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Interview With Lubhna Dongre | Author Of Stepping Stones

Hi Friends,

Allow me to introduce, Lubhna Dongre, a young and enthusiastic human being who is mature and clear in her thought about almost everything. She wrote a book named “Stepping Stones which we got a chance to come across. After reading the book we are impressed with the clarity in thoughts of the author and of course her way of expressing them effectively.

The idea of giving a written body to her abstract thoughts came across to her mind, and she has decided to put them together. Actually, writing teaches you a lot, she gradually learn the art of effectively manage these thoughts as well. She also got an idea that the most common thing the youth striving for is the right guidance. Especially students. And, we know, to remain present, one needs to be a lifelong student.

She thought why not to ask the people who achieved significant success in the life and get guidance from them. After all, experience is the best teacher. And getting a genuine guidance from someone who achieved his/her goal can really prove to be a stepping stone towards the success, for a true seeker.

She collected the courage to approach some really successful people and she waited for their response, and eventually, she got humble responses from almost everyone she approached.

Lubhna Dongre | Author of - Stepping Stones: Taking Towards The Goal

Lubhna Dongre | Author of – Stepping Stones: Taking Towards The Goal

And while doing this, she was having a board exam coming! And, you know that, in a typical Indian home, the year of board exam for a student is more serious for his/her rest of the family members. Surprisingly, her parents didn’t stop her and had put faith in her abilities and sincerity. She did effective time management and there come the book. Aspires to be an IAS officer, Lubhna, writes like she is delivering a Ted Talk :).
We wanted to know more about Lubhna, her passions, and more. Fortunately, from our team, I got a chance to have a Q/A session with her. And, here it is:

Hi Lubhna, congratulations from the deepest heart for getting positive response for your debut book, Stepping Stones, commercially and critically both. Please share your feelings at the moment.

Thank you Jiten Sir for your kind support. At the onset, it was just a book but now I know that it changed me in many ways. Getting positive responses for the book, fills me with immense gratitude for all the people who helped me to achieve this dream. To speak from my heart, this book filled me with joy, happiness and the satisfaction of fulfilling my dream gives me strength and hope that nothing is difficult and one can achieve any goal with working hard.

It is a kind of cliché question, obviously, you are feeling joyous, accomplished and happy, but, each success comes as a stepping stone right? Do you feel inching closer toward your goal?

The title of the book Stepping Stones: Taking towards the goal expresses it all. This book is a motivation for readers to get up and achieve their goal and at the same time it is a start for me towards my bigger goal. The journey of this book has taught some of the greatest lessons of my life, right from teaching me to work hard till persisting through the hurdles and telling myself “a bit more”. The book will always be motivation for me to keep the pace and accomplish my goals in future as well. I won’t stop here and this book pushes me further ahead.

By the way, can you tell us more about yourself, your passions, and your ambitions?

I am no different from other teens just that I have a clear picture and a journey to travel with stubbornness to achieve my goals. I have been among books since childhood, not that I read all of them but being surrounded by books itself radiates a strong positive energy that ignited the writer in me. Apart from writing, I love painting, sketching and origami. I aim to become an IAS officer and to help millions of people through my service.

You got an interesting name, can you share what it means?

Lubhna symbolizes “purity” (white as milk).

Lubhna, what is the best quality someone can possess according to you?

Praising and giving thanks for the things we have and the wants of future is one of the best quality. Being grateful keeps a person grounded on right values and gives an optimistic outlook towards life while thanking our present situation. Gratitude prevents people from taking things for granted and realizing that we should be fulfilled with what we have. Therefore, for me thankfulness is one of the best qualities and one should practice it on regular basis.

What Lubhna hates the most?

Being among students, things I have notified which disturbs me are the egotism, competitiveness, and showing others that I am better than you. It is sad to see how increasing competition is encouraging bitterness among students where everyone is trying to outpace other person without actually realizing what’s right for them and what’s wrong. Students aren’t studying for learning whereas are more concerned about marks being compared to other students. So, this is something I hate, however not all students are indulged in this and that is the brighter side of it.

What are your hobbies?

Firstly, I love to read which I prefer many a times. My other hobbies include, sketching, watching historical documentaries, origami, calligraphy, and book collecting. All in all, I love to learn.

