His feet moved tirelessly to traverse roads far and beyond. As his strides became ruthless, his spirit grew determined. Aditya Shroff, known as the ‘5 am guy’ on social media circles because of his blog titled the same in which he journals his early morning running adventures, has breached a new horizon. This has come in the form of a book called The Best Life Ever, a compilation of life lessons that he imbibed through his countless runs. In a tête-a-tête with Shroff we find out how a 26-year-old amassed the wisdom of a sage, how running facilitated a thrilling process of enquiry, and what made him write it all down in a literary work of revelations.
This is a book of learning without being preachy. Shroff’s personal life stories unfold through its many pages as its protagonist, a simple village lad, runs through the countryside with abandon, introspecting on his being, the world, and the need for a simple life.
Shroff, an engineer, who graduated from the University of Mumbai, has written the book as an anthology of short stories in which every chapter imparts vital principles. “It comes replete with adventures that are sure to make you think. It’s a positive story with the purpose to inspire,” he says, adding, “I am able to be happy today because of how my childhood was spent. Running whenever I could through my parents’ farm in Pardi in South Gujarat, chasing goats and eating farm-fresh fruits, I valued the deep connection I had with nature; the birds, the wind, the ground, the fields, and the people. Life was uncomplicated. Those connections are lost today, and that’s why I needed to write this book.” In fact, R N Podar School in Mumbai has made his book a compulsory read for students of Class VI to XII.
Shroff, however, doesn’t feel comfortable taking credit for the book. His only effort was the writing part but the thoughts, he says, were prompted by a higher power. “This may be weird to many but I felt a strong voice inside me, that was definitely not mine, that chose me as a medium to tell this story because maybe, it’s what the world needs. A story talking about resilience, positivity, understanding, gratitude, rekindling lost emotional connections and others such things, that are rampantly taken for granted,” says he.
Besides writing and running, Shroff works part-time at his family’s steel casting unit, along with managing their Pardi farm with its 2,000 mango trees and 1,000 coconut trees in addition to other fruits and vegetables. A fast runner since school, Shroff faced an athletic setback because of academic pressure, when he entered college. Post-engineering he moved back to his farm where he took to running again, this time even more seriously. “In a village there aren’t any organised sports, you’re pretty much on your own. Running is something one can do by themselves so I did it religiously,” he says.
Now that the book is out, post a long frustrating process of reaching out to publishers, rejections and scepticism, he is already ideating his second one. The next one too will be around running, but will focus more on slowing down and reflecting on what life has to offer.
The Best Life Ever
By: Aditya Shroff
Publisher: TreeShade Books