Thursday, 6 August 2015

Author interview - Mehrab Irani


  1. Hearty congratulations for the success of Mad Money Journey. Financial fiction is a new genre.
    How does it feel to be a forerunner?
Thanks Mahesh for your kind encouraging words which mean a lot to me. Its only because of erudite readers like you that we authors are inspired to write and express ourselves for the common good of everybody.
We are all born into genius. Sadly, most of us die in mediocrity. I am going to die one day. We all are going to someday shed our earthly bodies and leave for another voyage – the journey of the soul. But then, does the journey of the soul begin when we actually die physically. Is the soul actually alive when we are here on this planet? A child knows what it wants to accomplish in life. At that point, everything is clear and everything seems possible. As children, we are not afraid to dream and yearn for everything. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince us that it is not possible. By repeating the same pattern again and again, are we moving towards the death of our very soul? Everybody has a ‘personal calling’. This is the promise between God and us. It is the promise each one of us makes to God before embarking on our earthly journey. Whoever you are, you have a personal calling, a desire that originated in your soul. This is clearly your mission on earth; the purpose of your very existence on this planet.
I took it as my ‘personal calling’ of making people realize what small life they are living because of financial slavery, helping them move from financial slavery to financial freedom, re-introducing them to their dreams and empowering them with the courage to live their dreams so that they can achieve their higher self-actualization goals and answer the calling of their souls. Being a forerunner in anything brings happiness, sense of purpose and at the same time enormous responsibility. I hope to honestly justify my duty.
  1. Please tell us how did the thought of a financial fiction come to you.
The world is moving forward technologically but we humans are moving backwards financially. We may have all modern facilities like online banking and investing, credit and debit cards, access to financial information, easy loan facilities but our financial knowledge is diminishing. Today, we see young educated people earning very good income but then not able to protect their money from financial predators, they pay everybody like the government, banks, electricity bills, telephone bills, children school fees etc but forget to pay themselves via surplus budget, don’t know when to cut spending and when to spend to get rich, have no protection in the form of financial insurance, are not aware of the difference between saving and investing, buy liabilities mistaking it to be assets with negative leverage which puts them in the web of unnecessary avoidable recurring expenses which then sadly makes them “slaves of money” for life – wage slave of the employer, tax slave of the government and loan slave of the bank.

To this effect, I wrote my first book called “10 Commandments for Financial Freedom” in the year 2013. It is a simple straight forward book wherein I have brought out 10 principles dealing earning, protecting, budgeting, saving, spending, investing, leveraging, insuring, common financial mistakes and rules of money which I believe if anybody follows will lead him / her on the path towards financial freedom. It’s a very simple book and I believe anybody reading it will be able to understand it. However, still it is a non-fiction book and people have to actually sit and do the hard work of reading it. After this book, when I used to meet lot of people in seminars, conferences and used to talk with them, I used to realize that there is lot of apathy towards financial thinking. When we ask a housewife that what are you doing with your money the typical answer is that, “I don’t know my husband or father is looking at it”; when we ask a young educated professional who has just started working that what are you doing regarding your future marriage, children the general answer is that, “I don’t know just now I am busy concentrating in my career”, when we ask a middle aged experienced professional in a senior position earning very good income that what are you doing about your retirement, children marriage then the normal answer is that, “I don’t know, I have invested in that mutual fund or subscribed to such insurance policy”. I am not stating that we should not go to professional fund managers, if we don’t know how to invest in specific stocks we should surely take the help of professionals but what I am trying to stress over here is that we should atleast be aware what is happening with our money. But there is total ignorance about it. And people are generally afraid about the word “money”. And it is not their fault – during school or college we have been taught everything like math, science, history, geography, engineering, medical, law etc but nobody teaches us about the most important thing with which everyone in this physical world has to deal i.e. money. Yes, whether it is a King or a beggar, a CEO or a peon, a Minister or a normal party worker, a man or a woman, educated or uneducated – everybody in this world has to deal with money. Journey in this physical world is incomplete without money. And if we don’t know how to deal with money – many times our this journey becomes like mad. So, the idea of “Mad Money Journey” came up.

