Ad-man Swapan Seth confesses that writing a book on advertising would have been the natural course of events for him. Instead, the 44-year-old settled on offering his readers gyaan (pearls of wisdom) on a universal subject— life. “I’ve spent two decades in advertising, but twice as much living life. It (the book) was not something I had planned. The idea came and I just knew I had to write it then. I think there’s a story inside each of us that needs to be told,” he says.
What started as a gift on his elder son Reyhaan’s 13th birthday, ended up being a precious nugget about the life and times of Seth for his two sons. His book, This Is All I Have To Say, says a lot about the author, as well as his roles as a student, father, lover and more.
From a boy who failed class 8 to a 17-year-old college dropout who eventually became India's youngest creative director at 24, Seth’s book is peppered with anecdotes capturing life’s highs and lows. The quick read features simple free verse interspersed with colourful vignettes on life.
His frank jottings touch upon everything from wisdom, love, passion, failure and many other universal themes. “It’s not a kid’s book, a self-help book nor an instruction booklet. Rather it’s a value-enhancer. Most people leave their kids with material wealth, I wanted to leave them with my life’s lesson” he says.
And what did his teenage sons make of it? “They thought it was a tad emotional and sentimental,” he laughs. When not writing punchlines for his latest ad campaigns, Seth dishes out a-tip-a-day on his Facebook page, Swapan’s Shot. Ask him if he enjoys doling advice out to others and he replies, “The Facebook page is just a suggestion on what to read or listen to or where to eat and shop.”
And does he stick by his written word? “I would like to. But I must say it’s difficult. On many occasions, I find myself believing in something and acting in another way. Now it’s more evident since I have put it all down in words. But I do falter, that’s human nature.”Seth Says:
On fatherhood: Are your children your best friends? Can you speak to them about everything? Can they?
On life: Either you lead it. Or it leads you. I prefer the latter.
On writing: Words are just pictures that changed their mind along the way.
On your work: Would you like to be marooned on a lonely island with it? If so, you are doing what makes you happy.
On gratitude: Remember you were your parent's thank you to their God. Be thankful, always.