Dr. Sudhir Andrews (D. Litt.) is a well known intellectual, scriptwriter and a persona that has shined in writing world class manuals for hospitality industry and bagged several prestigious awards for his great works .In an exclusive interview with The Kashmir Scenario, Dr.Sudhir Andrews talks to Malik Sameed.
Kashmir Scenario: Tell us about your childhood?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: My father was a senior Air force Officer and pilot and my mother a teacher. My childhood was a mélange of bravado and heroic deeds on the one hand and education, on the other. I lived on airbases and my natural aspiration was to become an air force pilot. However, my life drew me to becoming a scholar and manager. defense services life was the annual holiday in summer to a hill-station. While we visited Ooty, Kodaikanal, Simla, Mussoorie, Nainital and Raniket, my best memories were of Kashmir in the 1950s. We would drive by car from the searing heat of the plains into the imposing mountains of Kashmir. Our first overnight stop was at a rest house in Kud some 8000 feet above sea level. The chilly air was so refreshing from the merciless heat of the plains, as we packed ourselves into warm clothing. Our drive through Banihal Pass at that time some 11000 feet above sea level was a treacherous but adventurous drive. Srinagar took my breath away. If at all there was a Garden of Eden it was here. My earliest memories of Srinagar were of cherry blossoms and the smell of Chenar trees. The stay in a houseboat was enthralling and a unique experience for a young boy. Several shikaras would drift alongside our houseboat with flowers, fruits and handicrafts. My mother could never stop haggling with the hawkers but ending with a purchase each time. The caretakers of the houseboat gave pink tea in the morning and gorgeous food. ]
Kashmir Scenario: How was your academic life like?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: I had a good education throughout my life, in convent schools including St. Anthony (Agra), St. Georges (Agra) and St Columba’s (New Delhi). After getting my ISC from St. Columba’s High School New Delhi, I studied in the eminent St. Stephens College doing English Honours in Literature. I suppose the seeds of writing started from there. I would have preferred to be a writer but got admission into the premier management school in India, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, to do my MBA. It was too good an opportunity to miss. I was the first MBA from IIM to join the Hospitality Industry. I went through hell in the first two years plunging from the ivory towers of IIM to washing dishes as part of the Senior Management Training Programme with the Oberoi Hotels, where I studied for two Diplomas in Hotel Management, one from the International Hotel Association, Paris and the other from the American Hotel and Motel Association, USA. I did leave a foot print in hospitality education subsequently, including writing 11 textbooks and training manuals, used by all hospitality schools, for which I got several awards and the Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by the UN backed University of Colombo.
Kashmir Scenario: How did you develop aptitude towards writing?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: I was first a musician (both performing artist and composer) in college with my own band, having cut three singles in Western pop music with HMV. As I developed my English writing skills, my creative instincts from music translated into writing. During my successful corporate career in Human Resource Management and Education, I enjoyed writing policy and operational manuals for the organisations I worked for. I was fortunate to be approached in the 1980s by the then Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company to write training manuals for the Indian hospitality Industry and education. I obliged with three manuals which till today are best sellers having gone into their third edition.
Kashmir Scenario: What are the main difference between script writing and other literacy writing?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: Scriptwriting is action oriented where the reader “sees” the scenes behind the writing. It needs special action words to give the reader images of what they are reading than just words. Dialogues drive the story and gives insights into the characters motives, fears and joys.
Kashmir Scenario: How do you view the script writer’s talent in our country?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: The Scriptwriters are excellent in India and bring in a lot of research into their themes.
Kashmir Scenario: Is script writing a by birth talent or it can be imbibed?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: Writing is a birth talent while scriptwriting can be learnt. However the scriptwriter must have a vivid imagination to conjure up stories and scenes and have a natural flair for story-telling. Not everyone has that gift.
Kashmir Scenario: What are the main awards you have received so far?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: I have received the following awards;
- The Golden Pin for the Best Hospitality Trainer (1978).
- The “Sri Ram Award” for the best Management Thought (1986) presented by the President of India.
- The Rashtriya Gaurav Award (2009)
- The Rajiv Gandhi Award (2010)
- The Best Citizen of India Award (2010)
- International Intellectual Achievement Award –Thailand (2010)
- All India Business and Community Award for Educational Excellence (2010)
- International Status Award (excellence in Hospitality Education (2013)
- Doctorate of Literature (D. Litt) (Honoris Causa) Colombo University, Sri Lanka (2013)
Kashmir Scenario: What is your opinion about Kashmir situation?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: I am extremely sad about Kashmir because I have had the most pleasant memories of my childhood there. I was so inspired that I even spent my honeymoon in Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg, years later. I would love this God’s land to be a heaven again, where I could go back and relive my memories.
Kashmir Scenario: Your favourite author?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: My favourite author is Tom Clancey who has written well researched fiction.
Kashmir Scenario: Your message to humanity?
Dr. Sudhir Andrews: Choose friends who celebrate you and not those who tolerate you.