What is your favorite book? Of course, you can name more than one 🙂

I always found this question tricky because there are many books and at the same time there are none to pick some of them. However, the books which moved me are Man’s search for Meaning, Secret, 7 habits of highly effective people, Magic of thinking big, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Mein Kampf, The Story Of My Experiments With Truth, Out of my mind, Deep Work; to name a few.

Who is your favorite author?

Currently, it is Yuval Noah Harari because I just got one with writing while reading Sapiens.

Which book are you reading currently?

I just finished Sapiens: Brief history of humankind and I must say, it is one of the best books I have read so far giving a view of world history. I could connect with the text, also because lately I am studying world history and having a kin interest in the subject. I have now started the second part Homo Deus: Brief history of Tomorrow, which is again shocking and wondrous book. The next in line is Brief history of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Please tell us about how your family has supported you in your quest?

While sharing that I read so much and have written a book during exam time, it can only happen with the family support. I am fortunate that my parents have supported me during this journey and have equally travelled with me. The book is not just written by me, it is the collective hard work of my father, mother and I. It was difficult to balance studying, writing, mailing and traveling but because I was optimistic and had a strong support, I could do it. Much thanks to them, I enjoyed every part of it.

Can you share the response you’ve received from your teachers, when they found you are writing a book?

Right on the first day, I shared it with my Hindi teacher, who was very happy and because my first letter arrived at school, so everyone was aware that I am writing a book. When the book finally got published, my previous school and the new school (I changed school for class 11th), both were very happy and I was congratulated with many blessing and wishes. Teachers gave a positive response and some of them, even complete reading the book. I was honoured by our principal and book is available in our library for other students as well.

How your classmates are reacting to it? And, how is your equation with your friends, after the book release?

All through this writing journey, almost everyone knew about it; and every time I was around, the first question anyone asked me was, “When is your book coming out?” Everyone was very happy with the release of the book. However, things

have not much changed when it comes to relationships with friends, because I don’t want the success to affect me. I feel that this book is just an ahead start for me and new achievements will come, everyone is alike and everyone can do, it is just that I am clear with my goal. I don’t want to change and portray myself any different and be connected to the roots and respect everyone the same way they respect me. I wrote this book to motivate them and I feel I succeed in that goal. So, I am just the same friend for them, yet now I portray as an inspiration to work hard and that is what I wanted.

How, writing this book affected you as a person?

I can’t deny the impact that this book left on. Right from depth in thinking to analyzing the situation in a better way, I guess all I learned during this journey. This book has changed me when now I am determined and yet even more stubborn towards my goals. I have better plans and I am well rooted with myself. As I say, this book is not just an account of some life lessons but they have in turn tested me. I was not able to write the parts which I was not following. Every part has given me new lessons to lead with and each letter and email has transformed to towards my better self.

How was it for you to find a publisher and getting the book published?

Writing a book, publishing, promoting, marketing, all this was new to me and my parents. We were just not aware about anything related to book publishing. We started searching for publishers, and went around different websites and were shocked to see 3 to 6 months in there submission period. I wanted the book to get publish before turning 16. So, therefore we went for self-publishing without much knowledge. My publishing experience was not much cheerful but I enjoyed though. It took four months to get published.

What do you think about the cover page of the book? Were you played an active role in the designing of the same?

I love the cover because the same basic design is according to me, the colours, texture and alignment all is set according to me and my father. Publisher had little to do, I wanted it to be according to me. So, I and my father has designed the

cover. Publisher just followed our advice and I must say we worked hard for it to take care of even the little things on the cover.

What is the best time you prefer to write? Are you a method writer or impulsive one?

I always prefer writing at night and had all things organized first and then started with jotting down the points and working with the structure. My mind starts working at night and that’s the best time for me to study and complete important assignments. You may call me a night owl.

What are your opinions about various social networks and the way it can be used to spread awareness about some important cause around the globe?

