In an exclusive interview with Outlook, Mr. Kaustubh Sonalkar talks about his book, Fetch Your Own Coffee. The book offers a real Indian life experience and is written in an easy style to read and digest.
Who inspired you to write the book 'Fetch Your Own Coffee'?
I started by writing blogs to express my thoughts on everything I saw around me, and the lessons I learnt from each experience. These blogs were around a variety of subjects including sports, cinema, culture, music, politics and more. Soon I found that it got people interested. People were liking my writing and sharing their views on it. They were also sharing the same with their friends and contacts. Basically, my write-ups triggered a lot of discussions because my views were far from conventional. Some people even vociferously voiced their disagreement with my views. Honestly, the comments sections hold their own lessons. So it was all those who followed my articles who eventually inspired me to compile some of my best work in a book.
How has been the journey with this book?
I have written different parts of this book over about three years and therefore it covers how I have thought and evolved over the years. My experiences are multi-dimensional, multi-cultural and spread across people from different backgrounds and geographies. Through the short narrations in this book, I bring all that I have learnt to people who have read my work before as well as to others I hope to meet through these pages. The references used are very Indian and completely slice-of-life, making the lessons easy to understand and extremely relatable.
Every single chapter is from actual life experiences, so these are not scenarios made out to fit a narrative or conclusion, they are my present reality. The simplicity of the chapters makes them inherently readable and before you know it, you’ve learnt a valuable lesson.
What is the origin of Fetch Your Own Coffee?
People often look for wisdom in conventional places - like books, leadership talks, digital videos etc. but even after going through all of that, they are sometimes unable to relate or retain to several of them. I love reading and discovering views across all media, but despite that I have learnt my best lessons from everyday experiences. That’s when I started putting it all together for a book. I have built businesses, been at the helm of billion-dollar decisions, worked across continents in strategy and people management roles, overseen M&As - and from everywhere I have been, I have learnt something. Fetch Your Own Coffee is a compilation of all my lessons in individual chapters that need no more than 10 minutes each to read. They don’t refer to my corporate roles, instead, the chapters center around those same lessons as learnt from more accessible experiences and popular culture. The chapters are simple enough for a young student to understand, and profound enough for a veteran to take lessons away from them.
What message would you like to convey through your book?
I believe that solutions to problems of any kind are always within striking distance. That is why I derive my lessons from boardrooms to sports fields in equal measure. When an accident cut short my Ranji Trophy career and crushed my dreams of becoming a professional cricketer, I realised the fact that every life experience holds a lesson - our role is to learn it and soar on.
25 years into my colourful corporate career, I believe that inspiration often strikes when you least expect it. For instance, when you’re doing mundane tasks like fetching your coffee or watering your plants. As an ardent proponent of empathy, human connections and the wisdom that lies in everyday experiences, I have built a steady followership on social media with my articles and blogs on a variety of subjects. My one message through the book is that no matter how different our journeys, the core values and lessons remain the same.
As an author, what are your thoughts on a paperback vs. ebook?
I believe that reading has become more user friendly, and we have technology to thank for that. There was a time when reading meant long-form, but today some people have developed a love for reading by simply exploring words in short-form as well. Again, there was a time when people loved the smell of the pages of a paperback, and I do too myself. However, I enjoy reading digitally as well. So the way I see it, multiple modes of reading have gone a long way in expanding readership. In the long run, that’s a good thing. Fetch Your Own Coffee is divided into easily consumable chapters and has brought together some of my most appreciated articles over the years. Each chapter captures my views on burning issues like diversity, education, transgender inclusion, biases, youth and women issues and even societal taboos. So, this book is really something all generations of readers should enjoy, across formats.
The book is now available on Amazon - https://www.amazon.in/Fetch-your-own-Coffee-Everyday/dp/0670093351