In Conversation with Kalpesh Desai

Kalpesh Desai

About Kalpesh Desai

Kalpesh Desai is an author known for his evocative storytelling and deep exploration of human emotions. He wrote the book “Jasmines in Her Hair,” which has been noted for its poetic journey through themes of love, loss, and healing.

He is also a serial technology entrepreneur with two successful exits. Recognized for his strategic insights in the business world, he was featured in an INSEAD case study highlighting his go-to-market strategy that led to 3i Infotech’s organic growth. Currently, he serves as the President & CEO of Agile Financial Technologies, a software product company servicing the insurance and investment management sectors with a customer footprint in over 30 countries.

He is an advisor to the board of a large hypermarket chain, and an independent director at a regulated investment bank. In addition to this, he mentors startups when time permits. He is an invitee-mentor at Eureka-GCC, Asia’s largest business plan competition, and an initiative between Gulf Islamic Investments (one of the largest investment funds in the GCC region) and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (one of the world’s leading technology institutions).

His upcoming books, “Anywhere but Here” and “The Pattern Principle,” are anticipated to be released this year.

Kalpesh has a presence on Instagram where he shares his thoughts and works. His literary contributions have garnered a following of readers who appreciate his ability to capture the intricacies of human experiences.

LiFT: Tell us about your book, the journey of writing it and its content?

Kalpesh Desai: Having observed fractured relationships around me and witnessing individuals emerge from these situations to build new and successful connections, I recognized that there existed universal theme: healing. This healing process, I realized, hinges on cultivating gratitude towards both current and past partners, fostering a wholesome and nurturing environment.

I wanted to offer readers a mirror to their own experiences and provide them with hope and insight in a way that serves as both a companion and a guide through their journeys of love and loss. This is what led to the creation of “Jasmines in Her Hair.”

This book is written as a journey of discovery into what makes relationships work and last. It is divided into seven themes, allowing readers to find their own stories reflected in these verses as they see relationships progress from the throes of first love, through healing and self-discovery, and finally to acceptance.

LiFT: Why you chose this title?

Kalpesh Desai: The jasmine flower holds deep cultural significance in Asia. We adorn deities with these flowers, and women wear them as symbols of beauty and grace. Jasmine is also the national flower in several Asian countries. Hence, my choice of the title—“Jasmines in Her Hair”—honoring those relationships that have profoundly influenced my life.

LiFT: When did you realize that you want to be a writer and what’s your inspiration behind it?

Kalpesh Desai: I have developed a habit of writing down my thoughts and feelings as small notes for reflection. Composing these insights in rhyme helps me process my thoughts better and gain deeper understanding of various situations.

My journey into the world of language and literature began with my first crush—my 7th-grade literature teacher. She challenged me to write a poem each day, and in her class, we explored the works of literary giants like Shakespeare, Leigh Hunt, Rabindranath Tagore, Ruskin Bond, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, and many others. We dissected their words and debated their hidden meanings, which fueled my passion for literature.

I have been an avid reader since childhood, a passion my mother encouraged by rewarding good grades with new books and comics. My granduncle further broadened my literary horizons by gifting me subscriptions to The Reader’s Digest and the Russian magazine Sputnik.

Through these experiences, I have come to firmly believe that everything exists within language, and poetry is the most expressive medium of all.

LiFT: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line in the world of literature?

Kalpesh Desai: My primary focus will always be on the companies and businesses I am engaged with, and I do not have ambitions in the world of literature. However, I aim to share my insights and experiences through my writing to help others who may be facing similar situations that I have encountered or observed. By offering my perspectives, I hope to provide guidance, comfort, and a sense of connection to those navigating their own journeys.

My literary work is an extension of my desire to make a positive impact, not a shift in my professional aspirations.

LiFT: How much do you think marketing or quality of a book is necessary to promote a particular book and increase its readers?

Kalpesh Desai: I will address both these questions separately.

First off, the quality of one’s book is extremely important.

You are expecting someone to part with their money for your book, and their fundamental expectation is to receive value for money. As an author, we need to ensure that the print quality is very good. Next, we need to ensure that the book cover is professionally designed and is visually appealing. The design should match the book’s genre and attract your target audience. You want it the reader to display this book proudly on their shelves.

I recommend that every author hire a professional editor. This ensures that your book is free of spelling and grammatical errors and flows well. They will dissect your book and debone it till it is perfect. An avid reader is most likely someone who will spot these errors and if they spot more than a few, you are likely to end up with a poor impression and an even poorer review.

Show your readers that you value their experience and are grateful to them for spending their money on your book when they could have bought something else.

To address your second question on marketing, consider this: “If a beautiful flower blossoms in the forest and nobody knows of it nor can they smell its fragrance, did it truly exist?”

Think about Amazon, where over 2.5 million books are launched every year. For authors, especially those without the backing of a deep-pocketed traditional publisher, success hinges on a well-thought-out marketing and promotional plan. Publishing the book is the easiest part; the real challenge lies in getting it into the hands of your target audience. Therefore, it is crucial to actively promote and market your book through various channels. This includes engaging with book influencers, advertising, and leveraging your own social media presence. Without these efforts, your book, no matter how excellent, may remain unnoticed amidst the flurry of new book releases.

LiFT: What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?

Kalpesh Desai: I would like to convey the message that empathy and understanding are crucial for recognizing patterns that influence our behavior and relationships. By sharing my personal experiences and emotions, I hope to help others navigate their challenges. My goal is to be a source of inspiration and support, encouraging others as they progress on their own journeys. Through my writing, I strive to foster a sense of connection and provide guidance that can lead to personal growth and stronger, more meaningful relationships.

LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?

Kalpesh Desai: My primary focus remains on my business interests, with writing being a hobby that I love. I also enjoy reading and love spending quality time with my family in my spare time.

LiFT: What are the activities you resort to when you face a writer’s block?

Kalpesh Desai: My writer’s block typically occurs when I’m facing a particular situation at work or in life. It is a signal from my brain to pause writing, address the issue at hand, and then return to writing with a refreshed perspective. There is no deadline to meet whilst writing and you truly need to be in an inspired space rather than rushing through the task.

I find that outlining the flow of the book you are writing upfront motivates you to go on writing. I like to see it visually come together and that pushes me to complete what I am writing.

LiFT: Are you working on your next book? If yes, please tell us something about it.

Kalpesh Desai: “Jasmines in Her Hair” is actually the second book I have written, but the first to be published. My other work, “Anywhere but Here,” is a fusion of poetry and inspirational prose that resonates with entrepreneurs, aspiring leaders, and managers. Additionally, I am working on “The Pattern Principle,” a business book that employs a storytelling format to recount how a CEO identifies and addresses the root causes of process failures or changes within their organization.

LiFT: What are your suggestions to the budding writers/poets so that they could improve their writing skills?

Kalpesh Desai: First and foremost, I would advise writers and poets to read voraciously. Explore a variety of genres to understand different styles, tones, and writing techniques.

Make journaling a daily habit. This practice hones your writing skills and allows you to capture your thoughts and feelings from your experiences whilst they are fresh in your mind. Choose a different literary device each time you write to sharpen your writing skills. This will help you become more versatile and creative in your writing.

Embrace constructive criticism. Find someone who can provide honest feedback and help you improve your work, even if it means pointing out its flaws.

Click here to order Kalpesh Desai’s Book – Jasmines in Her Hair: Poetry for the Soul

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