Social networks is a wide platform for ideas to cultivate and nurture the talents, this stage turns out to be catching opportunity for thinkers, creators and innovators. When earlier it took long for people to reach out to others, now it’s just a matter of some seconds to convey our thoughts and messages to miles away. This technology in itself is a big change and can be a positive step towards improvement (provided, it is used properly). We have so many initiatives taken up by volunteers around the globe to spread awareness about important matters like woman’s movements, girl child education, environment conservation, etc; which are turning out to work well among masses. Today, there are a few people who won’t be aware how important it is to get education, how did this change happen in society? Thus, it is easier to reach out to wide audience in no time and to spread right message across. At the same time, using technology in a positive way is a requirement otherwise; the same blessing can be a curse for humanity. The negatives are not so far from us as well, when we see fake news coming up and exam papers being leaked. Therefore, it is our choices that will show up, using technology as a blessing or turning it to be a curse.

Did you grow up hearing moral and ethical stories from parents/grandparents? If yes, how it affected your persona?

Frankly, I did not hear stories but in a way my moral fiber is built from the movies and documentary we occasionally watch. Stories in the form of visual are more impactful and that’s what worked for me, we (my family) at home started watching inspirational movies, historical documentary and having discussions on various topics. These have helped me understand the right and wrong and made a clear vision for me to look at life and world around. My father and I also read the short stories that come in newspaper that has also been a source for building my character. With that, books played a major role as well.

Can you share which historical documentaries you like the most?

The recent documentary I watched was ‘History of the World by Andrew Marr’ which was really fascinating giving a new insight and a modern perspective of major events that shaped the history. Other documentaries which interest me are, ‘Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey‘ by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Story of Science, Story of India, etc. I also prefer studying the historical figures by TV serials and movies, like, Buddha, Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule, Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Pradhanmantri, etc.

Did you get a chance to reach PanchTantra / Amar Chitra Katha while growing up? If yes, what do you think about them?

I have not read Panchtantra or Amar Chitra Katha. However, I have watched them through short stories videos. I feel they are a good source of moral education to children. It brings forth the lost Indian tradition to kids and learning values from them. Looked from an optimist view, they can help build character and knowledge of right and wrong in young kids.

Do you love to read traditional printed books more or EBooks?

I prefer reading from printed books, though they may be hard to carry but one can’t forget the pleasure from holding a book in hand and experiencing magic of words.This very reason prompts me to collect books, and be in a world of exploration. I have 700 books in my library, which have always been a source of motivation for me.

Please share your Social Media/web presence, so that readers can follow/contact you.

Facebook: @LubhnaDongre
Twitter: @LubhnaDongre

What is the one thing you want to share regarding time management with fellow students?

The best way to understand importance of time is to imagine oneself sitting in examination hall and attempting a paper when you have just 3 hours. In the same way, as we have limited time during exam, we have limited time in our lives and the person who realizes this is likely to win over others things as well. When it comes to students and time management, one should remember that it is difficult to win a cricket match when you decide to score runs in last overs but it’s easier when you decide to score equal runs in every over (scoring 10 runs in 30 overs is easier than scoring 30 runs in 10 overs). This applies to academic year, studying 1 to 2 hours daily for the whole year yields good grades rather than studying in the last days. One line that summaries how I manage my time is, “Take care of minutes and the hours will take care of themselves“.

How one should consider board exams according to you?

Board exams were not a burden for me, as it is considered by many parents and students. According to me, exams are to test us for not our memorizing but for our learning of the year. Though 10th and 12th are stepping stones of one’s life, they do not determine your potential and talents. Everyone has a job to fulfill, for elders it is their work and for students it is their studies. Studying should not be considered as a burden but a way to improve oneself and identify one’s talents. It is not that, students keep studying for days and days with no time for their passion to pursue, that’s not learning but, the right way is to balance and set our priorities right. For students, the priority is to study and that should be fulfilled. Therefore, board exams are to improve your abilities and to take you to the next step of your life. Take it easy and harness your passion realizing what your priority is at the moment. There is right time for everything, whether it is to play or to study.

Please share anything special you want to convey from your side the readers of this interview.

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Happy reading!

Over To You:

Hope you have enjoyed the Q/A session with him. And many of your questions might be already answered. Let us know that what do you think about this Interview session? Do you want us to ask anything else to him on your behalf? Do let us know. Also, let us know which other authors you like us to interview? Do let us know your thoughts and remarks via comments below. Do not forget to share this article with your friends over various social networks via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and others. And yes, you may like to subscribe to our RSS feeds and follow us on various Social networks to get latest updates for the site to land right in your mail box.

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