The two most important things in this world is – entertainment and money. I thought why not combine both of them. Most of the people are afraid of the term money. So, let me present money to them in a thrilling suspenseful entertaining form. We all like to learn from stories and fables because we have been taught that way since our childhood. So, why not learn the most important subject also in the form of a fable? And that is when I got the idea of writing a “finance fiction”. My book “Mad Money Journey” is a completely new refreshing book which combines finance and fiction in a manner never done before. “Mad Money Journey” combines the principles of money, finance and investments on one side and of life and its wisdom on the other side in an inspirational, motivational and intuitive manner bringing out the relationship between man and money, entertaining in a thrilling suspenseful manner, promising to be a page-turner, helping and guiding its readers on a new path towards self-discovery, a financially free life wherein everybody, rather than being slave to money is actually able to live a happy successful life achieving their highest self and fulfilling their very mission on coming to this planet. The readers taking the “Mad Money Journey” will permanently change their journey by putting themselves in the right path wherein they will be introduced to their own inner self and true path. I am confident that the attempt to write a finance fiction in the form of “Mad Money Journey” will be loved and cement its space in the mind, heart and soul of the readers.

  1. How much real life goes into a fiction writing? Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
A large part of fiction is actually real life. If an author is able to conceive or imagine something then it has either occurred in the past, happening somewhere in the present or will in most probabilities occur in the future. A writer is just making the invisible, visible. Writing is a combination of fact and fiction. Whatever genre a writer might be writing, he / she has to first get the facts correct of what he / she is writing and then the author has to convert the fact into fiction or into a presentable format wherein the reader is able to understand, read and connect with it.

  1. Have you really traveled across all the countries mentioned in Mad Money Journey?
Yes, I have travelled to all the countries mentioned in the book – some in the physical form while some others in the imaginative form. Writers are basically those breed of people who convert fact into fiction and many times fiction brings out important facts. So, its not necessary for the writer to always visit all the countries, places, locations etc described in the book. The thoughts of a writer are wild while their imagination is able to capture the entire world in a few words.

For me it was important to ensure that the reader travels to all the destinations mentioned in the book, in his mind, heart and soul. The reader had to connect with the various international and incredibly different characters from various backgrounds, professionals and personalities and live with them in their house, surrounded by their place, eat their food, exist in their culture and relate to their lives. Than only the journey of the reader would be complete and would feel like a real “Mad Money Journey”.

  1. Mehrab could you give us some tips regarding finances.
Tips are for waiters and not for persons managing their finances or investments.

The only thing certain about finance or money is that it is uncertain. There is a need to unravel the mysterious behaviour of money and reveal its deepest secret rules. The poor work for a living, the middle class get into debt and keep working for money while the rich make their and other people’s money work for themselves. We need to learn to make our as well as other people’s money work for us. When we achieve financial independence, we can live a personal debt-free life, enjoy our retirement, spend without feeling guilty and leave our legacy. Someone needs to make people retire from their work as their money starts working for them.

The basic advice which I would like to give everyone would be know the best sources and methods of earning money, protect their money from the ‘legal financial predators’, budget and pay yourself first, know difference between mere saving and proper investing and how savers are losers in today’s fast changing world of currency, when to avoid spending and how to ‘spend to riches’, the importance of asset allocation in the investment process, the power of positive leverage and how it can either multiply or destroy wealth, not to confuse insurance with investments, recognize the rules of money and avoid the common financial mistakes which individuals are prone to.

  1. Please tell us something about your childhood.
My childhood was a very simple one. It was like any other child. However, I had a lot of inquisitiveness about various things around me. I always wanted to question and learn lot of the conventional wisdom. I also had an urge of converting complex facts into simple interesting things and then sharing it with others.

As a child, I always dreamt of a career which will help make an impact to this world, help others realize their higher self, show them how small a life they are living when they are born for greatness, remove the hurdles between man and his dreams, make everyone realize their true self potential and encourage them to answer their soul calling. I was not knowing what it will be then. But I have realized it now. It will be my “Mad Money Journey” which will permanently elevate the journey of all mortal souls.

