HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!
This year has been full of surprises and some achievements that surprised me too. I was gifted a library for my first anniversary by my husband, finally started blogging, started a book club, received review copies and ARCs, started Bookstagramming and reached over 650 followers in a span of 3 months, received my first ever bookbox, received books as gifts from so many unexpected places, won giveaways and oh so much more! All in all, I think 2016 was a generous year and I’ve learnt so much from my experiences that I’m grateful for every opportunity that came to me and also the ones that slipped away. I wanted to do something different for my blog in 2017 and I found the best way to do so!
This year, every month, you will meet someone who is not only successful at what they do, but their spirits and determination have left me in awe. Every month, I shall bring you the interview of a person from this bookish world that in my eyes, deserves a lot of recognition, appraisal and commendation! Hence the name of the segment is : 2017: The Year of The Greats!
For January, 2017, the person in focus is a wife, mother, businesswoman, leader, entrepreneur extraordinare and a voracious reader. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, Kavita Singh, the owner of Kaffeinated Konversations, an Indian bookbox that strives to highlight not only reading amongst this generation but also Indian writers and small businesses that she knows are worth their salt! I met her when I was planning to buy the bookbox and through the various chats and messages, her bubbly nature and ever present humour made me realise how down to earth as well as easy going she is. Therefore, I made up my mind to make her the first interviewee for my blog!
Shelly (S) : First, tell us something about yourself. A brief of who Kavita Singh is.
Kavita Singh (KS) : I am a voracious reader, mad about books, addicted to coffee and believe that everyone must have a right to education and therefore, read.All creative things inspire me and I believe that this life would lose something of a rewarding joy if there were no experiences to cherish.
S : Bookboxes in india are very rare and quite a new and risky business. How did this idea first strike you?
KS : I have been reading for as long as my memory stretches to my childhood. In reality, I don’t remember when I started reading. So reading has been an inherent quality in me, I guess. When I created the community of Rising Litera (I was CoFounder and I exited it in April 2016) I was already reviewing books. Then from April 10, when I founded Kaffeinated Konversations – a community of readers, writers and artists – members would ask for my recommendation of books to read. They would give me a brief of their language and reading level as well as pace of reading and I would recommend books to them. Eventually an idea was born to help people create their personal libraries (something that is dying these days) and get back to reading properly.
S : The name is as interesting as the venture itself. Does ‘Kaffeinated Konversations’ have a special reason behind it?
KS : I am a coffee addict and I love to meet intelligent people who can talk about a range of topics. This makes me feel energetic. So the concept of Caffeinated Conversations was born. But I changed C to K since my name starts with K and it gives it a quirky touch!
S : Cool! I know your husband isn’t a reader. Where does he fit in your business? A critique, an advisor or simply a support?
KS : (Laughing) He doesn’t come anywhere near the books or whatever I do. It is good in that way. I don’t force him but then I have my son who loves reading like me and keeps me grounded to the Children’s Literature too.
S : As a married woman, as a mother, you have so many responsibilities that must keep you occupied. How do you juggle between so many roles?
KS : I don’t think. I just manage. The day I start thinking I will freak out!
S : Kkbookbox is slowly gathering audience attention and becoming known in the reader community. How does that make you feel.
KS : I am happy but not yet satisfied. I want India to read more Indian books and stop thinking that foreign authors especially UK and US have talent and not Indians. #MakeInIndia.
S : What made you choose this particular avenue instead of the conventional one of Foreign authors?
KS : I am a convert myself. I never read Indian authors thinking that they aren’t well tuned. Neil D’Silva’s book Maya’s New Husband changed my outlook. I love reading horror and thrillers. I never found Indian writers upto the mark. Neil’s book I read from 12 night to 2 in morning. I didnt want to put it down! I was surprised at my behavior. I am a fan of his work. He is dedicated. It is through him I got to know about other Indian authors who really sweat it out but are not into promotional gimmicks. I came across Readomania publications in this process. I read many more Indian authors in different genres and I realized I wanted to help them get across to the regular readers. Thus, this idea became firmly rooted.
