Happy New Year


2015 is arguably (if I can find anyone to argue! :p) the most eventful year of my life. The year started with me gluing my face over GATE preparation books with almost 8 hours of continuous study a day. Also, it was my final year of graduation; so it was a bit emotional. Frankly, I had no serious plan to write anything. I had only written two short leisurely stories in my 20 years of life. I had one friend in my college who was also writing stories and was doing quite good (Biswadeep 😉 ). So, while preparing for exams, I started peeking into different kind of books (till then, I never choose to read any book. Whatever came in my way, or whatever our library had, I read). Till February, I couldn’t write anything.

But after exams gone, I found myself free to do whatever I want. So, I wrote one or two stories and sent them to few anthologies (remember, I didn’t have much connections then and I had to follow Biswa and few of his friends’ profiles to find the contests.) It (my story) got selected and from then, I gained confidence and kept writing more.

After that, strange things happened. I got okay marks in GATE and decided to drop a year to prepare again, because I had high ambitions. I even started going to coaching classes and refused the job I got from campus placement. But then unexpectedly, one day I received an appointment letter for research post in a project at IIT Kharagpur. I came here and started working on interesting things.

Now I have six anthologies published, a blog with 3000 views, administration to a facebook page of 7k plus likes, attendance to a book launch of which I am a part of (with authors I admire and from whom I’ve learned many things). I’ve met wonderful people from both technology and writing background, few of whom have become very good friends from whom I can seek help at 2 A.M. I am starting 2016 with better visibility of what I want to do in future and a mix feeling of fear and confidence about what I am going to do.

Thank you for everything 2015 and a very happy new year to you all.

Interview with Aditi Bose


Me: How are you feeling?

Aditi: I feel like a frozen icicle. Delhi’s getting darn cold slowly. Jokes apart, I’m currently in a content state. Things seem to be on the right track. So I am not complaining.

Me:Yes, it’s quite cold in here too. Let’s start with a conventional question. Tell us something about yourself.

Aditi: I am a mother. This is what will always come first. The rest follow – writer, swimmer, shopper, foodie, and an utter romantic.

Me: When did you start writing & what/who inspired you to begin writing?

Aditi: I have been writing for a very long time. As a child I used to write my personal diary and a travel journal. Writing a novel is a recent entrant though.
My parents and the stories they told me are an inspiration. My child is too – when you have to tell a kid a new story every night, there is no choice but to keep your creative juices flowing.

Me: What did you like to read in your childhood?

Aditi: Enid Blyton and more Enid Blyton. A few years later I was hooked onto Satyajit Ray’s Feluda series.

IMG_20151211_172903_edit

Me: Feluda is my favorite. I have read every story of Feluda in my childhood days. 🙂 So, who is your favorite Author? Anything specific that keeps you hooked to his/her writing?

Aditi: I like reading a plethora of authors. Usually the story line and the book cover is what attracts my attention. But, in general, I like Danielle Steele and the poignancy that she brings up in her stories.

Me: Oh, I see. What is your current book about? Can you tell us something about it?

Aditi: My Dream Man explores the changing relationship between a professor and his student. I don’t think I want to divulge any further.

Me: How have you conceived the idea about writing this book?

 

Aditi: Ideas just come to me suddenly – out of the blue. This one also just happened.

IMG_20151215_120909_edit

Me: Could you tell us something about the main character of your current book?

Aditi: The female protagonist is a vivacious Bengali girl and the professor, who is twelve years older to him, is a mature and calm person.

Me: Tons of other books are being published every day out there. What makes this book different and attractive for a reader?

Aditi: Because it has been written by an attractive lady! (Giggles). Jokes apart, I think the teacher-student relationship in a romance plus the kind of twist that it has hasn’t been experimented with yet.

Me: That seems interesting. It is said that a writer should always read a lot, do you agree? Does it influence one’s writing? How do you avoid the influence & maintain the flow?

Aditi: The words should / have to doesn’t apply to writers. We are a bunch of creative people and we do what we like. For some reading works and for some staring into open space does.

If one were to read only a single author’s writing then it is likely that some influence would brush off. As for avoiding influence, there’s really no need to avoid it. Every writer, eventually, always finds his own style coming out.

