Spy From Unaula – Story of my first novel

Hi Friends, I am back after a gap of more than two weeks. My absence on my blog has been primarily due to my ill health and it has taken a while for me to start writing again.

Last month my first novel ‘Spy From Unaula’ was published. It was after a long thought that I wrote a novel and not the management type book that I always felt was my forte. However when it came out and I started getting a lot of great reviews, I realized that my first experience of writing a novel was a success and now, I can build upon this experience to write many more such books.

Book by Alok Kumar

However, it was not the outcome of the book but the process of reaching there needs to be shared. I always believed that writing a book is a big deal. Yes it is, but there is a lot more to it. Getting an idea and creating a story that can bind the readers around that idea certainly needs a lot of creativity. I tried my hands on several ideas, but after few pages it used to loose stem. Somewhere within, I was not convinced that it was my story. It was then one day when my father’s anniversary came, I recalled my decision to write a story about his life that I made several years back.

While I knew a lot about him, I was not sure how a ordinary man who was almost no one of his time and struggled to maintain a dignified life most of his life can be a subject of a story, but that was my story. It was a story that I had heard from my childhood so many times in bits and pieces when my father told me a few pieces of that to scare us into studies. He always was very secretive about his life. His job with Intelligence agencies and a struggle filled past was both probably out of bounds for most of the people in his life.

I was surprised to hear some of his young age struggle when he fell sick after his retirement and had me for his company more often than not. Eventually, he opened up when he realized that his humble past was something that he should have not hidden but openly spoken about. In his times, the world had a different outlook. Society would have thought him to be a downtrodden and not one among equal. It would have been possible that his children would have not got good families for themselves if others had known about his background. He lived mostly in fear and denial of his tough and brutal past till the time he realized that he had not much to live.

The secrets started tumbling one after another and suddenly; I realized how lucky I was to have a Dad like him. It was long time back that I thought of putting a story around his life of whatever I came to know. The story of my Dad is now what is know as ‘Spy From Unaula’. This name came from the fact that he was a spy by profession for many years and he was born in a small village in eastern part of Uttar Pradesh in India, named Unaula.

Prior to this novel, I had earlier experimented with different kind of books that even I did not like reading once I had finished writing. Those books game me a sense of achievement, but not true satisfaction. Moreover, I always felt that I am not doing anything original. I am just writing those things that many other have done in their own ways. Writing a novel gave me that originality that I always believed to be a motivating factor for me. I am excited with the thought of an idea and a story that no one else has so far narrated.

My eight months of hard work that had to go along with my official work was not easy. I always wrote the book after everyone at my home was sleeping and the solitude allowed me maximum time for myself. My family did not realize that I cut into my sleeping hours to complete this book, but when it was done, I thought I have scaled the Everest. However, it was later I realized that I am yet at my base camp. The summit is still far away and the going will get far tougher.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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