Author: Angel Wings, Paw-Prints on Three Continents – Abhijit Patwardhan, PGP 1989
Abhi is a former corporate executive and now a life-design coach, mentor, and instructional designer. He is the founder of Alt Lyf, a service that guides people through transitions in their life.
Startups gain from his senior leadership experience in the tech and consumer product industries. Since leaving corporate life, he has launched a 3d printing company, a pet services app, and a management info app. He is on the board of an edu-tech NGO and a water conservation NGO.
He is also a certified Designing Your Life coach from Stanford and conducts workshops and one-on-one sessions for life design. He blogs about leading a fulfilling life at Alt Lyf Thoughts.
The dog is his animal spirit and he has published a doggy travelogue. Angel Wings, Paw-Prints on Three Continents.
He lives in Singapore with his wife and two dogs, Zoom and Ziggy.
Can you please tell us something about your book – Angel Wings.
In 2016, I, my wife, and Zen, our one-year-old Labrador Retriever, relocated to Stanford University. In the summer of 2017, we set off on a two-month, 10,000 miles road trip across America covering 29 states.
Angel Wings – Paw-prints on Three Continents is a humorous narration of Zen’s adventures and misadventures. Told from his unique perspective and inimitable style – ardent, conversational, and touching.
He encounters a security robot in Mountain View with hilarious consequences, bonds with a burly Harley biker in Custer City, and meets a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park. The meaningful connection he enjoys with his humans surfaces time and again. It is a story of making new friends and learning new skills while on a journey to understand America’s culture and history. An easy, engaging read about how a dog-loving nation embraced a goofy pup and his human companions.
The offering of the book is quite unique, what gave you this idea?
I started writing a blog to update our friends about our trip. Zen’s pov was unique and our readers loved it. I thought it might be a good idea to expand on the blog and tell Zen’s life story. Also, I had never written a book before and it was one of the life ideas that I wanted to prototype. The idea came up during a “Designing Your Life” workshop.
What is your favorite chapter in the book and why?
Rites of Passage is my favourite chapter in the book. We had moved to Palo Alto and all of us were settling into a new culture. The humans had to get used to the American DIY lifestyle – cooking, cleaning, and all the other chores that needed to be done, which our helper would do in Singapore. Zen had to be more accepting of strangers. Any random dog lover would walk up and gush over him and want to talk to him. We all had experiences that were hilarious and at times painful as well.
Any special incident or experience you would like to share, that is not a part of the book?
I am not sure that incident merits mention. It shows Zen’s healthy disrespect for technology. Security robots, robotic vacuum cleaners etc..
This incident took place in the mansion near Boston. The house had a stairlift. I decided to try it out. I sit in it and activate the up button. As it started moving, Zen followed. He would take one tentative step towards the stairlift and two steps up the stairs, barking all the time. It was a crazy dance. One tentative step towards the lift.. retreat…then go up two stairs. Wait for me to arrive and repeat. I was laughing so hard, I almost fell out of the chair. Zen was not pleased.
What was the creative process involved in writing this travelogue?
I wrote the first draft of the book – 50,000 words in November 2018. It was written during NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month), a worldwide movement to encourage writers to finish a draft manuscript in a month. I then sent it to a developmental editor. She helped me tell the story better – “Flesh out this character more. Remove this scene. Place this paragraph in this chapter” and so on. I wrote 12 drafts before I could send it in for the final proofread.
The book has a lot of hand-drawn illustrations and I had to work with the artist to fit them into the story. I had to outline the scene for every illustration. It was very rewarding.
Finally, I had to decide on a publisher that would give me access to potential readers in the US and India. That is also part of the creative process.
How has writing impacted your life as an individual?
Writing has instilled a discipline in everything I do. It also has made me more patient when I am developing content.
However, the biggest change is that I am more open and transparent. My wife says so…Must be true!
The readers are really enjoying the book, is there a sequel on cards?
Thank you for the encouraging words. Maybe there is…From Zoom’s pov. He is our adopted shelter dog, what we call a Singapore Special. He has a very interesting background. Born in the wild and now living in civilization. There is material for a story.
You can pick your copy from the following links:
Amazon India (Kindle edition)
Flipkart India (Paperback)