S : Great! I’m a convert myself, however in my case it was Ashwin Sanghi instead.
KS : Well mythology is too much explored so I was deliberately sticking away from it. Only horror was and still remains a niche market
S : Do you read and select the books or businesses to be featured in the boxes yourself?
KS : Yes, I read and select the books for businesses as well as all the books I feature in the book box. Since I review books too, I do come across some good reads recommendations.
S : And the other products featured? Like Tsunamika and The Urban GumtI?
KS : I am an ambassador for Tsunamika in Madhya Pradesh region. Now they directly deal with all inquires but earlier they had appointed ambassadors to promote their rebuilding efforts. The Urban Gumti is a cafe in Indore. I know the cafe owners personally since we ie. KK members frequent that place. They have come out with different kinds of tea and cookies. I liked their paan tea and thought it would be a welcome change from adrak chai that winter is famous for.
S : How many people are currently on your team?
KS : 6 people including me form the core team. The team members are actually part of KK. They started helping me in building KK, So now they’re into the core team.
S : That’s good! Are there any other ventures that you are associated with?
KS : Yes. I am leading the Indore Chapter of eChai Ventures. http://www.echai.in. They’re ecosystem enablers providing supportive framework for startups and entrepreneurs. Also, I am integral part of Quilled Words – A startup that’s into providing professional content to entrepreneurs, businesses and design professionals.
S : I’m amazed at you! So many roles, such little time and you manage to do all that. How? What drives you?
KS : I know that life is short and I want to do everything that I know and love to do within this short time on the earth. My penchant for learning drives me for I want to learn new things and experience new things everyday.
S : Do you think you can convert your husband? Or is that a project too difficult? (Laughing)
KS : (Laughing) If I convert my husband I won’t have the time left to convert a home into a library – the latter will be much faster. The time needed to convert a totally anti-books person to a lifelong reader is more of a dreadful nightmare.
S : What do you see for yourself and kkbookbox in 2017?
KS : I see KKBookBox going to each and every home in India, nudging the dreamers to wake up, enticing them to open the box and get lost into the world weaved by the author. It isn’t possible in 2017 itself but yes this is the dream I want to see for KKBookBox. Apart from that, the readers can get the benefit of interesting collaborations that are going to be revealed in 2017 with publishers themselves wanting to directly connect to the readers in a beautiful way.
S : Where do you see yourself next year? What more does Kavita Singh want to achieve?
KS : I want to keep learning more. Explore books by South Asian and African authors. Dig my fingers in the arts and the crafts that KK plans to have more (seeing the success of Art Cove). I want to bridge writers, readers and artists and build a rich repertoire of transformative as well as immersive experiences. So on the whole, 2017 should be the capstone year for immersive experiences for our community and city (City phase is first phase)
S : Great! What advice do you have for readers?
KS : To read is to gain an imagination so profoundly amazing that even the HD+ Television pales in comparison. For to create a world in your head is nothing short of sublimal experience.
S : Lastly, what advice do you have for anyone who’s reading this? Wanting to start a business?
KS: Don’t take advice. To start something don’t take advice. Share your ideas with people who might give you some experiential insight and feedback and then keep developing the idea into a business reality.
S : This was a wonderful chat and It was so great knowing you like this! Thankyou so much for your time!
KS : The questions were simple yet so awesome. Thanks for the lovely questions!
Here, our formal ‘interview’ concluded and it increased my respect and admiration for her even more!
Here’s wishing great success to her and Kkbookbox! may they achieve all that they have planned and more!
You can check out their official pages as listed down below:
Kaffeinated Konversations book box on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/kkbookbox/
Kaffeinated Konversations on Facebook :: https://www.facebook.com/KaffeinatedKonversations/
Kavita Singh on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/kavitapsingh
That’s all for today folks!
I’ll be back with this segment next year with another great literary personality!
C then, Cheers!