“India is going to lose the match,” was how renowned English author Jeffrey Archer chose to begin his address at The Shri Ram School Aravali during his visit on Monday, while referring to the ongoing test cricket series between India and England.
Archer was in Gurgaon as part of his four-day tour of India to promote the final instalment of his seven-part series The Clifton Chronicles. He held a one-hour interactive session with students that was filled with humour and life experiences.
Drawing on life experiences, he said that the strong female characters in his books are a reflection of strong women who shaped his life. “I have been blessed to have had three strong independent women in my life — my mother, wife and former Prime Minister of UK, Margaret Thatcher,” Archer said.
He said that his mother brought him up with little financial backing after his father’s demise. He said that his mother put aside her education for him and she got her college degree when she was 54. He said his wife Mary Doreen, whom he met at Oxford University, has been a pillar of strength.
He also reminisced about the time he served under Margaret Thatcher, whom he called an inspiration to the whole world for redefining and pushing gender boundaries.
Archer said that the future generations belong to strong women and cited political examples.
“Currently, the United Kingdom has Theresa May as its Prime Minister and Nicola Sturgeon is the Scottish Prime Minister. They are outnumbering men in the race for the coveted posts. Men of this age need to work extremely hard to catch up,” the former Parliamentarian said.
For those aspiring to become authors, Archer issued words of caution and advice.
“Only a one in a million can become a Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid or Virat Kohli. For every thousand writers, only one book gets published. Hard work and dedication is the key, regardless of talent and age. I only started writing at 34 years. Forty-two years later, I still maintain a fixed routine. I wake up at 5.30am and start my work by 6am. By 8am, I finish my day’s writing. I still want to be the Virat Kohli of writing.”
Archer said that those undecided about their careers should not be disillusioned or discontent. He said that he switched to writing due to a financial crisis, which gave him a new lease. He described India as the most exciting, progressive, developing country on earth.
As his prediction of an English victory in the test match looked increasingly difficult, he said that it would help English cricket rise if Indians reduced their inclination towards cricket.