Kamlesh Thakur is the author of A Middle Class Dream; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is A Middle Class Dream about?
A: AMCD (A Middle Class Dream) is a story of little boy who was born in India, discovering and nurturing his uniqueness, finding his purpose in life who challenges and breaks through numerous rhymes, reasons and sometimes superstitious beliefs of a highly discriminatory society filled with inequality in every walk of life.
It provides a comprehensive perspective of the many highly diverse cultures that coexist in the world’s largest democracy. It highlights the struggles this kid had to go through, the obstacles he had to overcome before becoming successful. It highlights the feeling of satisfaction in sharing the tools of success discovered, the skills and values learned so others may benefit and apply it in their own ways to replicate this process of success.
The message of AMCD is “no matter who you are, where you come from, or where you’ve been – as long as you have a vision of your life, a purpose to strive for, you will achieve anything you desire and some more”
Q: What caste does Krish belong to and where is that caste raked in the social structure?
A: Krish is a blue blooded “Rajput” – the warrior caste (also known as the Kshatriyas). Ancestors of this caste were royalty (kings & queens) that have fought numerous historic wars. The Hindu scriptures have all documented Lord Rama as a Kshatriya.
After the British (East India Company) rule for decades many palaces, their history and heritage were forfeited under the doctrine of lapse policy. Since independence the popularity and prominence of this caste diminished and is today one of the many hundreds of caste’s.
Q: What is the overall theme of the book?
A: Victory in any endeavor of life belongs to those that believe in it the most, that believe in it the longest. We have to be the change we want to see, and we already have everything we need. So, we need to do what we can, wherever we are with whatever we have, because what we have is indeed plenty. And oh, be content, but never be satisfied.
Q: What makes Krish worth reading about?
A: If you want to experience extreme cultural diversity (cultural, educational, customs etc.) as if you were there in flesh – you would find this to be a worthy read.
Q: What do you think motivates the Sweetie character?
A: This is one character that is not motivated by anything of her own. If anything came close, it was the need to conform to societies whims and fancies, dictates. This included parents, siblings and oh, how can I forget – the dreaded CASTE barrier. Outer suggestions ruled and shaped her life, her destiny was written by others – as is for many million women (and men).
Changes are taking place, but at a snail’s pace, and for a country with 1.4 billion people, how quick will the changes take place is anybody’s guess.
Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing (again you do not have to name your employer, just the industry)?
A: I am a Software Program Manager, and have worked for some of the biggest technology brand names in the business. I enjoy what I do in my day job as well. In the first 10 years of my job career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and experience numerous places, cultures and cuisine. I love interacting with people from all over the world. Through my interactions I found that though we’re different in how we look, our basic human needs, wants, desires are more of less the same.
Our perspectives are different, and that partially became the reason for me to look inside of me, to discover what I had learned, and how I could share that with the world.
Q: What is the biggest misconception Americans have about India?
A: This is an interesting question. There are a few that I’m aware of. First, it’s not all snake charmers and elephants (though that’s a small part of life in certain pockets of the country)
Everyone is Poor: This is one of the biggest & common myth. Just look at the amount of money spent at any Indian wedding and it’ll change this perspective. It’s one of the richest countries on earth (still is). The issue there is “in-equal distribution of wealth”. For this reason, you’ll find some of the world’s richest and the poorest of poor live next to each other in the same city (Mumbai is a classic example of it).
Very recently, a temple vault was opened which revealed tons of solid / pure gold. Its worth was estimated to be in billions of dollars. That was just 1, there are many more vaults in just 1 city. It was estimated (per local news) that two other vaults if opened will make at least $ 1 Trillion available in gold.
There are dozens more spread throughout the country – kept secret. You do the math (it’s in trillions of dollars – that’s certain). Check this link out.
Indians don’t speak “Indian” – There are about 2500 or more languages (not dialects, but languages), none of them are called “Indian”. That said, Hindi, English are the most commonly spoken throughout the country.
Everyone is Hindu – Though the vast majority of the population is Hindu, minorities, such as Christians, Jain, Buddhist, Muslims, Sikh, Zoroastrianism make up for more than 20% of the country’s population.
Everyone is Vegetarian – Untrue, though roughly 50% of the people are vegetarians, the rest are not.
Q: Who are some of your writing influences?
A: Brendon Burchard is one of my favorite writers. I also like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins and Wallace Wattles
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: Ballroom Dancing of Course. When I feel like I’m experiencing a block, I temporarily off the brain, and dance Tango / Waltz or Roomba routine. The music and dance rhythm opens up my neuro-pathways almost immediately or within the next day or so, that most definitely helps me get past the writers’ block.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: During my spare / free time, I am working on a project for empowering women (it’s called the V2 project).
I also speak to groups (women’s empowerment groups in Asia) for a good cause, groups & institutions related to Leptospirosis (I’ve had that dang thing twice as a teenager). I do this outside of my day job, during holidays / vacations and sometimes weekends.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.