Review by Arjun Mukherjee. Arjun is a crack Creative Director at Bates 141, Kolkata.
It arrived in a corrugated, cardboard wrapper. A noisy ‘tear away’ later, out came a crisp, fresh smelling book bathed in cream with a green spine and a sharp green edge on every page. When Swapan Seth writes the words become feathers and knives, tickling and cutting as you read along. For a man who has quietly conquered the highest peaks of advertising this book packs a surprise by steering away from the subject he has cut his teeth upon. What it offers in return is a stirring, soul-searching account of life and its many shades.
‘This Is All I Have To Say’ is a lyrical journey that touches several inner chords. As Swapan elucidates at the end of his book by saying that he never had a plot, no fiction that he could create and his life has hardly been an interesting story, so he wrote what he felt. The nineteen chapters of this book deal with profound issues like love, failure, friends, success, marriage, brotherhood, parents, giving, peace, god, trust, grace, passion, helping, responsibility, knowledge, leadership, ambition and money. Every chapter is a quick two pages, but after you have swam through the lines and dived deep into each word the ocean of wisdom is certain to leave you breathless.
Swapan draws from his own life. He doesn’t take an unnecessary moral high ground, or tries to enforce some idealistic way of living, instead the entire read is like a healing talk with someone you can open up to on a blinding, rainy day. Complex issues suddenly seem ironed out to simple. And the wisdom of every line leaves you feeling complete and at peace with yourself.In every chapter you will find these little gems.
And never expect love to come back in the volumes in which you give it to the others. There’s always a little that spills as it journeys back to you.
Leadership walks into a room and says, “Here I am.” Great leadership walks into a room and says, “There you are.”
Give what you once needed most. Not what you now need the least.
Grace allows you to construct victories out of losses. Grace forces you to look at the losses in your apparent victories.
Never be your brother’s brother. I spent a lifetime doing that. Be a brother to your brother.
Be careful with your ambition. Treat it like a giant and it will make you look like a dwarf.
Along with these life proteins there are anecdotes from Swapan’s life as well. Experiences that have reassured him, given him strength and everlasting courage to walk down his chosen path of life. They are interesting, little snippets…his first brush with love, a vision in a post-life regression session, the lesson imparted by a trainee, the generosity of a London cabbie, reading the Hanuman Chalisa and so on. As a reader one will go through varied emotions as 95 pages flip by effortlessly one after another, and in the end the contents of ‘This Is All I Have To Say’ will unshackle themselves from the book and land up right inside your heart.
One also has to laud the layout and design of this book by Bonita Vaz – Shimray. The refreshing colours, subtle sprinkling of graphics and the brilliant usage of typography add to the ease of the read and is a balm for the eyes.
Swapan Seth has yet again weaved together magic with words. It’s a reader’s delight and a believer’s rosary beads. He dedicates the book to Reyhaan and Sirhaan with a simple message, ‘May love be the ampersand between the two of you’.Now how good is that?
Take your eyes off the cricket, let the lamb chops get cold, cancel the appointment at the salon, crumple the movie tickets to litter and simply read this book. It can be a life-changing experience. This is all I have to say.