  1. How much time do you devote for writing? Give us some tips as to how working professionals should take out time for writing?
When we like something, when we love what we do, it becomes a method of expression of the inner feelings and the thoughts of our soul and it then becomes the very essence of our existence. We don’t look at time then, we just exist in space.

I never plan or schedule my writing. How can someone plan or schedule the inner thoughts of the soul? Ideas flow in my mind, writing moves in my veins, I just need a pen and paper or should I say a computer or laptop to sit and write. My only advice to working professionals who want to write would be to just express your souls and be in love with what you write.

  1. What would be your advice to budding writers?
The top four things which I take care while writing are - being honest to God, being honest to myself, being honest to humanity and being honest to the universe.

The biggest challenge which I have faced is my ownself and how to overcome my own shortcomings and the problems which I might have myself inadvertently created for my ownself. And I feel that is the challenge which most of us actually face – we can win the whole world if we are able to win over our ownself.

I started writing when something within me told me that having some knowledge, perspective or vision and not sharing that with others is selfish. So I thought of sharing my ideas with the world. The purpose of writing is to connect with everyone and make this world a more better place to live. The need to make a positive difference to this world should keep all writers motivated towards their work.

  1. How was your experience of finding a publisher?
If we read the story of many all time bestselling authors than they have a interesting story to tell about how they struggled around finding their first publisher, how they got rejected again and again, how they might have self-published and such fascinating and intriguing stories on which itself a book can be written. However, I don’t have any such exciting story to tell. Contrary to the majority of writers, my experience with finding a publisher was pretty easy. Infact, I was spoilt for choice as I had more than one publisher eager and ready to publish my book. But, finding a publisher is always easy, the real challenge is to find a reader who loves and appreciates our work.

  1. These are the days of aggressive book marketing. Books have to be promoted. Your take on this?
When one is writing then he / she has to just concentrate on writing. The author has to be pure and honest to one’s ownself and write what he / she actually believes in. Once the manuscript is ready then let the editor do their work with full independence. The editor is the first person who is reading the manuscript and brings a whole new perspective and thought process to it. Don’t unnecessarily interfere with the editor’s work. After that the copyediting, book title, cover design, production and many other items go into it. Once the book is ready then that is your final product. Now, we have to go all out in creating awareness, branding, publicity and marketing of the book. A writer writes because he / she wants the world to know of his / her idea. Wants to connect with the world, wants the world to read his / her work and that can happen only when the book actually sells. So, if writing a book is a project then I would say that it has two components – the first being the concept, writing, editing, title, designing, production etc. and the second being branding, publicity, marketing and sales. Without the first one being good there is no hope for the book to succeed but just because the first part is good does not automatically mean that the book will succeed unless the second part is put in place.

  1. Tell us about your future projects.
I would always like to connect with other people. Books is the primary medium but there are others also like talks and speeches, TV and Radio shows, press and media as wells as movies. I myself learn while connecting with people. And connecting with people helps me to understand humans better and then produce want is the real need. And I want to connect with the masses. That is why I write articles in press, appear on various TV and radio shows and now books. However, after a certain point books have a limit of penetration since there are some people who would simply never want to read. Hence, to connect with those people I am exploring other mediums like movies and TV shows. I am in talk with certain people for converting my book “Mad Money Journey” into a movie and expect to talk with more people for exploring the same idea. I am also planning to do a TV show on money and finance which will be very different from the rest. It will be a thrilling yet emotional show which will explore and connect people with their dreams and show them how money and finance is preventing them from achieving their highest self in life. The show will not just teach to earn money, it will help to fulfill dreams.

As far as my next book is concerned, I have not yet decided on what would be my next book but it might be something which will further delve into the relationship between man, money, dreams, relationships and love and the interconnection between all of them. It will further explore and investigate into the life of various characters who are going through some kind of mental, physical, emotional or psychological struggle because of money. Take the example of a housewife. She might be educated, reasonably rich, having a loving family – husband, children, in laws but might feel attracted to a neighborhood man who is financially more successful than her husband. This physical attraction because of money might be draining her emotionally and psychologically. What is the solution for her? I would like to dig deeper and deeper into such struggles which we humans face in our daily life because of the interplay between man, money and our inner feelings and dreams.

You can read the review of Mad Money Journey here

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