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Author Interview – Sandip Mukherjee

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Sandip Mukherjee, a prolific author with two successful books under his belt and a highly anticipated third release on the horizon, has had an illustrious career spanning over four decades in the hospitality industry since graduating from ICTAN, Kolkata. The Top Author seized the opportunity to interview Sandip, delving into his mindset as an author and uncovering what’s next on his creative horizon.

Hey Sandip – Please share glimpses of your corporate journey and as an author.

As a graduate of the Hotel Management Institute of Kolkata in 1977, I am fortunate to have over four decades of global experience in managing hotels, resorts, and restaurant operations. Having obtained a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management, I have also completed General Management programs at leading institutions such as IIM Bangalore and Cornell University in the USA. I am a certified international hospitality trainer from AHLEI (USA) and HCITB (London), as well as having served as an External Assessor for Tata Business Excellence and a Certified Climate Champion of the Tatas – certified via McKinsey. Throughout my career, I have collaborated on impactful programs like Taj-McKinsey’s Revenue Management initiatives and have been instrumental in setting up two hospitality institutes in Kolkata post-retirement. Passionate about nurturing future leaders in the hospitality industry, I serve as the Academic Advisor for the IIHM group of institutes worldwide and also teach management modules for MSc students of the National Council of Hospitality Colleges. In addition to my work in hospitality, I am a published author of two successful books and am poised to release my third offering soon. I conduct consulting workshops on areas such as ESG and Responsible Hospitality and deliver Leadership Programs tailored to the needs of hotels and service industries.

Awesome! So, how did you get into writing? Would you like to share any memories or experiences from the past that ignited this interest?

One evening in Malaysia, sometime in 2014, while preparing to leave work, a captivating incident shared by my F&B Head – Rajen Krishnaswamy inspired me to document it. Encouragement from the revered Bagchi family, including Mr. Subroto Bagchi (CEO of Mindtree Consulting then), further fueled my interest in writing about hospitality experiences. Their persistent encouragement led me to publish my first book, “TALES OF A HOTELWALLAH,” during Diwali of 2021, which received positive feedback and motivated me to continue writing. On the home front, my better half, who is also a hotelier herself, Kalpana, has been both my top advocate and critic on this journey. I am grateful to all of them for providing me with the necessary push.

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Please talk about your routine as an Author.

I do try to adhere to a daily routine of uninterrupted writing, as advised by a dear friend, Dr. Sandeep Roy, a senior ex-ONGC professional and geo-scientist. This is a challenge, but I realize it can be developed as a process, especially for new authors like myself.

Coming to the characters in your stories. Do they overlap with real-life individuals or experiences?

I draw inspiration solely from real-life characters encountered throughout my career in hotels, including staff, guests, vendors and seniors, as well as interactions with current students and colleagues.

Share your thoughts on Author’s Mindset.

For me, the author’s mindset revolves around spreading joy, happiness, and a sense of goodness through storytelling. I strive to bring humor and insight from the hospitality industry, highlighting its intricacies and behind-the-scenes dynamics.

Who inspires you to be an author?

I have been influenced by the works of Satyajit Ray (especially his short stories), Ruskin Bond, early Chetan Bhagat, Shankar (a renowned Bengali Author who wrote an epic tale of a hotel – Chowringhee), and Mr. Subroto Bagchi, who himself is a fabulous author.

Well, authorship is not a bed of roses. Would you like to mention any hurdles that you faced during the journey.

Initially, finding a publisher was a challenge as an unknown author. However, upon the recommendation of an ex – student, Murtuza Saifee, I embraced Print on Demand channels, leading to successful book releases. Now, my third book is due for release soon.

Your strengths as an author…

I prioritize simplicity, honesty, and relatability in my writing, aiming to make reading enjoyable for a wide segment of audience.

Please pick up a moment that gave you maximum satisfaction as an author.

The most fulfilling aspect for me is getting the opportunity to spread joy and positivity, while also providing insight into our ever exciting hospitality domain to a broader audience.

What advice would you like to give to the newbie authors?

Keep it simple, honest, and enjoyable for readers. I try and focus on maintaining a concise narrative, correct language usage, grammar and presentation, rather than using overly embellished language.

How do you envision your writing impacting readers?

I hope to leave a positive and a happy impression on readers, inspiring them to view the hospitality industry in fresh new and positive light.

Please share any experience or interaction with the readers that influenced your journey towards authorship.

Positive feedback from readers, including remarks that my stories felt like fireside chats, has been encouraging and motivating for me as a novice author. Some have even advised me on how to shape stories for better reading, which has also been a part of my learning curve, for which I remain grateful.

What you’re working on next?

Readers can expect more fun-filled hospitality tales and, soon, a short story book titled “MYTHOS: ODYSSEY OF THE GODS.” In this, I am exploring and bringing to the fore myths from the Levant and beyond. Stay tuned for my upcoming release in July, “MYTHOS: ODYSSEY OF THE GODS.” I am excited to share this new venture with readers.

Apart from books, what keeps you busy? Any hobbies, interests?

I enjoy listening to Hindi film music – especially retro; traveling both domestically and internationally; teaching hospitality students; counseling and encouraging youngsters to join the services industry; and indulging in various forms of entertainment such as reading and watching movies.

Thank you so much Sandip. The Top Author wishes you all the best for your next book.

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