with some music  and usually switch off by eleven.

4.  What inspired you to write your first non-fiction book?


My discussions with some young( below thirty years) well educated colleagues made me realize that there was a dearth of effort on sharing with the new generation how much our country and various things have evolved over the last fifty years.I thought


a book on these lines could be a step in this direction and my contribution towards bridging the gap.

5.  Tell us about your previous books.

This is my first book though I am on my way to make sure that there are others to follow.

6.  Is there any particular personality you would like to mention as your motivator?

For my first book not one individual but a group of youngsters who were with me over a period of three years in a country called Gabon in the African continent where we were based to construct infrastructure facilities for setting up a free trade zone.

7.  How much of a patriot are you?

I am as much a patriot as an average Indian all of whom place their country first.For me there are are no degrees of patriotism. Since I lived abroad for many years I had probably more opportunities to participate in many India centric events which in India we take for granted and allow our laziness to take charge of our behavior,ofcourse without compromising on patriotism.

8.  When faced with adversity, some people come through fine, while others seem to just fall apart. What gives you the courage to keep going when times get tough?


In my experience most people come through fine in the face of adversities.We have to realize that normally everyone overcomes it in their own style and ability and we cannot sit on judgment not knowing their limitations.There are a few who do succumb but they are exceptions.Finally to some extent it is a question of adjusting oneself to new situations and its demands.


We Indians which includes you and me are brought up in such a way that we can face adversities as a part of life.Our parents, culture, teachers,books,friends and grandma stories from childhood prepare us for this.When I see a todays school student preparing for his college entrance exams I am convinced that it is still there with probably a changed style in preparing Indians to face adversities.


9.  How much of a reader are you? Tell us more about your reading habits.

I am someone who loves to read a lot and spend atleast an hour everyday in reading.This reading I must confess is for pleasure and not serious stuff which requires lot of attention.Over the years I have done serious reading but now that is behind me.

Even today I would love to read Archie and other such comics.I do not miss the daily comic strips in the newspapers.

I prefer light reading and like hunmor,mystery and adventure alike.I have read most of Wodehouse,Henry cecil,Gordon,Agatha Christie,Rex Stout,Jack Higgins,Follet,Grisham,Archer,Alistair Maclean etc.I have read all the editions of Kushwant Singhs joke books.For me today, reading is for pleasure and relaxation.


10.              What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the writing-publishing process?


To try and be patient was a good lesson which I learnt.Having been used to working in an atmosphere where all the work you were doing today  was due as of yesterday it was a big change and hence challenging.Again when the editing process started I realized how


difficult it was becoming to go through the same script over and over again.Honestly if I had been able to do this so many times as a student I would have been considered a very bright student.The problem with proof reading which I face even today is that I often read what I thought had written and not what had been actually written.

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