A must-read book: What Next? Recollections of an Inveterate Voyager

A must-read book: What Next? Recollections of an Inveterate Voyager

What Next? Recollections of an Inveterate Voyager’ is a recently published book about an entrepreneur, philanthropist and how he pursued his dreams. Written by CDR C. P. Sharma, the book narrates his early childhood, schooling and his impressions about the National Defence Academy, the Indian Navy and Merchant Navy. The book also speaks of his learning experience with an international crew in the oilfields. Sharma says that the book is about taking risks, meeting challenges, doing innovation, providing employment and freedom to do something that gives satisfaction. It is also about the author’s travel experiences. The book will motivate those interested in entrepreneurship, philanthropy and travel. Its photo-section will ignite wanderlust in readers. The book’s postscript highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and on the travel business. In an interview with TnH, C. P. Sharma talks about his book and more.

Q. What inspired you to write your book ‘What Next? Recollections of an Inveterate Voyager’?

Some people write books on the spur of the moment, while some write after years of contemplation. Some like me fall somewhere in between. The book was on my mind for a long time, but there seemed to be no time after work and other responsibilities. But most unexpectedly there was suddenly an abundance of free time when we were stuck at home due to restrictions imposed during the COVID spread in the country. It was during this time that I started on my manuscript which was completed in about three months. It was a truly great learning experience for me.

Q. Your book is about your journey as defence personnel, entrepreneur and philanthropist. As an entrepreneur who is also a philanthropist, what message have you conveyed through the book? 

I have mentioned how the Neptune Foundation was born from a strong desire to give back to society. It works mainly with deprived children in our society.

We give scholarships to girls from the weaker section of society for education.  It is just the beginning; we will endeavour to add more children, and also the aged and others under various programmes that we would undertake in future for the needy. Over 2000 children have benefited till now from our projects and programmes.

Q. How did your Navy background help you in your entrepreneurial journey?

I have been proud of having served in the Navy. It was the basic training of discipline, punctuality, integrity, teamwork, ability to deal with stressful situations and problem-solving that have helped me in the entrepreneurial journey.

Q. What is your idea of entrepreneurship and philanthropy?  How have you established a balance between the two? 

Entrepreneurship and philanthropy go hand in hand. I would say all entrepreneurs are philanthropists, they generate jobs. Thereby a number of families are supported. Maybe I have gone a step further by starting the Neptune Foundation with a strong desire to give back to society. I have been able to establish a balance between the two. As we have been receiving phenomenal support from a number of well-wishers and our team does their bit in spare time.

Q. The book also narrates your personal travel experience. Tell us about that.

I have travelled to over 70 countries, across all continents savouring the uniqueness of each country. The book is more of a travelogue and covers my personal travel experiences, adventures, beautiful places and peoples and quaint cultures; yet within this bewildering diversity, I could sense the essential unity. I have made friends with people while walking on the roadside, in a bus, cycling, sailing in yachts and boats and cruise ships both on rivers and on the sea, on flights, and while visiting small quaint villages as also the usual touristic places.  I have also covered places not so popular.

Q. How can readers benefit from reading this book? 

It talks about transformation to different fields and my experiences there. The book covers my early childhood, schooling and impressions about the National Defence Academy, the Indian Navy and Merchant Navy as also the learning experience with an international crew in the oilfields. Then, of course, I have spent over three decades in the tourism industry. It is about some places that people would have on their travel wish-list and the book should motivate them further to travel and explore.

Q. What piece of advice would you like to give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?

Any entrepreneur should do something that he is passionate about and be ready to take on challenges. There would be ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and troughs, ebbs and flows, he should take them in a stride and move on. As Walt Disney once said: ‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.’

Q. Is this your first book? Are you planning to write another book in the near future?

This certainly is my first book. Since all experiences and places could not be covered in this volume, that would give me an opportunity to write another book in the near future.

Q. India is not very known for philanthropies by entrepreneurs. Your thought on this.

As I have mentioned earlier that entrepreneurs are philanthropists in a way. At the same time, there is much more that can be done by entrepreneurs and they could contribute more to the upliftment of needy persons in society.

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The book is available with the author and also on Amazon. He can be contacted on his email: cpsharma52@gmail.

About the author

C. P. Sharma, the author of ‘What Next? Recollections of an Inveterate Voyager’, is an ex-Navy man, entrepreneur and philanthropist. An alumnus of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, Sharma started his career with the Indian Navy. After serving 12 years in the Navy, CDR Sharma had a short stint in the Merchant Navy as Master Mariner. Thereafter, Sharma embarked on an entrepreneurial journey by launching his travel business Neptune Travco in 1987. The author has had his share of ups and downs, highs and lows, but he took them all in his stride and kept moving. For CP, as he is called by his friends and colleagues, the biggest satisfaction of being an entrepreneur is being his own boss. A passionate traveller, the author has travelled to over 70 countries, but still yearns to travel. Sharma always thought of the less fortunate in our society. Finally, in 2006, he embodied his altruistic desire by founding Neptune Foundation. He describes 2006 as a milestone year of his life.

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