'My book is a perfect airport book!'
Ramesh Aravind, popular Kannada actor, is known for wearing different hats. He has been a television anchor, a film director and writer and even a celebrity radio jockey recently.
Now, he has turned author with an inspirational book running into 144 pages (in 46 chapters) titled 'It's no f_n without U'.
That's not all. The gentleman actor, who is also an engineer, drew the illustrations for his book himself and has written the entire book on his Samsung mobile. Talk about tech and media savvy!
The book is in English but will be published in Kannada as well and is titled Khushiyinda Ramesh.
In this interview with Srikanth Srinivasa, Ramesh Aravind talks about his book and shares his excitement on turning author.
What is your book all about?
Basically, this book is a fun and an inspirational journey. It is about small tips that will probably help people simplify their lives as people get tense for reasons they don't have to.I felt all of us face similar problems. I would have faced problems that you are facing now. I may have a solution to the problem that you are
Image: The book cover It's no f_n without U
'I was always into writing'
What does the title suggest? Doesn't it look like you have placed a cursor on the alphabet?
Correct. It just shows what fun is all about and it is all about you.
If you observe the background to the book cover closely, you can see that two alphabets, I and U, are missing.
I am just trying to say the whole world means nothing without you and me. If U and I don't exist, the whole world makes no sense to both of us.
It is a symbolic representation to say the word 'fun' is nothing or incomplete without 'you'. It is also the popular SMS language of the youth and the whole book is written that way.
It is a breezy and easy read which you can probably finish in an hour or so.
Why did you think of writing such a book?
I usually look out for books at the airport and I like to read books that I can finish before I complete my journey.
That's why the size of this book is kept so short with a lot of white spaces in between. Each chapter is short and I have told exactly what I have to say.
Image: Ramesh Arvind
'The book is a collection of what I have written over the last two years'
How did the whole idea of becoming an author come about?
I was always into writing from my college days. The publisher, who is a college friend of mine, asked me what happened to my writing skills.
He said that I was wasting my talent. He told me to start writing as he felt that I had it in me. This happened about three years ago.
I told him I will write when something strikes me but I also told him I would do it when I felt like doing it and not because he told me to do so.
After that meeting, I started recording any interesting incident that I saw or whatever I could recall from memory.
I started putting it into words on my mobile and stored it in my blog. I had not publicised the blog though it existed.
This book is a collection of what I have written over the last two years.
In the last 20 days I just sat over it and finished it in full swing. I also started drawing illustrations that would help give relief to the readers and also register the idea.
How do you define this book?
It is a potpourri of a lot of things. There are some anecdotes that I have shared pertaining to my interaction with my colleagues in the film industry.
For instance, I have recollected the incident when I met Rajnikanth for the first time and what I learnt from my interaction with Kamal Hassan.
I have interacted so many times with Vishnuvardhan. I have recalled the conversation that struck me the most. I have also said what I like about Rajkumar.
Of course, there are a few incidents with animals like turtles and an incident with an absolute stranger near Juhu beach in Mumbai that made a mark on me.
The book speaks about time management, traffic and tension in our daily lives. It tries to give insights into life. I feel all of us have similar problems in our lives and all of us are trying to solve them in different ways.
Image: An extract from the book
'I have tried to discover some truths in a small way'
Are there glimpses of your interaction with your colleagues in the film industry?
Film personalities are always looked on as glamorous people for the clothes, glasses, swanky cars, people around them (girls) and the lifestyle they lead.
The book is not about that part of a film star.
There is another aspect to the popularity of a film star: Why did a particular film star become so popular and great?
I have tried to discover some truths in a small way. I have not talked about what makes other actors like Shankar Nag, Anant Nag and Ambareesh great. I have reserved them for my next book.
Is this book being translated into Kannada?
No. It is not a straight translation. The gist of this book will be the same in Kannada but the articles are written to suit local tastes.
The book will have my words but will be penned by journalist Chetan Nadiger. It is titled Khushinda Ramesh.
We are releasing two more books in Kannada along with this. One is called Preethiyinda Ramesh (With love from Ramesh) and Spurthiyinda Ramesh (With inspiration from Ramesh).
Preethiyinda Ramesh is written by senior journalist B N Subramanya while the other one is written by another senior journalist Ganesh Kasargod.
Preethiyinda... is a compilation of the interaction I had with my colleagues in the Kannada film industry on the popular television talk show that I hosted.The other one is supposedly based on the journalist's objective account of his interaction with me during the last 25 years.
Image: Ramesh Arvind
'I have dedicated this book to my parents'
How did you become an illustrator for your own book?
Oh, It's maddening! I have never drawn after my seventh class. I have drawn all the illustrations (doodling) using my mobile.
I started drawing things on the screen as it had that feature. I have never used paper to sketch. The whole book was written on the go. It is a kind of mobile book. I never sat down to write on a desktop.
After I finished producing, acting and directing Nam Anna Don I found myself suddenly with a lot of time at my disposal. As soon as I signed Thunturu, as an actor I found a lot of time between the shots. I used it to write and draw illustrations.
Earlier, when I had a BlackBerry, I used to put up a status message on my messenger every day. Interestingly, the titles of almost every chapter in this book are all status messages that I had put on my messenger.
People used to like my status messages and they told me to change it every day.
I created another file to store all these status messages. After some time I found so many status messages stored and so I saw to it that I used every heading in the book from the status messages that I had stored.
I started expanding every status message into a one-page story for a website run by lensman Nagesh Kumar. It drew a good response. I stopped writing for the site but I started expanding all the status messages for the book that has come out.
How do you plan to brand this book?
The publisher is doing all that. I can say that this book is a perfect 'airport book'. It can also be gifted to anyone for any occasion.
What is the kind of support you got from your family?
My family is extremely proud of me. Probably the image of a writer is more appreciable. I made my daughter read the script first. She said, "Dad, it's cool". I want people of her age group to read this book.
My wife, who is a voracious reader, didn't like the colours that I had used for the illustrations and she told me so.
I have dedicated this book to my parents. They should have read the book by now.
Image: Ramesh Arvind with his son and parents