Exclusive Q&A With : Mainak Dhar, Managing Director of General Mills India Private Limited
Updated on: 23 Jun 2016
In conversation with Dhar about his books, balancing personal with a busy professional life and, most importantly, finding the time to write.
Mainak Dhar wears many hats. The Managing Director of General Mills India Private Limited is also a much-published author. An alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, he has set himself a goal of writing one book every year. Brand Shastra, his latest, is on the stands though an official launch event is scheduled to happen soon. Also being released virtually simultaneously is his new novel 03:02. Pradyuman Maheshwari talks to him about his books, balancing personal with a busy professional life and most importantly, finding the time for writing.
You are on to your 14th and 15th book, and you have a pressing day job at General Mills. How do you manage both? Writing is something I have been passionate about ever since I was a child. My father was in a government job, so we moved around a lot. By the time I finished my education, I had gone through nine different schools. When you are moving constantly, you are alive in your own imagination. Ever since I was very young, I wanted to write. When you are passionate about something, and you decide that it is going to be a part of your life, you make time for it.
And it's your ambition to write a book a year. That is a huge ask, alongside the demands of the top job at a company like General Mills… The passion to sustain anything has to be coupled with discipline and deliberate choices. Passion can get you through one book. But if you want to make anything sustainable -- whether it is writing, exercise or a hobby -- that needs to be coupled with discipline and clear choices. My priorities are very clear. Number One is my family; Number Two are the people at work whom I am accountable to because ultimately that is where all the things in business helps people succeed; and Number Three is how I make time for health, fitness and what I want to do. My writing is in those spaces in my routine when I am not with my family or with people at work. Every morning I run for an hour, and that is when I am thinking about writing. Every day, I keep half an hour aside for writing, and it all adds up. My target is 500 words a day. If I can sustain that for nine months, you have a reasonably-sized novel. I also get a lot of writing done when I am travelling on work. When I am on a flight, at a hotel, sitting in the lounge at the airport, I write.