Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Tag: Writer

In conversation with Nishant Kaushik: Author of multiple bestsellers

Nishant Kaushik


Nishant Kaushik is the bestselling author of Watch Out! We are MBA, A Romance with Chaos, Conditions Apply and My Father is a Hero. He keeps a day job with Infosys Limited and currently lives in Australia. You can find him on Twitter.

He joins us for a quick tete-a-tete.

Aseem: How does it feel to be the author of multiple bestsellers?

Nishant: I am not yet content. Bestseller is an ambiguous term, because as well as your books sell, they can always sell more. I keep working towards that.

Aseem: How different is writing novels when compared to blogging? Do you like one above the other?

Nishant: I prefer writing novels (I am not a very regular blogger). When I write novels I get a chance to escape the real world and delve into the alternate universe my characters inhabit. That journey is something I relish, and I don’t get to experience it while blogging.

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Q & A with Amreekandesi aka Atulya Mahajan: Blogger & Author


Atulya Mahajan is an Indian author and is the creator of the Indian satire blog Professionally a technologist in an investment bank, Atulya Mahajan went to the US in 2004 to complete his Master’s degree. He worked there for five years and then returned to India. He started his blog while studying in the US and used it as a platform to share his experiences of people living in a foreign land. Besides this blog, Mahajan also works with the Crest Edition of The Times of India as a columnist and writes occasional humor.

Masters of America is his first novel. We have him here for an interesting tete-a-tete.

Aseem: So now that you have reached the big league of celebrities, how does it feel? 😀 Are people running to you for autographs?
Atulya: It feels awesome. You know, I go to Big Bazaar and they give me a free hamper. I go to the market and get mobbed as soon as I get out of my car. I go to work and they ask me to just sit back and relax and bring me a nice cold coffee, while the others do the work. Life just changes the moment you become one of a gazillion Indian writers.

Yeah, right. In my dreams!

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Interview with Rajshri Raajgopal – Author of Boomerang


Rajshri Raajgopal is a graduate in English Literature from Kerala University. She also gained CELTA from Cambridge University and Postgraduate Diploma in Pre-Primary Teaching from Pune. Rajshri was a Cabin Crew with Emirates Airlines and has lived in Dubai, Ireland and United Kingdom before relocating to Bangalore. She also writes children’s books for Mimitra Enterprises. Her first book in this genre is Mani. She is a single parent whose determination to become successful led her to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. Boomerang is her first adult fiction.

She joins us exclusively for an interview –

Aseem: From graduating in English literature to writing. Your life seems to have come a full circle. How did it come about?
Rajshri: Destiny. I took up English Literature because I love reading. Writing had always been on my mind but it never really materialized until now. I guess that’s why they say there is a time for everything.

Aseem: What’s the most challenging of them all – Writing or being a cabin crew member?
Rajshri: The most challenging was being a housewife.

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Virtual Rendezvous – Part III of III

I, Vivek Sen was a famous journalist with the Navyug Times based in Delhi. With the advent of social networks and other social media sites, I had become sufficiently active on Twitter to catch up on any latest piece of news.

During the Mumbai floods, I was assigned to look into Twitter to see what people were talking about. I somehow saw this entire campaign handled by Akshita Rane and two other people. This had to be a front page story for our newspapers.

@akshitarane we would like to know the details of the campaign you ran on Twitter for inviting donations for people affected by the floods

Akshita immediately replied back to official Navyug Times account (@navyug07) on Twitter.

@navyug07 why? What do you want to know?

@akshitarane we want the world to know the power of Twitter and how people are utilizing it..We have mailed you the details..Would it be ok?

@navyug07 ok that would be great

After a face – to – face discussion with Akshita, I published a report on the front page of Navyug Times on November 7th 2009.

Akshita Rane creating a sensation on Twitter

She’s young!
She’s hot and happening!
She’s sexy!
She’s as melodious as anyone could be!

Akshita Rane, one of the most popular Bollywood singers of our times already has many awards and songs to her credit. Now she’s creating a sensation on Twitter like never before.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is one of the most popular social networking sites where one can send status updates of 140 characters. Most of our stars today are using it for branding and marketing themselves. But Akshita seems to have done much more than that.

