–A pilot who turns
writer with her first book!

Manjeet Hirani is a senior commander and a trainer with Air India. She is an avid traveller, love reading and has an adventurous streak. “My motto in life is to be a constant seeker and explore life…it has a lot to offer,” she says. Her first book How to be Human: Life lessons from Buddy Hirani has already become a talk of the town. Here’s more from this budding author.

Journey as a writer…

“I am not a born writer. In fact I had no interest in any creative activities during my childhood. The only subjects which interested me were Maths and Physics. After my graduation, I joined Indian Airlines as an Airhostess and after few months, realised it wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted something more challenging. After two years, I went to USA for my commercial pilot’s licence and joined back Indian Airlines as a pilot. I have been flying since 24 years as a commander and a trainer now. I started writing blogs two years back, talking about my experiences of life. I love philosophy and tend to philosophise everything around me, whether it’s life, emotions, destiny, flying and even food. I have a great urge to talk about my inner instincts and keep giving unsolicited advice and sermons to people. I have a natural flair for counselling people and have quite a following,” tells Manjeet as a matter of fact.

“I was very fascinated by my dog, Buddy and would capture his shenanigans by writing about him. I posted three posts on my blog and wrote ten and kept them aside, thinking I would post one per week. Being a pilot, I travel a lot to different places and sometimes we get some time on ground. Once I was wandering in WH Smith book store at Delhi airport and asked Rajmal Sharma, a salesman at the store, if he knew any publishers as I have written a book on my dog. He happily gave me numbers of a few publishers. I called up Penguin and spoke to them about the idea of my book and sent them the link to my blogs. Next morning, I got a call from them, asking me to write twenty chapters on it and here we are. The book is about my dog Buddy and it’s called, How to be Human….Life Lessons from Buddy Hirani. Every chapter takes inspiration from Buddy and what he teaches me about life. So I guess, there was a writer deep inside me and Buddy dug it out. A big hug to Buddy,” she adds.

Experience with publisher…

“I was very lucky and fortunate to get the best publishers in the country. Penguin Random House has been very cooperative and supportive. My editor Radhika Marwah pushed me to the brink and got the best out of me. It was a great learning experience,” tells Manjeet.

Target audience for the book…

“The target audience for this book would be anyone from 14 years and upwards. Anyone can relate to this book. The dog and pet owners can relate to this book very easily and people who don’t own pets and dogs also will enjoy the book and relate to the life lessons given by Buddy Hirani. They are on a wide variety of subjects and derive straight from nature. We humans don’t live by the laws of nature and have constructed a lot of dos and don’ts. Our lives are constrained by dogmas and rules made by the society. We as humans are very complex and complicated creatures. We don’t live an honest life and manipulate our words and ways to please others. It’s a very transparent book and an easy read and I hope many people will relate to it,” tells Manjeet.

Aim as a writer…

“So far, whatever I have written is purely from my experiences and observations. My aim is to go deep down to my emotions and of others, understand and explain what happens inside and our thought process. It’s nice to share my insights with others as everyone goes through similar thoughts and emotions but might be unable to articulate them. I am a non-fictional writer, therefore there isn’t much imagination. For me what I write is taken from what I see and feel. I surely like to capture as much as I can and once again, I have a natural flair for observations, which I share through my writing,” she says.

Experience as a writer…

“This is my first book. Before this I could have never imagined that I could write a book or even a decent essay. So the first thing for writing a book, you need an idea, a story line or a theme. You can start with putting together the structure first so that you know the content and how many chapters you’ll have. It gives you a rough idea of words or pages to be written. If you have this, it makes your job a little simpler. But the story and content should be clear in your head. For me, it’s very difficult to write fiction as I cannot make up stories. If I have not felt or experienced something, I am unable to put it on paper or in words. But at the same time, for another person, it could come very easily. So, story telling and writing is a different experience for each person. Just write what you are good at,” suggests Manjeet.

Advice to aspiring writers…

“To be able to write one needs a lot of content. And content comes by reading a lot, your own life experiences, observations from life and things around you or your imagination. Nurture all these qualities. A Japanese film maker Kurosawa said about writing scripts,write, write, write till you get it right. So that applies for writing books too. Regarding publishing the books, if you have a unique idea, every publishing house will want to happily publish your book,” she shares.

Views on reading for pleasure…

“Today, people have umpteen choices. All we need is one smartphone on which we can chat, surf the net, watch videos, watch films and even read a book. You have it all. I have tried all of this. But there is nothing like reading a book. The pleasure of holding a book in your hand, underlining the lines we like, reading and re-reading, sleeping with it, keeping a book-mark is pure romance, which no phone, computer, tablet or even kindle can give. While reading a book, you imagine the characters and situations in the book, but when you watch a film, you are watching some one else’s imagination. It’s very important to inculcate the habit of reading in your self and in children. Books are your friend, companion, guide and philosopher to you and it will transport you to a different world,” says Manjeet.

The writer’s plans ahead…

“My journey as an author has just begun. A lot of ideas are brewing in my head. I have already written my first draft of the journey of flights and drawn analogies between flying and the journey of life. I also want to write short stories of ants, insects, birds, animals and other creatures, how they affect us and are part of our lives. And a lot more ideas," tells Manjeet.

“Reading, writing, conversations, watching inspirational and motivational videos change our perspective towards life. One should be open minded and not be stuck with fixed ideas and thoughts. The more we do all these things, the better will be our understanding of ourself and of the world around,” concludes Manjeet.



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