Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 12/29/2020 1:21:54 PM Books and Authors

Author Interview: Megha Bajaj

Megha Bajaj is an award-winning author of several acclaimed books, and she has written over a thousand articles for internationally renowned magazines and newspapers. She also runs online writing and healing workshops for aspiring authors/seekers and is currently writing film scripts for prominent production houses. She has recently come out with the book “The Breakthrough”, which gives an account of 11 trailblazers and their journey and struggles until they achieved a breakthrough moment. In a candid chat with Chirdeep Malhotra, she talks about her latest book, her writing journey, and much more. Read On!

Please tell us more about Megha Bajaj as a person and writer.

I grew up as the youngest (also most susceptible and notorious, in the same breath) of a twenty-five member Marwari joint household at Nepeansea Road, Mumbai. Wondering was my middle name and I was always filled with questions.
I remember at the tender age of sixteen when I first had my heart broken – instead of crying or talking about it like most teens, I went to a bookstore, bought the book that pulled me (“Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsh) and read it in one sitting. I laughed, I cried and felt I had finally found so many answers to life. Today when I look back, I feel the hours invested in wondering, thinking, feeling, conversing with life – had a strong impact on me as a writer and a seeker.

Please tell us more about your book “The Breakthrough: 11 Trailblazers. One Movement.” Have you always been in love with stories?

I grew up on stories my dadima told. A frail lady, with no teeth and silver hair she was as simple, and innocent as one could be. But when she told stories, she came alive. She would speak of Gods and Goddesses. And every night I would dream of things she would tell stories about. She played a huge role in developing my imagination.
My books, especially my latest – “The Breakthrough”, published by Rupa Publications has been a revelation even to me in terms of storytelling. It tells the tales of eleven people from across India who began their life with nothing but grew into living role models and examples for many. I went and lived with each of these eleven people to know their story. Each of them felt they would be done with telling about their life in a couple of hours. Aha! They took close to eleven hours spread over two days! Writing their stories was an experience as I felt I was living with these incredible people and what is the most breath-taking is, readers getting their hands on the book tell me, “We feel like we are a part of the whole thing. It’s not a book, it’s a movie!”
Storytelling is an act of love. You have to be true to the story, to yourself and the reader. And when you do this – no matter what story you tell, and to whom, it feels personal to a reader. From Germany to Botswana – from Nainital to Kerala – people have shared that in the story of the eleven, each found themselves. They cried. They laughed. They got inspired.

How has “The Breakthrough” been a personal breakthrough?

“The Breakthrough” has been one of my most life-defining projects till date. It was a humongous project panning eleven people across cities – people who often do not even give a minute’s time to anyone. From them being excited about the book, to feeling so close to my vision – from being with them, to taking this book forward, it has been a journey of incredible love, laughter and learning.
Together, we have broken several records during the pandemic. For instance, since the book was ready in March 2020 and there was no way we could have a physical launch, we decided to have a digital launch. We wanted to aim sky high and decided 111,111 people from across the globe should attend this. We worked towards it with great zeal and wanted to gift breakthroughs to every reader and viewer. The result was phenomenal – our digital footprint was close to five million, and we had close to half a million attend it and get inspired by it. In three months since its launch 11,300 copies have been out in circulation which is another tremendous feat. In fact, it has ceased to remain a book – rather it has become a movement where educational institutes and corporates are signing up with us to take breakthrough and real-life learnings and inspiration to their world. As an author, I can’t help but feel deeply humbled for all the wonders getting created.

You have flourished and excelled in a creative field where other people mostly struggle to make a mark. What message would you like to give to every aspiring writer out there?

I love this question for many reasons. The first, it is deeply personal. My father is a brilliant engineer from IIT. My mother the first lawyer in her family. My sister an award-winning physiotherapist. So when I, as a petite, curly haired teenager told my father I wished to pursue Arts instead of Science, he said, “But beta – you are intelligent. Why would you do Arts?” As luck would have it, I nearly flunked Science in eleventh, shifted to Arts in twelfth, topped my college and the boards and my father was in tears when I won the Best Student award. It was the first stereotype breaking that happened.
The second was that writers don’t earn money. Though I always found greatest pleasure in writing I was always told that is a hobby. Career had to give you money. So many discouraged me but I think I had reached a point of no return. To cut a long journey short, last year, when I bought my Mercedez, I felt a sense of liberation. Second myth broken too.
My learning from my journey is this: when you feel happy doing something, you should develop your skill and do it very well. In fact, create such a niche for yourself that people have no option but to pay for your talent. Always give way beyond what the other is expecting – this builds love, trust and people happily recommend you to others. Today I have more writing opportunities from across the globe than I can handle and I know I have only begun.

Apart from being an author, you also create authors through a company called, ‘Wonder of Words (WoW)’. Please enlighten us about it.

About ten years ago, many aspiring authors started getting in touch and saying, “You write so well, can’t you teach us too?” On a whim one morning, I wrote a post on Facebook saying I was starting an online writing course and those interested could mail me. I forgot all about it but when I opened my mail that night, there were 36 mails! This made me realize the thirst in people to be able to express themselves and I wished to play a part, as writing was something I loved. I developed online workshops, but I did not realize it would grow into something much deeper and more beautiful. From authors to seekers, students to CEOs – WoWers from across countries are now enrolled and results we see are phenomenal. We have reached over 1 lakh students through the WoW books over the last five years.

What message would you like to give to our readers?

In the sixth standard my English teacher told me I would never learn English. I have written textbooks in English. In college my father told me to not take up writing – today he is the proudest of his bestselling author daughter. As a post graduate, writers told me that writing doesn’t pay – today I earn as much as any CEO of a mid-sized company would.
At various steps, many said you can’t. You shouldn’t. You mustn’t. Because, they didn’t. My message to you, dear readers is this: “Don’t let anyone but your heart, mind and soul tell you what is possible for you. If you have been given the idea, you have been given the power to achieve it. If the soul call is louder than all other noise, you will remain, unstoppable.”

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