She has gone ahead and made a sort of ‘friend circle’ on Twitter with a 55 year old woman, Lata Prabhakar, a resident of Bangalore and Ronnie Dsouza, a 22 year student from Hyderabad.

I am sure you readers must be wondering as to how did this happen? To know more, we posed this question to her.

“Twitter is one of the most amazing online communication mediums I have ever used. Initially I was also using it just to brand and market myself. But Lata and Ronnie made me realise that at the end of the day we are also humans. And we just connected. Rest as they say is history.”
Interesting words from a star who at one time had seemed completely unapproachable. The saying “Times and circumstances do change people” holds so true for this situation.

And this is not all, the three of them recently organized a campaign on Twitter to mobilize people to donate willingly for those affected by the Mumbai floods. Contacting over 1,50,000 people to get donations worth Rs 40 lacs doesn’t seem to be a mean achievement any day.

Only time will tell as to how long this human side of Akshita Rane would stay in the public domain. What do you think of this? Do write to us @

Akshita immediately tweeted about the article to both Lata and Ronnie.

@lata55 @dummyknights guys! Did you check out the front page of navyug times today?

It was Sunday, November 8th, 2009 and Lata was really busy as she had to go out shopping to the nearby mall for household items. But Ronnie replied immediately.

@akshitarane yeah 🙂 interesting article..we are becoming famous because of you for sure..

@dummyknights hahaha..that was a good one..

Later in the evening, Akshita got to know of a bomb blast in a mall in Bangalore which killed 150 people and injured many. Fearing the worst, she dialled all the helplines possible and finally did get to know the TRUTH.

After hearing the news, she didn’t know what to do and whom to talk to. Finally she ended up sending a tweet to Ronnie.

@dummyknights it feels as if I have lost a part of myself..It feels as if I knew her forever and ever..I am shocked 

@akshitarane the way we connected on twitter it didn’t seem that we never knew each other..

@dummyknights i miss her as much as I would anyone in the real world..You guys made the human come out of the star in me..

@akshitarane I wish we could do something for her to honour her memory..

@dummyknights what do you think of organizing a concert in the memory of the victims of the terror attack?

@akshitarane don’t you think that would be monetizing the whole situation?

@dummyknights no! no! The money generated would go to the victims’ families and those affected in any way

After Ronnie’s initial reservations, he was ready to help in organizing the concert and mobilizing opinion among the people via Twitter.

@akshitarane then I am all for it..We can make people aware of this via twitter..What say?

@dummyknights yeah that would be amazing..let’s get going..

Mobilizing opinion among people on Twitter to honour the victims of the terror attack and also the Bollywood industry was a really tough proposition. There were questions ranging from the need of doing this to the financial proposition of this initiative.

Finally on 1st December 2009, the biggest music concert in India was organized at Bangalore in the memory of the victims of terror attack. Akshita managed a coup by inviting the who’s who of the industry.

50,000 people with more than 50 lacs generated through this initiative – the concert was able to reach legendary status.

Akshita and Ronnie were shocked out of their daylights seeing a tweet from @lata55 the next day at 10:22pm.

“The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive – perhaps for some purpose.”

Virtual Rendezvous – Part II of III

Over the next few weeks and months she herself made it a point to respond to @dummyknights. From the id, she could understand that this person was a blogger, novelist, music geek and also a twitter addict with over 15,000 tweets and more than 7,000 followers.

The fact that @dummyknights’s tweets didn’t sound as if he / she is worshipping her like a star made her even more curious to find about him / her. She realised that this was one person she could be more as a human being to rather than being a celebrity.

@dummyknights great to hear your honest comments on my recent album..I see that you are an upcoming composer…that’s awesome 🙂

@akshitarane Not really a composer ;)..More of a music freak who loves creating and learning new sound pieces..

@akshitarane loved your songs for last yrs movies..But this year not been very happy..Hoping 2 hear some good stuff soon..Expectations mounting..

With time, Akshita realised that this was a 22 year old guy and knowing the work he was doing at such an age made her hold him in awe. She also began to share information about her upcoming projects with @dummyknights. Though she never got to know his / her name, she felt like some bond of friendship developing with this person.

