Interview: An engineer or an author – which persona is more connected to your personality? What makes you choose this option over the second one?
Sanjay Chandra: A human is the sum total of all his experiences; his personality is shaped by all the people and events that touch him during his lifetime. I am no different. My personality has also evolved over the years and is now hopefully a balanced mix of the structured approach of an engineer and the romanticism of a writer.
Interview: How satisfying was it for you to re-visit your old memories for the purpose of writing the book?
Sanjay Chandra: I find that I rarely visit my past and I am content about living in my present while dreaming for the future. I had to walk through my memories to write this book. Obviously, the past would always have memories of all kinds – both pleasant or happy and sad. I enjoyed remembering my memories and I think it gave me a fresh perspective to the way I need to approach my present and dream for my future.
Interview: Discussion of which one incident was a real challenge for you, for the purpose of inclusion in this book?
Sanjay Chandra: In one section of my book I have written about my addiction to charas, for a brief period of two years, when I was in the final year of my college. This was one habit which only very few people in my close circle of family and friends knew. I was in dilemma to write about the incident for two reasons – others in my social circle would come to know about this and secondly, I did not want to send out a wrong message to the youngsters. Finally, I included this incident primarily to write about a shortcoming in my life at an impressionable age and to convey the negative influence of addictions.
Interview: Did any incident bring tears in your eyes? If given a chance, will you be open to share the tips / experience with some person to combat his / her limitations of similar types.
Sanjay Chandra: Death of those close to us and those close to the ones that we are close to has always moved me to tears. I have written in one passage of my book, ‘This again brought home to me that the ultimate truth is death; we all know it yet are unprepared when it comes’. I have also lost many of my very near and dear ones. I have shared many experiences – of failures, of sorrow, and also of success – in my book, and I hope that the book will give readers enough insights to overcome their own similar issues. I will also love to share my experiences with others if this can help them in any way.
Interview: Do you think that people in modern times have become plastic in terms of relations as compared to the feel we used to experience during 90s?
Sanjay Chandra: No, I do not think that relations have become plastic as compared to earlier generations. I personally feel that relationships today are more open than what they were in earlier years. In earlier days, males of our society were conditioned to not demonstrate their emotions and sentiments towards those they were close to. This has changed over the years – you find children sharing an open relationship with their fathers, husbands and wives sharing household chores, be it in bringing up children or in the kitchen. This is resulting in an emotionally healthier society.
Interview: You have experienced the pre-independence era as well! Which one habit / feature / practice you would love to follow in your personal life or will love to have in our present generation?
Sanjay Chandra: Let me correct you – I was born in 1959; I have not seen the pre-independence era. But I have heard about the era from my parents, my grandparents and older relations. I have read about that era in books. The one habit which I try to follow in my personal life and which I will want the present generation to follow is honesty and truthfulness.
Interview: One piece of advice for today’s youth so that they become as friendly as we were in old days!
Sanjay Chandra: Never break communication with the other person, whatever be the circumstances. There are so many more and better means of communication available now over the internet that there is no way that you can lose contact with those close to you. In fact, I have been able to connect with so many of my friends in this era of Facebook and other social media handles – some of them who were my childhood friends.
Interview: Do you miss your childhood days or you find more relaxation in your present day lifestyle?
Sanjay Chandra: I am a ‘present’ person. I enjoy my present and that is what keeps me going every day.
Interview: If given a chance to develop a story on one particular incident from your life – which one it would be?
Sanjay Chandra: I have already developed an entire story about my life in my book ‘The Life and Times of a Common Man’. There are so many other incidents that I see, or I read about in my life every day. I am developing my next stories out of these incidents.
Interview: At times, students’ aspirations do not match up to what their parents have decided for them. What advice would you like to share with your readers which motivates them to put their idea in front of their parents, in modern times?
Sanjay Chandra: As I mentioned earlier also, relationship between the children and parents is more open these days. Parents are also open to children exploring their own capabilities in other so-called unconventional career options. If the young feel strongly about certain career options, they can and should openly discuss with their parents. But they should also be open to hear the perspective of their parents. And come to a decision based on a healthy discussion between the two parties.
In the end my advice to the youth is that even if they are not able to pursue their own career choice initially for several reasons – maybe their parents’ financial condition does not permit – they should not lose hope and not let the dream die. There will always come a time in their lives when they will be able to achieve what they wanted in the first place.
This happened with me and there is no reason why it cannot happen with others.