Me: Do you follow a special regime to write? And how do you go about writing every day?

Aditi: The only regime that I follow is that I need to feel happy and energetic. When I do I can write even an entire chapter in an hour. But when I’m tired or upset I can’t get the words out of me. So there are days at a stretch when I give myself a break without feeling guilty about it. And I never set myself goals like ‘X words in X days’ etc.  I write when I feel like.

Me: Do you like to plot and plan everything beforehand or just let your writing lead you though the story?

Aditi: I have the basic plot in mind. That’s it. Names of characters, incidents, the twists everything happens as I write.

Me: You are a management graduate. Does it help you in your writing career? 

Aditi: Nope. But, having an MBA degree, being a good student, and being an alumna of well known educational institutes in the country does give me a sense of self pride.

Me: When you sit to write, how do you create the flow/mood to keep writing without getting disturbed?

Aditi: I don’t create because I can’t. I have my responsibilities which I need to fulfil. So I just avoid times when disturbances are high. So till I know I can get some silent time in the house I stay away from writing.

Me: Do you see yourself exploring other genres like crime thriller or fantasy?

Aditi: Fantasy maybe. But in the distant future, if ever. The only other genre I like writing is tales for kids. My first book – an ebook – was a collection of short stories for children – ‘Hama-Guri goes to School’.

Me: What is, according to you, are some of the traits of a successful writer (be it’s a blog writer or a fiction/non-fiction writer)?

Aditi: When a writer can write without thinking how much royalty he will be getting, he’s a successful writer.

Me: Well put. In what position do you see yourself five years from now?

Aditi: The mother to an almost teenage daughter! (Laughs)

Me: 🙂 She is lucky to have a mother like you. What do you like to do when you are not writing or reading?

Aditi: Sketching, swimming, being with my kid, Whatsapping.

Me: New Year is around. Do you want to give any message to our readers?

Aditi: It is easy to make promises to oneself and even easier to break it. Don’t do that in 2016. Have smaller goals if need be, but live upto it.

Me: Thank you so much, it’s a pleasure interviewing you. Tell us when your book is going to be released and where can one find it? 

Aditi: My Dream Man is already on the stands. You can order it from Amazon or PustakMandi. It will be on Flipkart soon.

IMG_20151215_120234

Me: Also, if you are okay with it, how can someone get in touch with you?

Aditi: They can follow me on FB or on Twitter.

So folks, that’s all about Aditi and her book, The Dream Man. From her words, it seems intriguing. Watch this space for more interviews and discussions. Thank you for reading. ❤

—-interviewed by Anirban Nanda.

How it is possible to read more than one book at the same time.


As a voracious reader and an ambitious writer, I am member of many book-clubs where we share what we are reading and discuss it. So, when I say that I am reading 3 books at a time, people get surprised and ask how it is possible to do so and still not mix up themes and characters.

First of all, it’s not a matter of pride for reading more than one book at a time. People who read one book at a time normally plunge themselves in the book and become lost into it, which is a great thing and truly depicts how one should enjoy a book.

But as for me, like many others, who reads many books at a time gets a different experience, neither superior nor inferior to the previous case.

Let’s get to point about how someone does read a lot of books at a time, let me tell you from my own experiences. I am currently reading Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy; all of which are well respected. Each of these has separate plot, themes, styles and characters. As a writer who doesn’t say he earns his bread by writing, he has to go through separate realms of life-styles/thinking processes; for example: a writer who also works as an accountant has to be a good serviceman, good reader, good husband, friend etc etc. So many personalities where you are supposed to think separately and behave accordingly. Do they mix these up? This is the source for me to find the reason of my reading many books at a time. While I am reading the story of Caulfield I am thrown into different world and different tone and while I am reading Elizabeth Costello’s story which revolves around struggles of a writer at old age, I see a new style and premise and a lot more though provoking literature. But I do not mix them up because I do not read them as a reader, rather I read them to find the tricks the author is using in his writing. I do not get surprised/delighted to face a plot twist, I normally get drawn to a novel solely because of the writing style and set up and how the writer is building the whole plot. I do get lost into the stories but on some level, I’m also aware of the techniques the author is using.

