Apparently there is nothing worth telling about me, that is why I tell stories about other people. However my resume read I work for this big MNC in HR and Recruitment. I have a MBA preceded by an Honors Degree in English. That is all.
Q2. When did you start writing?
I remember scribbling a poem about this doll dad had bought for me on my birthday. I was in class 2 I guess. That is the farthest I can recall.
Q3. These days people chose to write Love stories as their debut novel, why did you choose such a Heavy genre as your Debut Novel?
Why something as heavy as a Feminist Social Drama- well, I believe that the story that I have narrated through The Bridal Pyre – NainamDahatiPawakah really needs to be told and heard. Every incident of this story is a real life experience of someone’s life. Together they make a fiction, but these incidents have happened to someone, very much in our society, very much in our generation, sadly it is. And it should not be repeated with anyone else. So I chose to write it now.
Q4. Tell us about your book “The Bridal Pyre”?
The Bridal Pyre – NainamDahatiPawakah revolves around the protagonist Meera. She is as regular as you and me and so was her life till she got married. And then she did what every other woman tries to do, adjust to adversaries. But she realized after a point that you can’t expect to stay indifferent to the disturbances caused by life. Nothing falls into places till you get up and work on the chaos. The story then unmasks the face of the society we breathe in, the collective prejudice of every agency of judgement that tries to put down a woman looking for justice. This woman had initially put up a fight against those handful people who had wronged her, but before she realizes, she finds herself in a war field against politics, police, judiciary, corruption, media, you name it, she fought it. Undauntedly. The plot is based on real challenges of real women, no high end drama.
Q5. These days Women are treated as a show piece by husbands. Do you think your book will help those women to fight for their rights?
The character of Meera will certainly provide as an example and encourage the modern Indian woman to fight back. But to fight back you will have to come out of your comfort zone. Meera did that. If at least one woman sums up the guts to fight back the torments out on her after reading The Bridal Pyre, I will consider my efforts successful.
Q6. How was your experience working with Omji Publishing House?
They are very decent people. As a first time novelist, there were a lot of things I was clueless about. They have widened my knowledge in the area of book writing.
Q7. Who is your source of Inspiration?
Ordinary women with their ordinary life and extraordinary zeal and courage are my inspiration.
Q8. Apart from writing what are your hobbies?
Ummm, I don’t really have any other hobby. I consider myself as a dancer at soul, but dancing is not my hobby. It is my devotion. It you would ask me how I spend my leisure time, I would shamelessly admit, I can spend an entire lazy Sunday watching Russell Peters in YouTube.
Q9. What is your biggest strength of your writing?
I write from my heart, things that appeal to my emotions. When I write I send my mind on a casual leave.
Q10. Since it is a book on social issue common these days what research have you done while writing this book?
I didn’t have to do much research to write this book. I already had ideas and material with me, from the women I had come in touch with throughout my life. In fact I had so much information already at my disposal that I was compelled to pile them up in a book.
Q11. Tell us any challenges you faced while publishing your first book?
Oh..like any other first timer… rejections from publishers… someone asked me to change the climax… someone said this won’t work… people are all around you to discourage you.
Q12. If you get a chance to go back and change something in your novel or getting it published what would you change?
I wouldn’t change anything, or may be a few sentences here and there. But that will be for the literary benefit of the book. I won’t change anything in the flow of the story.
Q13. What was your favorite part or chapter in the book to write and why?
There are a couple of them. But the most difficult yet favorite scene that I wrote was Meera’s miscarriage in The Bridal Pyre – NainamDahatiPawah. More, so because the amount of emotional turmoil this character goes through along with the physical pain. This was my first work as a novelist, I am not sure if I could do justice to the situation. But I was writing this scene, and I had to stop for a while, cry, get myself a cup of coffee, and go back to completing the scene.
Q14. Any Future Projects you are working?
I do intend to write a collection of 4-5 love stories sometime. In fact that is what I had started my book writing with, but there was this dying need to pen down The Bridal Pyre – NainamDahatiPawakah first. But I will go back and complete my compilation of love stories.
Q15. Do you read books? Who are your favorite Authors?
There are so many. I am a big fan of Ashapoorna Debi. She was a great writer and used to write in Bengali. I really wish I could be like her someday. Again, every Bengali has this inbuilt undying love of Rabindranath Tagore, and I am not any different.I also like Paulo Coelho (but of course) and Eric Segal. But these days I am reading Khaled Hosseini and loving him more with every sentence I read.
Q16. Describe yourself in two lines. How will you rate yourself as an Author?
I can describe myself in one word – CRAZY. That’s what I am. I still don’t consider myself as an ‘Author’. ‘Author’ s a big and heavy word. This label comes with a lot of responsibilities towards the society. I am not worth of this title as yet.
Q17. What are things a writer had to remember while writing a debut book?
I can’t talk for others. But I made sure that I was standing firm on the idea or the moral that I intended to convey. If I appear confused, I won’t be able to convince people to buy my logic.
Q18. What message would you like to tell to our readers?
The message I want to give through this book or otherwise is for all those associated with the judicial and legislative departments in this country. You are seated there to make things easy for us, please do not complicate the process of justice for the ordinary people. We knock at your door for justice, please be a little more sincere towards your duties.
And I would want to tell all husbands and in-laws that when you bring a girl from a different house in your home, try to treat her the way you would want your daughters to be treated.
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Thanks Avantika. It was nice talking to you……