Allow me to introduce, Praveen Tiwari, the author of “Stuck in the Middle? Let’s break the middle class dilemma!” You can find detailed reviews for this book at the below given link:
Praveen comes from a small town in UP, India. During his growing up days, his exposure to the outer world was very limited, like any other small town or village boy. He was excellent in the study though, and it opened the door to the outside world for him. Transition of lifestyle was never an easy task for a village boy, but, he adjusted with it and improved himself. Eventually, he got a chance to study in IIT Kanpur, one of the most reputed institutions of India. And his career in the Information Technology field allowed him to explore the world in better ways.
Possibly, seeds of writing this book were conceived in him during those days. He might have felt an urge to pen down his journey, and what he learnt from it, and how it can be helpful to others, who are coming from or living in the similar circumstances.
We found the book written effectively and decided to have a Q/A session with Praveen, to know more about him and his thoughts. Fortunately, things worked out positively, and from our team, I got a chance to conduct this Author Interview with him.
Thank you so much Jiten and ThinkerViews team for reading my book Stuck in the Middle? Let’s break the middle-class dilemma! with interest and writing an honest review on your website. It gives a lot of pleasure to know that your review of the book is largely positive, and you think that I have tried to do justice to the genre I targeted the book to be in, and a vast majority of people would be able to relate with the ideas, situations, anecdotes, dilemmas etc as described in the book. Also, a lot of thanks for having me here to talk to you! It’s an absolute pleasure.
Regarding the success of the book- yes, I have been getting critical acclaim. Several people (you being one of them) who read the book with interest have responded very positively along with a few possible refinements that can be addressed at some later point. That has given me immense satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and vindication of the initial idea with which I started this book – which was that there is a large class with this mindset of not being sure about things, needing an approval from someone and so on, and there is a need to let them know that most of us are same and there is no need to have unnecessary barriers in mind and let them become gatekeepers for our thoughts.
On commercial aspect, there is a long long way to go. Getting (such) a book dealing with middle class dilemmas which falls in the Self-Help / Motivational Genre out in a largely self-publish mode limits the audience one can reach to. It’s a challenge to market such a book all by yourself. Even though you get good feedbacks, and you kind of know that if it reaches to wider audience it would be received well, you still feel handicapped to do a lot of things in order to promote it. I think there is a lot that can be and needs to be done on that front.
Most certainly. One should mark and celebrate (without being overjoyed) every small success and every small accomplishment. I have described in the book also that – it’s only small things that make big difference in the end. Usually the beginning of a big thing was a small step, and often the reason of a big failure was a small mistake. Small incremental steps towards what you like and are passionate about gives you a sense of heading towards completeness. The book focuses on such smaller and finer aspects.
As you have said in the beginning, I come from a small place in the state of UP and spent my childhood there along with acquiring primary and basic education. Those were very fulfilling days – the worldview was limited, and you felt content in that environment. Those were also the days which formed the foundation of what I later became. The images and the impressions, that got created there remained in me for long time. Finally, I went on to study at IIT Kanpur and that was the place where my worldview was changed and refined drastically. Starting slow and with low confidence, gradually I evolved into a more mature, more confident, and more aware person. I am passionate about anything that happens around. I get irritated very easily if something is not right, but that is mainly because I am invested in it hugely and look for ways to correct it. I can passionately discuss about society, politics, people’s behavior for endless number of hours. Right now, I work in the field of Electronics and Semiconductor design and that’s what is feeding my now 😊 I want to pursue my passion of giving words to my thoughts and present it to people, hoping they would be able to relate with those and possibly derive something meaningful out of them.
So far, it is only one book, but I want to have “books” 😊 Actually, I have dedicated a chapter (although a small one) “Why this book?” to describe why I wrote this book. I am someone who is constantly thinking of something (although may not be doing something meaningful after thinking). Without being even a bit of arrogant, what I strongly feel is that with the educational background, the intelligence, and the overall personality that I have, I should be doing something much better, more meaningful, more fulfilling, and of more use to the society. And when I went into a search mode to find out why this is not the case, I realized that there are so many barriers, dilemmas, preconceived notions, unreal and unsaid expectations which I had bombarded and surrounded myself with that I could not act as the real me. I started to think more about these and realized that there would be many more such people who are suffering from this disease of middle class dilemma. I decided to pen down all these thoughts in a very honest manner in form of a book – to help me and help others deal with it. It also gives me a sense of doing something which is more fulfilling and is of some use to society.
I have some more thoughts and topics that I would like to pen down going forward. I used to write small blogs and some news satires, so there was some interest and momentum towards writing.
The first (and probably the biggest) challenge was to stay invested with the idea of writing the book throughout the journey, as I myself being the sufferer of the middle class dilemma was vulnerable to dropping the idea at any point. The other challenge was how to organize different thoughts, concepts,
and anecdotes – what should go where and what would make more sense, what should be the chapters, what should be the flow etc. And finally, I would say keep finding time and keep myself motivated that what I am doing is not nonsensical 😊
I think I enjoyed writing the chapters “What makes you a middle class?” and “What prevents you from breaking the middle class?“. And in a way, it makes sense too as both these chapters deal with problems more than the solutions, something which is very common to people with middle class mindset – more problems, less solutions. We enjoy presenting ourselves as victims.
