Prashant Solomon talks about how he handles his life as an estate developer, an avid writer and a columnist
A leading real estate developer, an avid writer and columnist, a publisher and a philanthropist, Prashant Solomon wears many hats. He is the Managing Director of the Chintels Group, a real estate development group of Delhi NCR, the CREDAI, NCR treasurer and convener of CREDAI National.
He has already published two books and has started an independent Indian Publishing firm — Thinking Tree Publishers that has recently published award-winning filmmaker Richard Martini’s debut fiction titled, Flipside, which takes the reader on an interesting and magical ride through the afterlife. He is also closely associated with charitable organisations like the United Christian Action and Nora Solomon Foundation that works in key areas of citizen upliftment such as education, sports, women and children welfare, healthcare and strengthening the civil society.
You are an avid writer and have published many articles and books. How did you get in touch with your passionIJ
My career life has been varied. Initially, I worked as a full time journalist, following which I started to run a software company in los Angeles for some time as I’m a web designer and developer. later I decided to come back to India.
Right from childhood, I have had a great relationship with God. Meditation and prayer is something that I highly recommend to everyone I meet. I have been fortunate to have some great spiritual experiences, some of which I have written about and some I intend to write about in the future.
I have also written and published two books — Shadows of Truth and The Cosmic light Within. I’m working on other books as well — fiction and non-fiction. I love to write about spirituality, science fiction and paranormal activities.
What advice do you have for those who want a career in writingIJ
Writing as a career requires a lot of hard work, discipline and perseverance. Don’t quit your day job yet. But take out 30 minutes a day and practice writing. Don’t think of writing a 365 page novel, instead write a page every day for at least a year. One will notice how a change in perspective can make a gigantic looking task more approachableIJ Also, if you’re writing, you need to be familiar with the genre and understand the market trend. One should get into the habbit of writing down thoughts, notes and ideas. Start to storyboard your ideas. Develop an outline and then when that’s done, start writing. The most important advice — don’t give up! But be realistic. And remember this, non-fiction is generally a better way to write books that are on popular topics. If you read books about investing in the stock market – you should read as many books as you can find. So non-fiction is generally easier to sell online. If you are writing a fiction, you are competing against the likes of Dan Brown and JK Rowling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It’s just that in fiction, you need your book to really be different in concept for it to stand out. In non-fiction, your book doesn’t really have to stand out, one can take the same topic and add something new.
As you became more committed to your work as a real estate developer what were the internal doubts or external obstacles that challenged youIJ
There is a resistance to change. People still want to use the same old methods of construction and management. We need to see how buildings are being made worldwide. And a need to create an experience that goes beyond just building homes and offices. This industry needs more transparency and new laws like RERA will bring that. But the law needs to be fair. Regulation is great, but not if it stifles the spirit of growth. The obstacles we face as an industry are many – funding is expensive and hard to get, regulations are stringent, approvals are still hard to get and RERA has not made it any easier. In fact, the irony is that (at least in Haryana) we still have to get all the approvals we needed before, but now an added element of RERA is there. Demonetisation and GST were also major challenges. Infrastructure wise, roads like the Dwarka Expressway and others have been promised for over a decade – but where are theyIJ But by and large, I am still optimistic about the future.
Being a key member of the real estate fraternity, what do you feel are the key challenges facing the sector currentlyIJ What are Chintel’s plans going forwardIJ
I already mentioned the challenges — RERA, funding and approvals. Chintels is planning many things in the future. Some of these include developing our existing land banks into residential and commercial projects either ourselves or through JVs. But in the future, I am planning to diversify into other geographies and other businesses as well. But as any good author, I will leave that a mystery for now. Keep reading the novel.
What are some of the issues that are close to your heart and what according to you is the roadmap in that directionIJ
The issue of quality education for all is one issue, which is very close to my heart. My grandmother encouraged one and all including her own children to help educate children from unprivileged background and I too believe that education can empower an individual. We are also committed to helping educate and empower girls. My grandmother had five daughters and I have two and one son. We are committed to do our best to ensure that young girls are educated and are able to fully develop their skills to become valuable resources for India.
Tell us about your work with the Nora Solomon Foundation.
Our mission is to empower individuals by imparting skills, knowledge and education that will enhance their employability and quality of life. We also aim to support Child and Welfare Centers, inclusive education for special children, healthcare for the old and disabled.
What inspires you to move forwardIJ
I am inspired by the idea of India and its future. We live in the world’s largest democracy. We have a huge talent pool in our country of hundreds of millions of youth. I will strive to help facilitate a way that some of those youth are able to be educated and then inspired to become entrepreneurs or professionals who will use their creative talent along with hard work and some support to create a strong Indian economy. They will help to create jobs and develop products and services that will fuel our economic and social growth. I am a spiritual person and I believe that love conquers hate and if this love and creativity is channeled in the direction, it can do wonders.