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When She Smiled

Ritoban Chakrabarti is an author, entrepreneur, online marketer, and avid traveller. He has finished writing his first fiction novel, titled "When She Smiled" and we have conducted a short interview with him.

What inspired you to write your first fiction novel ''When She Smiled''? Who is 'she’?
About eight months ago, I picked up JD Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and read it in a few hours. It was a very simple story driven around one teenage guy and how a few days changed his perception about life.

We have all had such moments. I’ve had mine for sure. There was a story that needed to be written. After reading that book, I had an epiphany.

I reflected on the choices I made as a teenager and how they influenced my future. My novel is about a fifteen year old guy who had no clue how falling in love would forever change his life. ‘She’ is the girl he falls in love with. Her name is Akanksha. The entire story is set in Shimla, which is a beautiful hill station in India.

What is your favourite quote? What does it mean to you?
There’s this quote I read in a Reader’s Digest edition over a decade ago that stayed with me all these years.

"Look towards the sun, and your shadows will fall behind you."

I have always believed in leading an ambitious life, because a life of purpose is a life worth living. I have a dream-board with images representing all the things I want to achieve in this life. From getting married to the love of my life, to publishing a novel, to owning a beach house. When you have high goals to look forward to every day, it gives meaning to your actions and you strive little by little every day to achieve those goals.

We all go through hardships and make the best of whatever little time we have on this planet. I believe this quote means that if you work towards achieving big things, then all the negativity and the noise fades away. The unfortunate truth is that the world is full of people who are jealous of you and pass on their frustrations and negative energies onto you. All of that renders meaningless when you set yourself big goals to work on.

What is the one ingredient that was very critical in part of your entrepreneurial journey?
Happiness. I always approach my staff and company as a close knit family. The people I hire are the ones who I know will gel with the company culture.

The work we do is fun and driven around helping others achieve success. It has been an amazing five year journey. I still remember working late nights during college while my friends were out partying. I guess it helped shape me and the way I do business.

I’ve always maintained a sync between my personal passions and the work I do. I love the work I do because it’s also my passion. While others simply consider work as ‘work’. I consider my work ‘happiness’.

How do you contain excitement? Which strategies works best to keep your focus?
Its really difficult to keep focus especially when your mind is a nest of ideas. Ideas keep propping in my head on a daily basis and sometimes it gets difficult to focus on the tasks at hand, because the new shiny idea tingling in my brain overtakes the responsibilities of my ongoing projects. The way I deal with the excitement of a new idea, is by noting down every single idea I ever have. I keep looking at the idea diary for inspiration whenever I’m feeling down or demotivated. I let my ideas speak to me. If an idea keeps coming to me again and again, and IF I notice I have free time to work on that idea, only then do I begin to pursue it.

There’s no point pursuing every single idea you have because if you do, you’ll get nothing done properly. Focusing on your strengths is very important, not only in business, but also in your personal life.

Writing the novel has been on my mind for a while now, but only after I finished some of my projects, did I get some free time to contemplate and start work on the first draft.

What is more challenging? Writing a novel or starting a new business?
In a way, writing a novel is very similar to starting a new business. In my company, we have launched several products. Every single one of them is like a new business in its own right because you have to dedicate resources, personnel, time, and effort into each product. Not only these two things, but I believe EVERYTHING you do in your life follows the same basic principles.
If you have a new baby in the family. If you shift to a new city. If you fall in love and get married. If you want to lose weight.

To write the novel:
I had to leave all the distractions and outside chatter.
I had to focus on the task at hand.
It felt extremely difficult at times and I almost gave up on many occasions.
It took a lot of time and patience.

On some days, after a nice long writing session, I felt a sense of achievement.
Finishing the first draft was just the beginning. That’s when the drama of editors, publishers, marketing, and media begins.

If you think about it, everything you do in life is very similar to writing a book.
If you’re interested in getting a copy, you may sign up on
Its releasing in digital and print on February 2015.
When She Smiled Reviewed by JaamZIN on 9:55:00 AM Rating: 5
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