Surinder Deol

My commitment to life is best described by a quote from Taoist classic Tao Te Ching: “Be the valley of the universe so all things will come to you.” I take pride in calling myself a poet, a novelist, an explorer, and an armchair philosopher.

Books

Three things people don’t know about you?

I present a popular monthly TV program called "Khushboo" consisting of poetry and songs for South Asian audiences in the greater Washington Area.

What’s your greatest fear?

Great books will be written but there would be no readers to read them. Reason: Current generation’s obsession with the social media.

What is your greatest achievement?

Translation of an Urdu classic Divan-e-Ghalib into American free verse [The Treasure: A Modern Rendition of Ghalib’s Lyrical Love Poetry. 2014. New Delhi: Partridge India.]

High point of your life?

Every day when I get up and get to my day’s work.

Low point of your life

When I allow myself to think that my contribution will not make a difference.

Which living person do you most admire?

I admire every living person who speaks with conviction about the urgent need to save the planet from destruction.

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Zorba the Greek

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

No one in particular

Who are your favorite authors?

Nikos Kazantzakis, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

INDIAN: Divan-e-Ghalib (Mirza Ghalib), Stories (Manto), Gul-e Naghma (Firaq Gorakhpuri), Aag Ka Dariya (Quratulain Haider), Train to Pakistan (Khushwant Singh) WESTERN: To Kill a Mocking Bird (Harper Lee), Fountainhead (Ayn Rand), A Passage to India (EM Forster), Sophie’s Choice (William Styron), As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner)

Is there a book you love to reread?

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What are your 5 favorite movies of all time?

Bollywood: Shatranj Ke Khilari, Swami, Kaaghaz Ke Phuul, Pyaasa, Veer-Zara Hollywood: The Godfather, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Annie Hall, Sound of Music, Titanic, What if?

One Superpower you wish you had?

The power to eradicate extreme forms of poverty everywhere in the world.

Your epitaph would read? /Last line in your biography would be?

Not ready for Nirvana. Not yet but tried.

If you had a time machine to take you back to any country and any time period, where would you choose to be for your childhood, adolosent , adult life and silver years?

When Ashoka was emperor of India and Buddhism was the dominant belief system in India.

If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

To be a good ghazal singer like Jagjit Singh.

Which book you wish you had written ?

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

When and where do you write ?

My study that faces a very quiet street.

Silence or music?

Silence.

One phrase that you use most often?

What’s new in this work/movie/book?

Do you have a writing ritual / superstition?

Think of a dream I had the previous night.

What’s your guilty reading pleasure?

Reading Zen and Taoist texts.

Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

Ghalib told his disciples: Before you start to write poetry, first try to nurture a molten heart (dil-e gudakhta). I would say the same. Also write with the conviction that your work will make a difference.

Surinder Deol was born in India and moved to the United States in 1983 to work for the World Bank in Washington, D.C. His collection of poems, A Moment In The Universe was published in 2006. His book The Treasure: A Modern Rendition of Ghalib’s Lyrical Love Poetry, published in 2014, received critical acclaim from leading academics and Ghalib scholars. Endless Life is his first novel. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.

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Debashis Biswas

With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Walid Jalal

Walid has 7 years experience in online listing & marketing Working in SEO firm & Publishing sector. He worked in a Restaurant as a Manager in Sharjah for two years. He loves cricket & cooking.

Jayati Sarkar

Jayati has been into literature studies and has pursued her Mphil in Australian Aboriginal Poetry from the University of Calcutta. She is an avid reader and her love for books has brought her to the field of Publishing. For years she has explored the other side of the book as a reader and now she works with Leadstart as the Senior Executive in the Editorial Department. Her work profile includes working closely with Authors, managing the projects from end to end and also working with national and international publishers for management of Secondary Rights.

Ashwini Jadhav

Ashwini has about a decade’s experience in design. She is a Master of Commercial Art, who has worked in the publishing and advertising sectors as a visualiser & designer. She was judged as the third best in the state, when she finished her foundation course in applied art. She is a practicing calligrapher in Modi Lipi (a script in the Marathi language) and is a Rangoli artist who has won several accolades in those domains. During the popular Ganesh Chaturthi festival, several idols of Ganesha in varying sizes get made, one the most important finishing touches to the idol is that of painting the eyes, which Ashwini has practiced to perfection and does it for hundreds of idols every year. In addition to the above, she is also a trained classical dancer, a national level Kabaddi player and loves cooking.

