In Conversation with Ravi Valluri

Ravi Valluri

About Ravi Valluri

RAVI VALLURI is presently working as CEO, Chhattisgarh East Railway Limited and Chhattisgarh East-West Railway Limited. He was an officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service. He has also served in Mil Rail (Army Headquarters), where he was decorated with the Chief of Army Staff award.
Born in Kanpur and brought up in Delhi, he was educated at St. Xavier’s School, Delhi. He completed his B. Com (Honours) from Hindu College, Delhi University and did his Master’s in Business Economics from Delhi University. Subsequently he was sponsored by the Ministry of Railways for the National Management Programme (Executive MBA) from Management Development Institute, Gurugram.
He is the author of fiction and non-fiction work – The Matter of the Mind, Make the Mind Mt. Kailasa, The Infinite Mind (co-authored with Ankush Garg), NaMo 303 Words to Victory, Indian Stories: Images & Thoughts, Heartbreak at Coffee Shop An Array of Tales, Divine Whispers 365 Quotes of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Magic of the Mind, A Tale of Parallels, A Quote A Day Inspiration 2022, Art of War to Art of Living and A Story of Faith and Miracles. His latest collection of short stories Bombay Review and Other Stories was released in December 2023.Ravi Valluri, along with his wife Lakshmi Valluri has curated a bi-lingual collection of short stories titled Festivals: A Ray of Hope.
Many of his books were unveiled by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. His first book The Matter of the Mind has been translated into Telugu and is available under the title Manomoolamidham and Magic of the Mind has been translated into Tamil under the same title. His works of fiction, Heartbreak at Coffee Shop An Array of Tales and Art of War to Art of Living have been translated into Hindi and NaMo 303 Word to Victory has been translated into Kannada. Divine Whispers 365 Quotes of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been converted into an audio book and is available at audible.com.
He is also a faculty of the Art of Living and conducts the Happiness Programme, yoga and meditation sessions of the Art of Living, besides helping counsel addicts and undertaking courses for those dependant on alcohol and drugs.
He has had a penchant for theatre, music, public speaking and writing since his school days and continues to fuel these interests. He has contributed extensively to the Free Press Journal, SakshiPost and Life Positive E-magazine. Currently his articles appear in The Pioneer e-paper in The First Column. He along with his wife have recently launched a website called Rustleofwords.in. Ravi Valluri has been interviewed by Doordarshan National, Doordarshan Uttar Pradesh and Doordarshan Gorakhpur apart from appearing on Radio FM, Secunderabad and Rainbow FM, Bareilly.

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

Ravi Valluri: My life has been full of vicissitudes. Life is never hunky dory. I have experienced exceptional and extraordinary moments but at the same time enfeebling and very low periods too.

Writing this work during the virulent period of Novel Corona virus was a therapeutic exercise to overcome the tragic bereavement of my parents. In several ways it has been an ode to my parents.
There are fifty articles in the book which explores various contours of the human mind. It is an attempt to extricate oneself from cesspool of negativity and alcohol addiction by practicing yoga, pranayama, unique rhythmic breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya, meditation, reading uplifting literature among others. This book was also translated into Tamil.
The trajectory of my life was highly productive in terms of my professional career as I could man significant posts on Indian Railways.
It was at Prayagraj that we were involved in organizing the Kumbh Mela in the year 2019. When Covid -19 struck, our team was involved in transportation of humongous number of migrant labour who were desperate to reach the safe sanctuary of their homes.
This gigantic task was executed with precision and great aplomb by the railways. The successful completion of the exercise was extremely fulfilling for me and my team.
Along with my professional work, I forayed extensively into writing. Three new books were published at that time and two earlier works were translated into other languages. I also contributed stories and articles to a couple of anthologies.
During the lockdown and otherwise, as a faculty of the Art of Living, I conducted online breath and meditation courses, along with other teachers. Conducting such courses has always a richly rewarding experience. Rendering seva, conducting courses, strengthens an individual from within and without.
However during this period, I lost my parents. My father left us in 2019, after periods of prolonged hospitalization on account of old age-related ailments. My mother departed in 2021 after she contracted the novel Corona virus. In fact, both my mother and I contracted the lethal virus.
Her sudden and totally unexpected demise was a shattering blow, from which one is still to recover completely.
The loss of one’s parents at any age, is a shattering experience. It is as though the roof over one’s head is unexpectedly blown-off. Performing the last rites of my mother wearing the PPE suit has had a debilitating impact on my mind.
Yes, people do say that my parents attained nirvana as they departed for their next life in the city of Sangam, Prayagraj; that they would surely be in the vaikuntha (as I penned these words, I could feel a palpable sense of silence).
But then nothing is permanent in life. It is our thoughts which shape our destiny and our life.
Hence, it is the mind which is an extremely powerful a turbo reactor. The mind is magical. It is how we can conjure the magic that metamorphoses our lives. If the mind is charged, the prana levels are high and one emerges victorious. However, if it clouded with negative thoughts, we land blindfolded into a precipice.
As we moved ahead in life, human kind has learnt the hard way that one has to necessarily maintain good mental and physical health.
We can do it. Anyone can. But again, it is the human mind which can be a stumbling block or an elevator.
In this context, it would be worthwhile and efficacious to read what Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has written on Immortality.