That’s is most probably the case with me. I don’t know if I am able to make myself clear enough, but right now, this is all I can think of (and blogging because the thought is tormenting me).

Review: Voices of the Silent Creek by Vikkas Arun Pareek


The book ‘Voices of the Silent Creek’ tries to bring out raw truth about women hidden behind the curtains of big houses and how knowing their situation, people choose to keep their mouth shut. The hypocrisy of people calling themselves supporter of women empowerment will strike you fiercely in this novel. A very different attempt for a debut novel and definitely deserves a round of applause.

A1KToXteVML

While you are wondering what creek (meaning a narrow waterway) represents in a novel on women, let me assure you, it’s just a symbolic or abstract object where many important conversations, solitary quests happens (with most of the characters, be it Shanti or Bhano.)

As I do not want to brood more on the content, making this review hugely spoiled, I’ll switch to literary aspects of it i.e. language, characterization and presentation.

The book starts off well, with sparks of talent showing through words:

She sat on one of the hillocks facing the creek, her face red with fury, when she heard some noise. Someone was looking at her. She saw him—he was looking at her—he kept looking at her—she looked away. Bhano looked again. He was still looking at her. Bhano stopped and marched towards him. He was surrounded by boys of his age group. She looked at him, at first she wanted to pinch him, her teacher had taught her that if a boy teased her, she should pinch them on the upper arm, it hurts most there and they will run away, she had never tried it as boys in her school were all nice to her, but then she looked at him and she was not sure why she resisted herself, it was a new feeling for her, she had never felt this way. He was taller than her and was very fair, fairer then her, had large eyes and long hair. She was confused and she couldn’t decide what to do next but all his friends were looking at her—she felt nervous, she felt scared, and she felt a sudden urge to run back.

This clearly establishes that the author has written this piece very passionately, giving attention to minor details, and therefore, making the novel richer. But as I progressed, the tone and excitement of the author seemed to falter a bit and became mundane. Like the following:

An old lady got on a crowded bus and no one bothered to lend her a seat, and while Arti, being a young able woman, left her seat for the old lady. Firstly, I don’t understand why Arti was surprised that no man left the seat while being a woman; she had to do the same. While calling about equal rights and feminism (which, by the way, is a misnomer), you shouldn’t differentiate responsibility of a citizen in a situation like this. Arti was perfectly healthy and strong lady, and I find it unfair for her being surprised/angry for men sitting around her. On the other hand, I’d not expect such a response after doing that:

 Arti looked outside the door. It would now be a few hours before she would sit again, but she felt happy. A tear rolled down her left cheek. She was happy. She promised to herself that she will always do the right things in her life.

This is over-reaction.

Sometimes, while imposing hard punishment to characters, author should judge the realistic possibility of doing the same. Moron husband married Shanti though he loved Laxmi and while questoning the insanity of it, Shanti was punished like:

“Then why have you married me, why haven’t you married Laxmi?” she looked into the eyes of her husband and asked.

She was slapped hard twice, and kicked a dozen times as a response.

Kicking a dozen times seems another over-reaction.

But author also experimented here and there a bit like this: lover kissing and talking:

“uoorr eilps rar foft hn oose,” Arti said inside his mouth.

Good one. But what about this:

Once inside the room, Arti pushed Amol and he fell on the bed,“What were you thinking, you dog!”

“You wanted it.”

“I now want this,” Arti slid her hands inside her tee and pulled it off.

“What are you doing, this is your home.” Amol jumped off the bed.

“Why? You fucked me in front of the whole college and you can’t do it here?” Arti moved closer and kissed him.

I leave a conversation like this to the romance readers (because I’m not expert in romance) to decide whether it is apt. But the ‘f-word’ and ‘dog’ are, I think, used to express naughtiness of their relationship.

Another thing: while raining, Shanti (married) and Mano (mad and infertile thanks to her benevolent in-law’s treatment) went to dance in roof and a moment like is very tender. I expected a more matured and expert treatment to it.

An admirable material in writing is the way the author makes his readers glued to the story. I clap for that.