@dummyknights sorry to disappoint fans like u ..lot of plans 4 the future..Biggest project is theme song 4 the upcoming world sports games

@akshitarane waiting 2 hear your upcoming tracks..Oh my God! You the voice behind the theme song? Am sure, it’s gonna be cool 

However weird or surprising it may sound, she started connecting with @dummyknights like a real friend does, though this happened at a virtual level.

@dummyknights by the way, would love to listen to some of your sound pieces..

@akshitarane great  you can check them out on my personal blog..

Many of the Bollywood websites used to organize “Meet Akshita Rane” contests which were also endorsed and supported by her. Winners of one such contest were @lata55 and @dummyknights.

@lata55 @dummyknights Congrats! You are the lucky winners of “Meet Akshita Rane” contest. You are required 2 reach Mumbai by 14th March 2009

Lata was worried that her family won’t allow her to go for the trip as they had already started saying that she said more things online than in real life. It had seemed as if Twitter had come into her life and become everything to her. So she immediately replied to Akshita.

@akshitarane it feels great to be a winner ..I wanted to know the entire details regarding the trip

@lata55 the details have been mailed to you on your email id

After lengthy discussions, arguments and fights, Lata finally managed to convince her family about her decision to go to Mumbai.

While in @dummyknights case, the biggest confusion was where he was located as he had never revealed his location at all. Whether this was on purpose or coincidental was something which no one knew.

@dummyknights could you please tell us your location so that we can arrange the entire travel plans for you?

@akshitarane thanks a lot. I live in Hyderabad..Looking forward to the meetup

The entire trip to Mumbai and back was amazing and fantastic to say the least. Akshita finally found out the name behind @dummyknights – Ronnie Dsouza. Talking with him was such an easy task for her. Even though they hadn’t ever met before, connecting with each other through Twitter meant Akshita and Ronnie didn’t meet like strangers.

Akshita always thought that her songs were mostly for the young. Seeing, Lata, destroyed some of her perceptions. She was thrilled to see a fan of her mother’s age.

“So you are the @dummyknights huh! It’s an honour to meet your sir.” It was weird to hear a star speaking like that.

“Hahaha! Honour to meet me? You must be joking.” Ronnie dismissed Akshita’s comment with a whiff.

“It’s been really amazing to find a fan who criticises you too equally as much as he praises you.” Akshita hadn’t met many fans who were critical of her.

“I guess that’s why we bonded on Twitter. Didn’t we?” Ronnie replied with a smile.

“Yes for sure.”

“Aunty, it’s so nice to see a person of your age at such an event. I am really happy to know that people of your age like my songs too.” Akshita wasn’t used to meeting the senior age group as her fans.

“I love all your songs. Zindagi Ankahee and Anjaana from your recent album – Khuda Yeh Hai Zindagi are tremendous.” Lata was a big fan of Akshita.

“Hey even I love those songs. They are so easy on the ears. Akshita, it seriously shows your versatility.” Ronnie joined the discussion.

“Thanks so much guys.” Akshita was overwhelmed by the praise.

“Ronnie, you seem like a very interesting personality from what I have seen of your twitter profile through Akshita’s twitter feed.” Lata wanted to know more about Ronnie.

“That’s really nice of you. Knowing your age, one wouldn’t think you would like such songs. You should check out some of my tunes on my twitter id @dummyknights.”

“That’s an interesting name. I sure will”.

A 55 year old mother and a 20 something meeting up a celebrity through a contest organized on Twitter would have seemed totally unthinkable a couple of years back. But due to the reach of the online world, it became a reality. And above all they were bonding like friends.

After going back, the three of them remained in constant touch over Twitter. It seemed like some sort of friendship had started to develop between the three of them – maybe very unlike in the real world but so much possible in the virtual one.

On September 22nd 2009, Mumbai faced its biggest ever flood with more than 500mm of rain in a single day. This crippled the entire city with the closure of schools, colleges, ways and means of transport and also led to a lot of loss of lives and damage to property. People were using Twitter to disseminate information about the areas which were flooded. Many others who were stuck up around the city were using it to ask for help to be rescued. News channels and journalists from all around the country were in Mumbai.

Lata and Ronnie with the help of Akshita’s star power and list of followers decided to spearhead a campaign for the Mumbai floods. They started mobilizing opinion across Twitter to encourage people to willingly donate for the flood victims.

