She enjoys diversity in life and believes in doing things differently. “That’s when creativity kicks off.” The words come straight from the rulebook of author Sonia Golani. From being a history student to a magazine writer, an entrepreneur to an author — diversity is visibly the flavour of Golani’s life. In Chandigarh to attend the Meet the Author programme by Chandigarh Literature Society, she talks about both her books — Corporate Divas and My Life, My Rules — and her journey so far.
Sonia shares her initial journey by saying, “Hailing from Jaipur, I graduated in History honours from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi, and later did post graduation from Delhi University, before moving to Chennai in 1993 after marriage.” Sonia then started working in the editorial and marketing team of an Agribusiness magazine in Bangalore. “There, I got to do success stories of entrepreneurs and politicians who influenced the agri sector, besides a set of people trying to do different things in life,” she recalls.
With a degree in history, wasn’t writing for a magazine a task? “I don’t know why people are bracketed into narrow profiles. You don’t need to do any course to write well. In fact, I believe such courses kill your inner voice, and you end up producing only what is taught to you.” After her writing stint, Golani opened the recruitment company, Management Consultant Group (MCG), in Bangalore.
“Entrepreneurship was always at the back of my mind, because as an entrepreneur, your thoughts are infinite. MCG was well established, but I had to shut it down to move to Mumbai with my husband in 2000. Once again, I had to start from scratch. Luckily, I managed to establish MCG and got good clients. But, it wasn’t long before I reached saturation. That’s when the motivation to write a book emerged. I wrote Corporate Divas in November 2011, offering insight into what motivates and sustains India’s 18 leading corporate women. Though magazines have carried stories on their lives, I wanted to focus on the balance they create between work and life,” says she.
Her second book, My Life, My rules, has stories of 18 unconventional careers. “It busts conventional myths about professional choices of people. For example, Rahul Akerkar has a masters in biochemical engineering from the US, but is better known as a celebrity chef and owner of Mumbai’s restaurant, Indigo; Manohar Parrikar went to IIT, Bombay, but makes headlines as the chief minister of Goa; Harsha Bhogle is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, but is a world renowned cricket commentator; Rashmi Uday Singh was once the deputy commissioner of Income Tax but is widely known as India’s famous food critic. Similarly, all stories and people I chose to write about are from different fields who opted out of the rat race.”
Golani is writing her third book on Bollywood.