Atelier Diva: Work, Play, Love
August 23, 2021
From Corporate life to love of writing
August 14, 2021 COMMENT comment
From Corporate life to love of writing
By Arti
Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, an IIM graduate, worked in the corporate world before hanging her corporate hat to take up full time writing. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and several Indian publications. Now a veteran of three bestsellers, Manreet tells us about her latest book and about her journey this far.
Q: Tell us about your recent book, The Taj Conspiracy
A: The Taj Conspiracy is the story of Mughal scholar Mehrunisa Khosa who stumbles on a conspiracy to destroy the Taj Mahal when she finds a corpse in the mausoleum and the Quranic calligraphy on Mumtaz’s tomb altered to suggest a Hindu origin of Taj Mahal. That urban legend had always existed - now though someone was conspiring to make it come true. Will Mehrunisa be able to fight her inner demons and battle a prejudiced police to unmask the mysterious conspirator and save the Taj? The Taj Conspiracy is a pacy thriller which is not only an entertaining read but also an exploration of what it means to be an Indian today in the face of increasing competitive communalism
Q: executive before turning to writing full time. How did this happen?
A: Writing waylaid me in early 2001 when after a hectic corporate career that had involved much travel (across marketing, consulting, advertising) I took a sabbatical in Singapore where hubby's bank had relocated us. With my head in the clouds (blame it on a Sing skyscraper - we were on the 33rd floor)
I thought I'd take a shot at a short story. I had had this vague notion that I'd write but my experience was limited to powerpoint presentations.
With a touch of naivete I went about it, wrote one, enjoyed the experience tremendously, followed it with some more, and showed it to some friends who concluded they weren't bad and, obviously, I was desperate for I took that as validation and persisted with the writing. Sabbatical went from 6 months to 12 and a short story demanded to be converted to a novel. Being a Punjabi, I don't do, I overdo - so I decided to persist, gave short shrift to my corporate career and began to tackle the writing of what would take 7 years of my life writing - The Long Walk Home, which is the first fictional examination of the 20th-century history of Punjab.
Q: How has The Taj Conspiracy been received in the market?
A: The book has hit several bestseller lists - Flipkart, The Hindu, Asian Age - and garnered great reviews.
Q: How does motherhood fit in with the demands of writing?
A: I write daily, weekdays, 8 am to 2 pm. But then, there's always writing in the head thereafter, on the couch, in the shower... I have an MBA’s work ethic and my training as an engineer is handy in imposing the discipline. Besides my daughter is in senior primary and I slot my work time depending on her school hours.
Q: Do you think you might ever go back to your career in the corporate world?
A: No. You know what they say: when you enjoy the process as much as the product, you've   found your passion.
Q: What knowledge did you bring from your training as an Engg and MBA to writing?
A: The work ethic, principally. And aiming for a certain standard of excellence.
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