Ananya Subramanian

Graduation in journalism and love for books, led Ananya to take up a career in publishing. With her experience in the field, she has come to believe more and more in the power of stories and the people who tell them. She is a vegan and an animal-lover; and loves to dance, tend to her pet plants and often find solace in solo travelling.

T. Vijay Kumar

Vijay has over a decade’s experience in supply chain management working in India and the Middle East. He heads the production, supply chain and receivables management for Leadstart. Prior to his current role at Leadstart, Vijay worked in inventory management for five years, in Abu Dhabi.

Iftikar Shaikh

Iftikar has a decade & half years of experience across publishing and the banking sectors in the finance domain. He enjoys working on numbers and loves uncovering stories that the numbers tell. A fitness enthusiast, he loves trekking and travelling.

Maneesha Arun

Maneesha has an experience of over two decades in the content industry spanning over publishing, media and secondary rights business domains. She has a deep interest in psychology.

Mahendra Rawat

With more than a decade’s experience in book sales and distribution, Mahendra comes from a family immersed in the book trade. He worked with several book distributors and publishers before his current assignment with Leadstart.

RAJESH KRISHNAN

With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Rajesh Krishnan

Rajesh comes with over 3 decades of experience spread over various business domains. He oversees Leadstart’s business development & sales across southern & western India, Sri Lanka and Middle-East. His hobbies include dancing, trekking and travelling

Pooja Dutt

Pooja has over a decade’s experience in operations, sales and people management in various business domains. She loves to interact with authors and helps them meet their publishing goals. She is fond of travelling & cooking.

Bhavika Bharambe

After completing her MBA in marketing, Bhavika has focused on roles that helped her to become an experienced marketing professional today. She has worked for brands from various industries; Educational, Tourism, Retail, Entertainment, Airlines, Banking and more. She loves to spend her time by reading books and listening to music.

Naina Solanki

Naina leads the project management and author support functions at Leadstart Publishing. She is fond of being abreast of the latest developments in technology and is a keen learner of the six sigma methodology. She loves reading and travelling.

Preeti Chib

Preeti has a decade’s experience in brand and communication management with most influential and innovative media companies. She is passionate about building brands by translating consumer insights into product innovations and campaigns. She is a compulsive reader and considers a day gone without some bit of reading a day wasted. She loves reading stories to her children every night. A lover of visual art, to delve a bit deeper into the same, she took up formal training for design as well.

Malini Nair

Malini is passionate about Literature and Business Management. After her MBA (Marketing) from St. Xavier’s, she took up roles that involved sales, marketing, costing, MIS etc. in multiple sectors like Banking, Insurance, E-broking, and even the Steel industry. Eventually, her passion for languages and books compelled her to re-route her career to literature. This led to a career break and a Masters Degree in English Literature; post which she took up a role at Wordit CDE & Leadstart, enabling her to work towards both her passions.

Chandralekha Maitra

With two decades of experience as a book publishing professional, Chandralekha began her career as a features writer and columnist, working with publications across India, before moving into book publishing full time, with India Book House. She received her training in editorial title management from Book House, London. Over the years she has worked with some of the finest publishing houses in India and overseas, and across genres and markets. She has also worked with Osian’s-Connoisseurs of Art, India’s first auction house, gaining in-depth exposure to research and publishing in the fine arts-antiquities-cultural heritage genres. Additionally she has had a parallel, specialist career in Human Resources, working at Group HR, Tata Group, among others. She continues to write, train and mentor in this domain as her publishing commitments allow.

Raj Supe

Aka Kinkar Vishwashreyananda, Raj Supe is a poet, storyteller and novelist, as well as a seeker and devotee of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath. An MBA by education, his career spanned advertising, research and creative consulting, before devoting his time to literature and spirituality. His works include Three No Trumps (novel), Sagarika Anusagarika [Echoes of Nine Rivers] (poetry), Pilgrim of the Sky (spiritual memoir), and translations of religious texts such as Cloudburst of A Thousand Suns and Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari. He has also worked on film scripts with Ram Gopal Verma and Ashutosh Gowariker, and on plays with Makarand Deshpande.

Dr. Rabindra Kumar Nanda

An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Stanford University, Dr Nanda is also a National Science Talent Search Scholar. He holds five Patents and is a published author of 50 national and 52 international research papers.

Swarup Nanda

Swarup has over a decade and half’s experience in multiple business domains related to content. Prior to his entrepreneurial ventures, he has worked with a couple of MNCs in the media space. His passion for literature and books is his motivation for building Leadstart.