I don’t think I can attach a category to myself, yet. For this book, I used to note down thoughts/points whenever they came to mind and later put them in a doc or so which I would review weekly and make them more elaborate.
Not much in this case. Here, I had a few templates to choose from and I found this one neutral having a sense of things being lost in the background behind the thick trees. But I agree, the cover plays an important role – it sets the first impression. Later in future, when I have the liberty to do so, I would go for something that exactly conveys what I want to convey.
I get instantly inspired by someone who is a self-made person, someone who made himself or herself on his or her own the way we know today. Basically, those who started from nothing and did something on their own which the world knows them for. People such as Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Narendra Modi are some examples. I also connect with certain specific traits they pursue, for example Shah Rukh‘s wit and spontaneity, Modi‘s oratory, Vajpayee‘s way of communicating, Dhoni‘s way of leading and so on. I try to take pieces from these in whatever I do, and I am sure there are reflections of those in the book as well.
Oh, yes! Absolutely. Writing gives you clarity of thought. It’s when you start writing, you start thinking more about it. Now I am much clearer about the dilemmas and the need to break them. It has also inspired me to write more and I will do so.
This is funny. Usually writing should be difficult, publishing should not be. But unfortunately, that’s not the case, and there are valid reasons for that from publishers’ point. No established publisher wants to invest with a first-time author, and they might be okay to do so. But this becomes a little tricky for the author. Thankfully, there are self-publish modes which can give you the satisfaction of seeing your book in print/ paperback and I too followed the same suit working with Wordit.
There are middle class dilemmas, and there are normal people like us who are capable, want to do something but are not able to break the barriers and do that. There are also motivational stories of big people to take inspiration from. My idea was how relevant, relatable and emulate-able those stories are for someone struggling with middle class barriers. “Hearing it from horse’s mouth” is what inspired me to write the book and I think that’s precisely the reason people should read it. This book is from ‘one of you’, who is very similar to you, struggles / juggles with similar problems that you do, tries to understand those problems better and why they are there, tries to find out solutions to those problems. As you read the book, you would be able to fit in your problems and your stories there and continue to relate with the idea, get a sense that you are not alone, become more confident, and get inspired to embark on the journey of doing what do you want. The USP here is “the book is from one of you” and “let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth“.
I am a bad reader of books, although I read a lot of stuff on the net. But I like biographies and books based on real incidents more than those which are works of fiction.
I am afraid, not any, because I don’t read that much.
Not many. I liked reading the biographies of Steve Jobs, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Narendra Modi. I also liked “The Winning Way” by Harsha & Anita Bhogle and “The High Performance Entrepreneur” by Subrata Bagchi.
I just started reading India after Gandhi.
Talking, leg-pulling, discussing and being worried about the society and the country. I like to spend time with family.
I think it’s a great addition especially for the present and the coming generation who would be more digital in everything they do. This helps getting those hooked to reading books who otherwise wouldn’t have. And for those who are fine with reading on those readers, it’s cost effective also in the medium to long run. I would look at it that ebook readers have created more book readers.
I would prefer a traditional printed book.
My recipe for time management is – one should be a multitasker, but he or she should also be doing only thing at a time as the main task and the greater focus at that time should be on that main task. Be clear about your priorities and accordingly decide those main tasks. As long as we do that, I guess time would take care of itself.
Of course, otherwise parents / grandparents would go out of jobs 😊 And it should happen as well. Listening to good things repeatedly in childhood gets imprinted in mind and stays longer. And like it would affect most, it has affected me too in the same way. You tend to think twice before attempting to do something which is not moral or ethical, so there is a built-in check and that is partly because of what parents and grandparents told us.
I won’t say we are losing the tradition. It is becoming impractical because of nuclear families staying far away from grandparents. That’s more of a practical problem. And the other thing is that the new age kids have so many more fancy things to be busy with that those stories, even if available, may not look enticing.
My take is social networks are more good than bad, although the bad ways in which those can be used are growing. Those networks have given voice to unknowns, and that’s a very powerful tool. You and I can go online and share our views, express our opinions and if people relate with the idea and share with others, you and I can become the voice of the masses at that point. And it’s very good, very powerful. Problem comes when those with vested interests start exploiting this and find immoral means to spread a wrong message much faster than it would have travelled in normal course. There is a need for those using social networks to become little more mature in that aspect, to be able to understand what should get their attention and what shouldn’t. India, being such a big country, has people with different levels of understanding and education and there is a large section, that use social networks, but may not be fully equipped to differentiate between what is true and what is not. They become easy targets for vested interests to manipulate them and influence them to help serve their interests. But in general, social networks are the fastest way to get a message around the globe, even if you are no body.
Please read the book with open mind and see if this helps you in some way. Would look forward to comments/ feedbacks/ reviews – even if you find the book good, bad or ugly 😊
We all are unique and each one of us has something that others do not have in the same manner or same quantity. One needs to find and focus on that uniqueness without worrying about what is that unique thing in someone else. There is nobody who knows everything and not knowing something is absolutely fine, as long as there is willingness to learn that if there is a need. Stay focused and there would be stopping!
I wish everyone a very bright future!
I would like to thank ThinkerViews once again for the book review and this interview.
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