The Lord of Death gave two instructions to Nachiketa-

To become a master of the senses, one needs self-effort.

Grace is needed along with self-effort.

Since we are a combination of (a) form—the body and (b) the formless—the mind, we need two set of rules to handle them. The body needs exercise to strengthen it. It works only with effort. Mental strength grows by effortlessness—through deep contemplation and relaxation.
Gurudev insists that this discrimination is essential.

LiFT: Why you chose this title?

Ravi Valluri: The focus was on the book was on the human mind. How we face upheaveals, high points and low points. The mind needs to be robust to overcome various misadventures in life, thus I zeroed on this title ” Magic of the Mind”.

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

Ravi Valluri: As I a student in school and college, I was deeply involved into dramatics and music theatre workshops. I was fortunate to learn the craft under the tutelage of eminent people like Barry John and Param Vir. Simultaneously I began reading biographies, autobiographies and our epics and dabbled into amateur writing.
Later in life, when I came out of the cesspool of alcoholism through Art of Living, unique breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya and grace of Gurudev, I started to pen my works for Life Positive-E Magazine, Free Press Journal, Sakshi Post and currently for The Pioneer. Seeing my writing Gurudev blessed me to write more and prophetically said,” You keep writing, soon your books would be published.” Thus on Navaratri Day Gurudev unveiled my maiden book “The Matter of the Mind”. I began writing fiction at the goading of my son. All my works have been edited by my wife Lakshmi Valluri whose Instagram handle is @red_pencil_editor.

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

Ravi Valluri: 1) To emerge as a best-selling author of the country.
2) Friends and colleagues wish me luck that I win the Booker Prize.
3) I hope to convert my books into movies and web series.
4) Mentor aspiring authors by holding regular workshops in India and overseas.
5) Inspire people to overcome addictions by reading my works and undergo courses of the Art of Living.
6) My wife and I have launched a website called www.rustleofwords.in. We accept entries in English for short stories, tales, micro tales, articles, poetry, art wok quotes at rustleofwords@gmail.com. We hope to make this website an internationally renowned one.
7) I wish to continue writing and seeing my works being appreciated through quality work. And fondly make efforts to make them hit the big screen.
8) I would like to be a Rajya Sabha member.

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

Ravi Valluri: Marketing is essential for books to reach a wide audience. I have had the fortune to sell my books in railways, Art of Living and through social media. But to make it big , it is essential books reach stores where literary agents and publishers play a pivotal role.
Holding book talks, winning awards, social media, instagram interviews help in providing necessary exposure. I was fortunate to be interviewed by Doordarshan, FM Radio, AIR among others.
A good book will catch the attention of a reader. Quality of the book is equally important, mere marketing will not do. A good book will always sell. For it to reach a wider audience marketing is essential. So in short a combination of good quality and effective marketing.

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

Ravi Valluri: 1) My books in the genre of non -fiction are based on Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Sudarshan Kriya and reach out to the community of Art of Living and those interested in this area.
2) Also I focus on those with weak minds or suffering from alcoholism and drug addictions.
3) Spread a message of hope.
4) My writings on Indian Railways, travels, places can help to kindle interest among people to see several places in India.
5) Writings on logistics are aimed at learning and unlearning the process of transportation in India.

LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?

Ravi Valluri: I retired from the Indian Railways and am currently the CEO of Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd and Chhattisgarh East West Railway Ltd. This a SPV which is constructing an exclusive rail coal corridor to transport coal.
Besides I am a faculty of Art of Living, conduct Art of Living pogrammes, counsel alcoholics and drug addicts.
I also attend various book talks.

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

Ravi Valluri: Keep reading, Keep writing, Observing people, watch web shows to get some fresh ideas.

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

Ravi Valluri: Yes. Without giving away any spoilers, the book is some kind of a spiritual fiction based on an enlightened soul of the past and how in present times some seekers navigate his sites and what happens to them.

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

Ravi Valluri: 1) Keep reading daily.
2) Keep writing atleast 500 words daily.
3) Maintain 3 diaries- a) to note down new words to build you vocabulary b) note down quotations c) Note down rough ideas about the work.
4) Attempt translations and write book revies which will help in both reading and writing.
5) Write for various prompts.

Click here to order Ravi Valluri’s Book – Magic of The Mind

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