In the first one week, more than 50,000 people were contacted through this campaign. By the end of it, more than 1,50,000 had donated a total of more than Rs 40 lacs. The campaign was a legendary success and showed the true power of Twitter. Akshita thanked both of them for their efforts.

@lata55 @dummyknights thanks so much guys for your help..If it was not for you this campaign would have surely failed

Lata and Ronnie replied back with the same enthusiasm.

@akshitarane kudos to you for thinking of this idea..We have loved to be a part and it has brought all of us much closer

Virtual Rendezvous – Part I of III

“Mom! I want the breakfast on the table right now. I am hungry and have to go for work. Where are you?”

“Son, you have done a huge mistake by teaching your mom as to how to use Twitter. She seems stuck on that all day and night. It seems as though her world has turned completely virtual.”

It was January 2008 and since the last couple of months, Lata didn’t have anything much to do after retirement other than sit at her house in Bangalore. This made her ask her son to teach her the way to use Twitter. Twitter had grown into a phenomenon of mammoth proportions over the last couple of months to connect people across various geographies and demographics.

But since the time she learnt she was always on Twitter all day long. This irritated her husband and son no end.

“Sorry. The breakfast is ready. I will get it from the kitchen right now.” Lata had to hurry before both of them took the house on their head.
“Why are you stuck up on Twitter all day long? For your information, we exist in real life and not in the virtual world.” Her husband was annoyed.

“Twitter is an amazing tool. You should use it to know how much it can help.” Lata had a fantastic response to give anyone who didn’t trust Twitter’s ability to connect people.

Twitter seemed like a world of tremendous possibilities for Lata. Followers, Following, Retweets, Tweets – everything initially seemed like Greek and Latin to her. For the first few months, the only thing she just did was creating an id @lata55 and tweet a few lines about her daily activities. She also learnt that to reply to someone on Twitter one had to put a @ sign before their name. Following celebrities was the first thing she did.

The best part about Twitter for celebrities was that it brought their audience even closer to them than ever before. She was so happy to find her favourite singer, Akshita Rane on Twitter and immediately followed her.

Initially, she always used to wonder as to what to tweet. And when she did tweet, one of the biggest problems was in limiting them to 140 characters.
With time though, she started connecting with various people across India and the world. Young students, marketers, trying-to-be celebrities, sportsmen, women of her age – everyone; it seemed like as though she had found a calling in developing a virtual life. And it was seriously interesting. Whether she wanted to know a particular news story as it was happening, or get the latest titbits on what is the upcoming movie of a celebrity, it was all available on Twitter.

She had tried many a time to tweet to Akshita Rane about her love for her songs and also even requested Akshita to send a reply. But none of those tweets elicited a response from the singer. Then one find day –

@lata55 great to know that my songs are being loved there too 🙂

Lata’s tweet about people in Bangalore loving Akshita’s recent album finally made the singer reply back. This made Lata jump with joy as if she had got the biggest reward of her career. She went around telling all her relatives that THE Akshita Rane had replied to her on Twitter.

Akshita Rane was one of the most famous singers of Bollywood industry happily settled in Mumbai. She was young, vivacious and her songs had created a sensation amongst the youngsters. Her demand was so much in the industry that she had projects lined up till 2008.

Off – late she had also joined the Twitter bandwagon like other celebrities to connect to her followers and also publicise her projects, get feedback from the audience on her songs and also promote and invite people for concerts. She did tweet a bit herself. But in general her twitter presence like many other celebrities was handled by specific PR agents.

More than 50,000 followers and 5,000 tweets later, Akshita was always used to getting positive or neutral reviews about her songs. She hadn’t got many negative reviews. The ones she did get were from accounts which were not too popular as in they had lesser number of tweets and followers.

But suddenly sometime in September 2008, as she was going through her tweets and replies, she was surprised to see a few tweets over the month of August from one id @dummyknights –

@akshitarane sorry to say..Jeena Nahi and Mujhko Meri Neend are awful! Expected much better from u

@akshitarane shocked to see the recent review of your album..Doesn’t deserve 4 stars…would surely give not more than 2

@akshitarane hoping to hear a response from u..Big fan of yours..But not really happy with many of your recent songs

Akshita immediately confronted her PR agents and asked them as to why there was no response to this id. But they had no answer. Seeing many negative reviews from just one id made her think as to what was the problem.

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