When Squadron Leader turned author Manish Kumar got introduced in one of our favourite Whats App groups by the enthusiastic admin, the group members were more than happy to welcome him. His book ‘Be Your Own Pilot’ has been climbing charts and we wanted to know more about him.
BYOP has sold a number of copies till now. In Amazon.in, it had been in top 50 Bestsellers list. It has sold out thrice in the US and is selling in almost 15 countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Japan and Netherlands.
In a chit chat on his personal wall, he talked about his journey from being a pilot to a writer. His noble profession enabled him to undergo various enriching spiritual experiences that led him onto the path of writing. Here is an excerpt:
Q: What is ‘Be Your Own Pilot’ all about?
Manish: In this inspirational fiction, I talk about the unlimited power and potential lying dormant in every soul, waiting to be awakened. The moment we become aware of the power within, we stop being a victim of circumstances, get off the autopilot called fate and take control of our life.
‘Be Your Own Pilot’ is about the journey of a boy from a small town who realizes his dream of becoming a pilot, learns the lessons of life on the way and goes on to inspire others to follow their dreams. His Flying Instructor implants wisdom into the flying lessons and teaches him to take the flight of faith. The book shows the way – how, by aligning personal desires to the benefit for mankind, it is possible to lead a deeply rich and satisfying life.
Q: What was the inspiration behind BYOP?
Manish: During my tenure in the Indian Air Force I survived many near-fatal accidents. I and my crew were lucky to come alive out of these situations. These incidents made me delve deep into the meaning and purpose of life. I realized that my Life’s purpose was to show people way to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Hence, I wrote the book.
Q: Please tell us about your career as a pilot? The challenges and the highlights.
Manish: Initially, I was posted to a VIP Squadron and was a part of the formation carrying VVIPs like The President, Vice President, Prime Minister and the Service Chiefs. Flying with them requires precision and there is no room for error.
Later, I was posted to an operational Squadron. I flew extensively during Gujarat Cyclone and Earthquake in 1999/2000 doing rescue and relief work. In one of the sorties I rescued 05 fishermen, who were afloat on wooden planks after their fishing trawler was destroyed in the Cyclone. I was awarded the Chief of Air Staff Commendation Medal for saving their lives.
Q: Have you had any formal training as a writer? Your message to upcoming writers?
Manish:I had no formal training as a writer but I consider John Harricaharan, the Creative Writing Guru and the best-selling author, my mentor. I have read all his books on creative writing. He has also been kind enough to write the foreword for Be Your Own Pilot.
My first suggestion to all budding writers is to read or watch John’s story of Professor Peterson (click here).
Next is to fall in love with words. Once you are in love with them, you can feel intuitively whether you have used them correctly or not.
Lastly, write with your heart. Express your true feelings. Do not bother about what the Publishers or Readers will think. And don’t worry about grammar or other mistakes. There are people to correct them. The world just wants your original story. Write it.
Q: Who is better Manish, the pilot or Manish, the author?
Manish:I had become a Pilot with the sole aim of saving a life someday. After that was achieved, I moved over to shaping lives. Today, I have better and immense opportunities to touch lives through my book and lectures. You know, I had a reader who was about to commit suicide after being rejected from a job-interview. Luckily, he had the book. He read it and it gave him hope. So, I find being an Author is better than being a Pilot but I do miss flying at times.
Q: What would be your next venture?
Manish: We are trying to make a movie based on “Be Your Own Pilot.” I am also in between two books. “Souls : United at Last” is a true love story of Soulmates who meet after a few births. “The Fall Guy” is a science fiction in which I have borrowed the characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata and fit them in the modern context.
If you are looking for a nice self help book, this summer, do try this one! I tried and loved it.