𝑴𝒚 𝒋𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒏𝒆𝒚 𝒕𝒐 “𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠….”It all started way back in 1976! The day the typed hardbound copy of my dissertation came into my hands.I remember I slept with it under my pillow! The heady feeling of seeing your name in print was the elixir of life at that moment. I would get up at night and run my hand over the printed name. The gesture would satiate my soul. Gradually, I got over it and the humdrum of life took over. Profession, marital responsibilities, and raising children tucked my dreams away in a corner. Off and on they would peep out and rouse some slumbering ambitions but were soon lulled into sleep. At one time, I almost wrote a book on meal planning, but the manuscript remained in my chest-o-drawers, where it rests to date. Years melted, one into another, and nutrition and science were somewhere relegated to the background as English as a language started to fascinate me. Teaching English was a learning experience that gradually became a passion. Being an army wife, we led a nomadic existence, and every one or two years we were thrown out of the comfort zones we created, to new challenges and new arenas. On one such plum postings to the capital, I decided to do something other than teaching. How I landed up running a placement agency is another story to be told at another time, but that is when the importance of Spoken English dawned on me. We would have hundreds of qualified job aspirants who couldn’t make it beyond our files just because of a lack of communication skills in a language that was alien to them. Thus started my love of English – translating into a mission! I taught it to housewives, professionals, job seekers, college students, and anybody else who thirsted to learn! From the worksheets, I created for their practice was born the first book I ever wrote; 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐞; 𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡, 𝐏𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞! I literary wrote it on self-taught computer skills, with one finger typing – all 300 pages of it on Microsoft word.! It was grueling work, took me 2 years of sleepless nights, many blunders ( 150 pages of it got lost when my computer hard disk crashed, just because I forgot to save it on an alternate drive) Heartbroken, I almost gave up, tears, depression, and frustration were all that I got out of the experience. Tears purged out all negative emotions and I was back after two days at my desk, more resolute and energized. Finally, after another year, I was a proud author. I put it on a CD and trotted off to a printer and asked the price to print 100 copies. I still remember the incredulous look he gave me and that young lad, barely class 12 pass, laughed at my naivete! His heart melted at my crestfallen look and much education followed. I was sure no publisher would entertain a first-time author and even if someone did, nobody could be so much in love with my book as I was! Now that I had staked my life on it, I was not turning back. So I went back and learned Page Maker. It was another nightmare! Text shifted anywhere, got lost, disappeared, but two months later I was back with another CD – my book on PageMaker. Ganesh was impressed with my determination, if not skill. He left all that he was doing and went all out to help me set the pages and spent hours designing the cover with me in his 4×4 cabin, hot, sweaty, claustrophobic. Two days later we had the cover ready. He had put my vision to paper. My enthusiasm infected him and he started looking at my book as his prodigy. He had never printed an English book ever! So it was a feather in his cap too. We were rather poor those days and 45000 rupees was a princely sum to spend on a dream! But an encouraging husband helps, and a fortnight later I had 2000 copies of my bright yellow book stacked up in my second bedroom. [ Why so many? – well, they were cheaper by the dozen! 1000 copies were costing me 35000, so couldn’t resist the temptation. AND I am the eternal optimist. I thought the world was waiting to get their hands on my book. ] Anyway, I couldn’t have asked for a better sleeping partner! My name on the yellow cover was the most endearing sight of my life. My first book was dedicated to my mother for making me worthy enough to achieve. Now came the challenge of selling the books! I went from school to school, college to college, book stores, dingy offices, wrote letters to all and sundry, did all I could with single-minded devotion but business was slow. Got a lot of appreciation but no bulk orders. I wondered why people did not think that this was the greatest thing that happened after Harry Potter! I looked at each face on the street and hoped that he/ she had a burning desire to speak good English. The first hundred books were sold in a week! but no more. The 1900 in my bedroom mocked at me. Then- One of my letters landed on the MI Directorate table and that changed the game. It was approved by them for training their soldiers and I started getting orders from all units of the army. My dreams of becoming the best selling author soared! The post office became my second home. Regular parcels started going and when the last 100 were left, my bedroom started looking deserted and I got 2000 more printed. Life was good and I was on a roll. Then again things started going slow! My reach was only that much and I was getting exhausted, selling. I still had 1000 copies in my bedroom. By now I was sure of the quality of my book. The fan mail had increased. But marketing was not my forte. So with renewed confidence, I went to Delhi and straight to Daryaganj. The first two publishers were really big and they liked the book but they had a long channel to get approval. The third one I visited was Ane books. I went in because I loved their logo. Very tastefully done. I was lucky, I met the owners, decision-makers. two hours later, I walked out with a contract. My second book 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗘𝗮𝘀𝗲 was published by them eight months later. This was more professionally done and the 250 pages now became a 400-page book. So I was a recognized published author. The book went into its second edition two years later and then it became a recommended textbook for students of Rajasthan University for spoken English. Amazon helped to take it some other countries and now it is going to be printed in its third edition. Meanwhile, we started The Icon Public school in 2003 and I thought of writing for school children. ” 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗠𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 ” was thus written as a series of 8 books, graded for school. It took 4 years to complete but it was a labour of love. This series was not just a Spoken English series but also had written exercises and creative writing. So this was a comprehensive English learning series. Published by Alpha Education, it is being used by many schools across India. When I see it in the hands of hundreds of students, my heart fills with pride, and humility to have reached across to so many young minds. I had nearly closed doors to writing now. It is a back-breaking job and long hours at the desk take a toll on health. AND THEN CAME COVID!Quarantine and lockdown were not pleasant words and more than anything, the mind had to be kept occupied. So one day I attended a webinar on writing ebooks. After 3 hours I knew I had found my calling. I immediately registered and started writing. Two days later, as I lay in bed I got a flash and I knew I would call it Correctly Speaking…. The baby was now suddenly flesh and blood and had a name and my dreams for it grew. So the last three months I have been eating, breathing, dreaming 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠….”. It is my COVID baby and will soon be on Amazon. I hope it will fulfill some more dreams and bring success to many young and old aspirants for a better life. I do not say any more – 𝗡𝗼 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 – Who knows how lives take a turn!
Published by Correctly speaking
Aradhana Rana is a Gold medalist from Delhi University and a Post Graduate in Nutrition with a Bachelor's degree in Education. Presently, she is the Founder Principal of a Senior Secondary School, The Icon Public School, at Ahmednagar. She is a dynamic speaker and conducts workshops for teaching Spoken English, Soft Skills and Personality Development. She conducts Teachers Training and Life skills training for schools and other institutions. She has authored several books on the subject. Her first book, published in 2005, Communicate with Ease Speak in English Please and the second, English Communication made Easy are being used as course books in colleges and Spoken English Institutes. English Matters written by her in 2009 is a graded series of eight books to improve grammar and spoken English of school children. These are being used as course books in schools all over India. Aradhana Rana is also an ardent traveler and her travel blogs have been winning hearts all around the world. View more posts