So what’s all this about?

“What drove you to do this and what’s it about?”

I had a simpler answer the first time I was asked that question in the summer of 2009. It wasn’t a sales pitch and neither was it an explanation. All it was, was an honest acknowledgement.

“Boredom,” I’d say. And then I’d shrug my shoulders.

What followed from the other person was a perplexed glare. The kind that said, “you don’t quit your job because of boredom. Stop being coy and let us in on the plan.”

That was the first time that I’d realised that there existed a look that could unnerve me into offering coherent logic behind my actions. I’d always believed I was flaky – six months at a time is how I took life; but could I have gone that far to not have a plan at all?

So I’d fumble through the warehouse that is my brain and conjure something or the other that would satiate the questioner. Of course, each answer was tailored to suit the taste of the audience.

“Oh, I needed to understand the country. Really get what it means.”

“It was one big holiday, really. Just needed the rush of an adventure in life.”

“Someone needed to offer something deeper and real than the superficial stuff that the mainstream media was offering during the elections. It’s about making a difference and highlighting realities.”

“Well, perhaps this was just me being a masochist and engaging in self-flagellation by traveling ceaselessly and living in horrid rooms.”

“It was a thought out exercise. I now plan to make this into a book.”

To be honest, I don’t think any of the above were true-at least not alone in themselves.

However, what stuck was the last thought. And when that last thought became a goal, is rather difficult to pinpoint. Before I knew it, time was whizzing by. Rejections came aplenty as did appreciation. And then came the deal.

Before I knew it, I was signing on the dotted line. And once again the same old question began to raise it’s head. Each time I answered it, I gulped down the uneasy lump in my throat.

“Mate, you can’t be that clueless. You need a proper sales pitch. You’re not just writing for the heck of it now. This thing needs to sell. Think like a marketeer,” the voices in my head rambled on.

So each time I was asked that question, I sat up straight, my fingers wrapped around a pint of beer (there’s nothing like a good beer 🙂 ), and offered convoluted replies, until I discovered the most important trick of marketing.

For all the jargon and spin in the world, there’s no greater sales pitch than the truth.

So now as I sat in the confines of a pub, selling my product to potential and skeptical customers, they asked: “what’s the book about and what drove you to do this? More importantly, why should we buy it?”

I told them the only thing I could, and as honestly as my inebriated state permitted me to.

“It’s a take on Indian society and politics. It’s not an academic tome, though. Rather, it’s an opportunity for you to traverse its landscape without undergoing the drudgery of the journey. Experience it first-hand, while I perform the role of a guide, directing you to the places that you perhaps wouldn’t venture into as a tourist. It has something for everyone: the political enthusiast, the eager traveler, the thrill-seeking youngster and the noble philanthropist.”

“In the end, all that I can hope is that just like me you emerge with a few answers about the mystery that is India. But more importantly, I hope that as you turn the last page, it leaves you with far more questions – the answers to which you and I can continue to seek…”


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

NewsX reviews Voterfiles

Voterfiles: Into the Soul of a Nation

Excerpts of Review by Ajatshatru Singh

Manoj Kewalramani’s first foray into writing is much like the country he sets out to understand – splintered, with passages of genuine pathos and illumination shining through the cracks of heavy prose.

As the travelogue jump-cuts across territories, troubles, tribulations and train journeys, what remain with the reader are the author’s personal experiences.

These cover an emotional gamut from understated humour to sheer disgust mirroring the changing soulscape of a subcontinent that fascinates as much as it repels. It’s in these moments of personal insights that Voterfiles really shines.

To read the full review, visit:

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Appearance on NewsX

As the elections ended in 2009, I was offered the opportunity to share some of my experiences with the viewers of NewsX.

Through the polls, the network had created a virtual election platform. The exercise had resulted in three winning parties, voted by the people. The winners were then invited for a panel discussion.

Hope you enjoy the show…

1 Comment

Filed under On The Tube

CNN-IBN Covers Voterfiles

As I raced through India in 2009, during a brief stopover in Mumbai, journalists from CNN-IBN expressed their interest in sharing my journey with their viewers.

Needless to say, I was more than glad to oblige.

Follow the link below to watch the story.

Leave a comment

Filed under On The Tube


Dear Readers,

Firstly, I’d like to apologize for the hiatus.

Last year, I had the pleasure of traveling through India during the general election and bring to you the uniquely chaotic experience that our democracy is.

As rewarding as that was in itself, I am thrilled to inform you that owing to the overwhelming reader response, constant encouragement of those closest to me, and a keen publisher, the articles have been compiled together in the form of a book.

Voterfiles: A Political Travelogue is now available in bookstores across India and can also be ordered online. You can find the details regarding the same on this site.

Look forward to your views and reviews, and hope that we can continue to use this space to share stories about India – what we do well and what we can do better.

Manoj Kewalramani

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized