Chet Kamal Parkash, a native of Jammu and Kashmir, is currently based in Ahmedabad as a Senior Technical Writer with Scanpoint Geomatics Ltd. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Applications from the University of Pune and has been writing for IT companies for over ten years now.
His passion for writing eventually inspired him to write this book. A man of varied interests, he also enjoys gardening, jogging, photography, blogging, travelling, reading, and spending time in nature. He is of the strong opinion that society should support people in getting the right education and does his bit by counselling students on their career options and choices.
TBE: Can you tell us a bit about your book ‘The Waiting Lounge’ and what inspired you to write it?
Chet Kamal Parkash: The waiting Lounge is the story of a young boy, Akash, who is visionary about his life at an early age. He is on a journey to fulfil all his dreams & aspirations, achieve goals of his life, and wish to carve his name among successful people in life.
During the journey of his life, he has so much to explore but a tragedy changes a lot in his life. He is left to live with ups and downs, hope and despair, finding himself lost between joy and sorrows.
The story is not just a simple college life journey or a romance but tells a lot about self-discovery of a person in life. It narrates hope, courage, determination; loss of a loved one, grief, affirmations, joy, fun, life lessons, inspiration, and finding love again.
Ever since my childhood, I heard my father discussing about life or people who have been great leaders or the writers, especially those who had the power to change the world through words. That was the starting point which triggered my interest in writing. I would follow the pattern of my dad, starting his day with newspaper and cutting out leaflet for what is important to him. I have drawn this inspiration to write from my dad and later grew up learning meeting people on the way. Writing satiates my soul and I can’t live without it.
TBE: Did you have any goals for this book when you wrote it? Any particular theme you want to explore?
Chet Kamal Parkash: My college life has been eventful and people knew me for my writing. I was chosen Mr. Fresher during my MCA course; it was all because of the event of the day and for the recitation of my poems. People loved it so much, and during my final year in college my classmates who knew me best for ‘what I decide, I do’ wanted me to write a book.
Initially, all because of such reasons it was a dream being cultivated and I finally achieved it. My biggest goal in life is to reform the education sector for reasons more than one.
TBE: In ‘The Waiting Lounge’, you write about some heavy themes—things that many of your readers have probably never experienced—yet it’s very easy to identify with your characters. How do you make them so relatable?
Chet Kamal Parkash: When an author outlines a story, he first sets the characters so that they fit well in their roles. It gives readers the base of the story, and the rest of the things are about weaving the story around those characters.
I believe that as an author we have a chance to say it all, only once. It is all about picking up the things from the grassroots level. The meaning of happiness, love, emotions, feelings, pain, expectations all remains grounded and thus becomes relatable. After all, at the end of the day we all are under the same sky.
TBE: The book jumps in time—was it hard to write Akash’s pre and post-tragedy?
Chet Kamal Parkash: We draw inspiration from the things happening around and the experiences of our lives. I wanted to make sure that people should easily differentiate between eventful life of Akash before the tragedy and how an incident can change the entire life of a person like Akash as depicted in the story.
Beautiful things take time to grow same like we see a bamboo tree growing. You nurture it for years and it doesn’t break through. After five years, once it breaks through the ground, it will grow 90 feet tall in just five weeks!
It was never difficult writing the pre and post-tragedy life. I devoted sufficient time to story and collected all the experiences one can go through in the course of life. I did the same like nurturing a bamboo tree and my work got deeply acknowledged with time.
TBE: Why or how do you think stories are able to create that kind of reaction in people, where they touch something viscerally inside of us that relates to our own past?
Chet Kamal Parkash: Life teaches us all. We all progress through different stages of life as depicted in the story, the moments and incidents could be different for people but lessons are the same. A person going through the current circumstances in life either relates it to past or the present.
I knew that I covered even peculiar things about happenings in life. As an author I believe that we all learn from experiences in life. It is only authors who can narrate well and express others through them or with their stories.
I have added a few life lessons as well in the story; it focuses on what we actually learnt in our real life.
TBE: What’s more important: characters or plot? What triggers your story ideas: a character, a setting, plot or dialogue?
Chet Kamal Parkash: The answer to this question wouldn’t be fair if I focus only on one aspect and leave another. Every such element that becomes part of the story needs highlight and should be covered as per necessary emphasis needed in the story. At one point when creating characters, choosing a set, and plot of the story becomes significant, at the same time dialogues expresses proximity to the characters.
I would like to tell my readers that I keep my diary handy during my travel time. During my train journeys, I utilized most of my time in drafting the things related to this book and equally I could do waiting at the airport lounges.
I believe that at some point of time in life, wait should be luxury and not the waste of time. I know my readers and that’s my specialty, so is the title ‘The Waiting Lounge’.
TBE: When you were writing in the early days, were there other writers you consciously modelled your work on, writers you cherished?
Chet Kamal Parkash: I always believe that if you are an author, you have the freedom to express the things from the grassroots level in terms of expressing your thoughts, emotions, and the story.
In the early days of writing when the manuscript was just a draft without even titles of the chapters, I wanted to make sure to depict the real moments and incidents readers should relate to like pre-tragedy life of the character Akash.
At the same time I wanted to inflict the pain with intense feelings, expectations, and the need of worldly-concern people in the moments of grief like any person would expect as depicted in Akash’s character post-tragedy.
The Author Preeti Shenoy is well known for such placements, I appreciate her, she is my idol in life and I cherish her writing style. I leave it to the readers to justify the same.
TBE: Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?
Chet Kamal Parkash: For a first time author, a few things of course come up surprising to you. But when your work is being acknowledged by an esteemed publisher, the process itself becomes easy step by step with guided approach and soon the things start falling in its right place.
TBE: How was your experience with Leadstart publishing?
Chet Kamal Parkash: Leadstart is an esteemed publisher and they are fair with everyone, be it a new author or an experienced one.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Chet Kamal Parkash: I am currently working upon my next novel with working title ‘The White Collar Revolution’. A lot can be done by white-collared professionals that contribute to the goodwill of the society. There are a few things I touched upon in my book ‘The Waiting Lounge’ but to elaborate on this has been beyond the scope of the book.
I am sure all that would be covered and will cause notable ripple effect in the lives of people.