“The encyclopedia was our version of the Wikipedia”

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Author of best selling Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future, Srijan Pal Singh pens down another marvel for children. This volume includes all about some of the cutting-edge technologies which will shape our tomorrow. Newscusp team got a chance to have a candid conversation with him about Reignited, Reignited 2 and a lot more!

When did the idea of writing Reignited 2 strike you?
Dr. Kalam and I wrote Reignited in 2015. During the process of writing, we realized that the future had infinite possibilities. While we could only take seven in Reignited, largely we always had this idea in our minds that someday there would be a sequel to this book. So, the idea of writing a sequel to Reignited was always there.

You have explained complicated scientific terminologies and process in a very child-friendly way. How do you do that?
Children are blessed with curious minds and this makes them the most honest readers. So, what happens is that their reaction to the book is entirely based on the content of the book rather than the name of the author.
While writing the book, I imagine myself in a room full of children conversing with them. Then, what I do is that I replace myself with the book. Essentially, the book needs to be in conversation with the readers throughout. Also, one needs to understand that things need to presented in a contemporary way. By this I mean, that children should be able to relate to the things which they observe near them. This becomes more critical in the case of Reignited because the book is all about science which deals with numerous mechanisms and cycles.

What is your usual writing schedule?
I am into non-fiction writing which requires a lot of research. So, this is what I usually do. I select a topic at a time and do extensive reading and then whatever sticks in my mind goes in the book. The idea is, if a topic is able to find an automatic space in my mind then it is worth expressing.

Most of your books have been written for children. How do you go to the mind of children and write in such a lucid manner?
See every one of us has a child in us. You don’t need to go to a child’s mind rather you have to go in your own mind. The problem is that the child’s mind, which is accompanied by two things: humility that I don’t know everything and curiosity that I want to know everything. These two qualities are within us too. Now, what we have done is that we have submerged these qualities into the ocean of ego and shame that what will society think. So, you don’t really need to go into a child’s mind.

Is Reignited 3 on your bucket-list next?
I wrote Reignited in 2015 and the reason I decided to write Reignited 2 was that in the time which passed between these two books, scientific world shifted significantly. In future, if there would be another such shift for Reignited 3 to be relevant. I would definitely write it

Tell us more about yourself – your initial years in Lucknow, your education and your parents.
I was born and brought up in Lucknow. I did my schooling from La Martiniere and studied Engineering at Institute of Engineering & Technology, Lucknow. Further, I went to the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad to study management where I was the President of the Student’s Council and also awarded the Gold Medal for being the best All-rounder Student of the 2009 batch. Reading and Writing have always been there in the family. By the virtue of being born in Lucknow, I guess there was always a temperament towards literature. Both my parents are in government services and live in Lucknow only. In fact, many generations of both sides of my family have been in Lucknow.
During my early years, in the household, there was a spending cap on everything but there was no spending cap on books. So they were a very high priority for us. I remember that when I was in class 4, I used to read Encyclopaedia. Those books are still which me (laughs). That was our version of Wikipedia or I should say the internet. In the early 90s, an Encyclopaedia meant internet. They were our version of the internet.

Every chapter of the books has a note to parents. What is the significance of it?
See parents often decide what a child does and this is a good thing. It is their duty to assist the child while they decide their future and they do it with the best of intentions. So, while a book creates curiosity in a child, it should not end there rather it should go beyond. A child should dream to become an expert in that field. Now, who will help the child emerge as an expert? It is the parents. And hence it is important that parents be aware of the right information so that their choices are wise.
Often parents for rightful reasons are worried about what will be the future of children? How soon will they get a job? Will they get a job?
There is nothing wrong with this. This is the job of parents. Hence, instead of saying that a child should decide everything (I don’t agree with this concept at all). I think parents should definitely play a major role in what a child does for his future but that has to be done in an environment where maximum information is available to the parents. There should be no fear. They shouldn’t be under any sort of fear which is generated due to lack of information. But with complete information and with full wisdom, they should help the child decide his future.

How does your Management degree help you in writing books on science and that too for kids?
The idea of management is to deal with people. Whether you are from human resource branch or not, you still have to explain your ideas and communicate them to others. This is exactly what a book does. I may know a lot but if I am unable to write them in words; you able to read those words and understand what I am saying; the book will lose significance. So, it’s all about communication and so is management. To everybody’s surprise, it may appear, that management has nothing to do with books. But in reality, communication which is the backbone of any management degree is also the backbone of writing books.

Which is your favorite book?
My favorite book is Animal farm which is essentially a fable which reflects all the events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

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