Read the interview with the author as what he has to say about the book and the questions that we asked from him. Do leave your comments below.
Meet Sailor Turned Author: Rohan
Can you please tell us about yourself little bit?
Well, I am just a normal guy, born and brought up in Meerut. I did my schooling from St Mary’s Academy, Meerut. Later on, I went on to do my Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute Of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi. After that, I did my one year of pre sea training from the Marine Engineering & Research Institute, Mumbai. Have been into sports all my life. I love playing cricket, table tennis and snooker.
How you got in to sailing? How many years you sailed?
Initially, I decided to sail for money and a lucrative lifestyle but then I realized that I was far away from reality. Those six months on an eighteen year old chemical tanker were good enough for a change in perception.
What made you to write this novel?
It is actually a combination of research, little personal experience and the real life I saw at sea and the complete unawareness of that reality on land. Being an Indian, I am particularly going to talk about India. People on land may or may not get electricity or a train ticket when they need, but they always get petrol. This is just one commodity. Over 90% of whatever reaches land is dependent on the brave people at sea. It is pathetic to see that a status of “carriers” has been given to them. If the people at sea are carriers, they are not supposed to touch any machinery. But the most dangerous work in the most dangerous conditions under extreme temperatures is being carried out everyday. People are working like super humans. It is because of their competency that the people on land never suffer because of them. I’ll tell you what-“If the people at sea were actually carriers, every petrol pump would have an online website for people to book petrol, gas would reach people after years of booking, the cost of everything that reaches land would considerably rise and the economy would be in pits.
But, my point is-do people know about this? It is high time that people know the reality because this unawareness is creating havoc. Flashy highlights of derailed trains and flights going missing are all over the news, but most people think that titanic was the last ship that sank. Nothing comes out in public. Sailors are attacked by the pirates and it takes years for the government to bring them back. A common man doesn’t support and even if there is support, people don’t really know who exactly they are supporting. Pay commissions have been happening in all government organizations and undertakings, but an undertaking reduces the salaries of officers at junior ranks by 80%. Would you believe it? To add to it, the Indian MMD is conducting more exams for the officers at sea than what even the UPSC conducts for the bureaucracy. Till the time it doesn’t become a topic of conversation for the general public, the media will not pay attention.
So, I had to find the best possible way to make the people aware of everything at sea. Everyone has been in love at some point or the other in their lives. A love story focusing on the maritime life, covering and revealing all the aspects of maritime life at the right time through the story became my way of doing it. That’s how I decided to write this book. It is a tribute to all the brave sailors and their families, a book meant to bring this life into limelight so that at least some change occurs, sailors don’t suffer.
What makes your novel interesting for the readers?
Well, it is a modern day love story of Armaan and Malishka. The story begins during Armaan’s maritime training. The couple falls madly in love and reach a point where they decide to get married soon but then……there is nautical miles of separation. What is the condition of Armaan on board? What is the condition of Malishka at home? What happens during the journey and what happens when they finally meet?
For the mariners and their families, it is a story all of them can relate to, it gives them their utmost respect and pride and for everyone else, it is a love story of a life alien to them. The word “love” appeals to everyone and when there is a love story of an unknown world, the interest is automatically created. Through the story, all aspects of a sailor’s life both on land and at sea are covered. So far so, the book has been doing great and being loved by everyone, whether mariners or non-mariners which is exactly what I wanted. The response in fact has been so good that I now guarantee a beautiful story. I hope it is read by as many people as possible. All I can say in the end is-“The book is meaningful and showcases true love. Competence will be noticed and the work of the brave sailors will be recognized.”
How was journey from a sailor to author?
The journey was as incredible as the journey of “NAUTICAL MILES-AWAY FROM LOVE”. Full of fun, excitement, emotions and yes STORMS. Here is the link to buy the book
Did anybody helped you in this?
Of course, my family and a few close friends have always stood by me and helped me out.
What are your future plans? Are you planning to pursue it on full time basis?
Yes, if my work can make a difference and help in being a change, I will. I do have a number of stories in mind.
What upgrades, do you think can pull more young lads to pursue sailing as a carrier.
Why do you need more when the market is already flooded? I believe having a fixed amount of intake every year, having a better selection procedure, providing better facilities and giving the due love, respect and credit for the work done would be the right way to go forward.
Apart from sailing or writing, what you like do?
I like playing snooker and table tennis. And I love playing, watching, discussing and analyzing CRICKET.
If you are given super powers for one day. What you will like to do first?
Exactly what I am trying to do with this book. Having super powers means that I have the powers to change minds of the people. So, I would remove their misconceptions and make them see and understand the reality. Instead of revolving a mariners life around money, I would make the people realize the importance of mariners for their survival.
What do you do in order to keep up with latest tools and technologies?
I don’t do much. It is my sister who keeps coming to me everyday and tells me that I know nothing. She then updates me with all the new stuff around.
How is your daily schedule?
As of now, my whole day and whole night schedule revolves around “NAUTICAL MILES-AWAY FROM LOVE”. Making it reach out to as much audience as possible is the only thing in my head 24*7.
Any major change you want in the sailing world?
Lots to be honest. But the most important one is better communication facilities as per the technology available. When a marine officer or crew goes on board, his/her family is NOT being taken care of by the government. People are leaving their pregnant wives back home and sailing for nine months at a stretch. So providing proper communication facilities so that there is proper BOTH-SIDED contact AT WILL becomes all the more important. Things as important as this CANNOT be left at the company’s monopoly or sensibility. It’s time the difference between facilities and necessities is realized. It is a point I have raised to the IMO and all other maritime authorities through the book.
What you think is lacking in the new sailors?
I wouldn’t say that there is anything lacking in the new sailors. But if there is anything I would like to comment upon, it would be the ability of answering back. For example, there is no reason for any officer or crew to tolerate misbehavior from a clerk in the MMD, or the money asked for during sign on and sign off at the customs. I mean let’s face it, all these things are happening everyday. It isn’t about the money, it is a question of respect. One person or two people won’t be able to change it. So yeah, the new generation needs to be FEARLESS, STRONG and UNITED. Standing for each other rather than against each other. Remember, the Indian Cricket team was always a silent and subdued team which would tolerate anything and everything thrown at them by players of other nationalities until there came a Sourav Ganguly who changed it all. Look at the new generation today. They are full of confidence, hard working, the standards have become so high and they play in a no non-sense way. The only thing he did different was that he realized his own worth. Sailors are running the world, economies are there because they are there. So, the point is-if they realize their own worth and if there is a will to change, it can start from TODAY.
Your favorite, tourist destination, Recipe, Actor/Actress, car. Who is your role model?
Favorite tourist destination- The most romantic city “Paris”
Recipe- Dal Makhani
Actor/Actress- In Hindi Cinema right now, “Aamir Khan/ Priyanka Chopra”
Role model- His fearless quality and attitude inspires me, “Salman Khan”
Last Question- what you think about marinersgalaxy.com ?
I think it is an excellent initiative. A place where people can get to know a lot of things about maritime life, both on a personal as well as professional level. Adding a personal touch, like posting about the sailing experiences of wives adds a lot more to the quality. I am glad to see the work and efforts and perhaps it is the only site where people can get everything at one place. So, keep up the good work and help out in creating a change..