To be clear of any confusion, as a reviewer, which I fear to proclaim myself, this one is well above average books published out there every day. Maybe J.M. Coetzee or Thomas Hardy, whose books I have been happen to be devouring, have veiled my mind with a messy amalgamation of art, and thus making this book deprived of the appreciation it may deserve. So, with no qualms and circling through strange alleys of literature, I’ll stick to my perceived view of the book, no matter how much it (my perception) is ‘polluted’. This is the obvious reason for which I do not want to rate it on a scale of 5.

In conclusion, I feel the author has written a very important book and I give him a pat on the back for that, but somewhere I have felt that, he also has misused the bleak, sensitive situation to strengthen the bleakness of the novel (which I’ve never felt in bleak books like Midnight’s Children, A Fine Balance or Sleeping on Jupiter).

 

Thank you for reading. ❤

Discussion: The Perks of Being a Wallflower


6e62c584-fa7b-4948-985f-148bc23f470f

Lately, though I have watched the movie, I picked up the book ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ which, literary critics categorize by a fancy name bildungsroman; meaning books that concentrate on the vulnerability and transformation during teenage years of a person.

I am sitting to write this post entirely out of urge to discuss a book like this which specifically tries to decipher all the perks of becoming an adult from a teenager. So, this is not a review to be clear (and hence it contains spoilers).

images

So, we have an introvert, sensitive (very) boy who tries to adapt himself for high-school mindset. I didn’t like ‘Catcher In The Rye’ (don’t know why) but I seem to like this one very much. The major reason for that might be huge similarity between Charlie (that’s the boy) and I. Though I am more emotionally attached to Stephen in ‘A Portrait of the Artist As a Young man‘ by Joyce (I’ll come to that later sometime). Charlie really sucks at building relationship with opposite sex and he falls in love pretty soon after meeting Sam. Sam is a very realistic girl, much older and already in a relationship. She understands Charlie’s attraction to her, and she tries to make sense to him like this:

And I felt good that those were the first two words that I ever typed on my new old typewriter that Sam gave me. We just sat there quiet for a moment, and she smiled. And I moved to the typewriter again, and I wrote something.

“I love you, too.”

And Sam looked at the paper, and she looked at me.

“Charlie… have you ever kissed a girl?”

I shook my head no. It was so quiet.

“Not even when you were little?”

I shook my head no again. And she looked very sad.

She told me about the first time she was kissed. She told me that it was with one of her dad’s friends. She was seven. And she told nobody about it except for Mary Elizabeth and then Patrick a year ago. And she started to cry. And she said something that I won’t forget. Ever.

“I know that you know that I like Craig. And I know that I told you not to think of me that way. And I know that we can’t be together like that. But I want to forget all those things for a minute. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“I want to make sure that the first person you kiss loves you. Okay?”

“Okay.” She was crying harder now. And I was, too, because when I hear something like that I just can’t help it.

“I just want to make sure of that. Okay?”

“Okay.”

And she kissed me. It was the kind of kiss that I could never tell my friends about out loud. It was the kind of kiss that made me know that I was never so happy in my whole life.

These is a very tender way of handling such situation and I love the way it’s executed.

It’s tender because from the beginning I’m telling Charlie is vulnerable, too vulnerable to grasp a situation like following:

After a few minutes, the boy pushed the girl’s head down, and she started to kiss his (). She was still crying. […] I had to stop watching at that point because I started to feel sick, but it kept going on, and they kept doing other things, and she kept saying “no.” Even when I covered my ears, I could still hear her say that.My sister came in eventually to bring me a bowl of potato chips, and when she found the boy and the girl, they stopped.

My sister was very embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as the girl. The boy looked kind of smug. He didn’t say much. After they left, my sister turned to me.

“Did they know you were in here?”

“Yes. They asked if they could use the room.”

“Why didn’t you stop them?”

“I didn’t know what they were doing.”

“You pervert,” was the last thing my sister said before she left the room, still carrying the bowl of potato chips.

[…]

“He raped her, didn’t he?”

She just nodded. I couldn’t tell if she was sad or just knew more things than me.

“We should tell someone, shouldn’t we?”

And I was disturbed to read this part, and was quite in doubt if the author did justice to a situation like this. But the way author let him grasp those things is admirable.

There are other situations, which I think, is impossible to come up out of imagination.

When I was done reading the poem, everyone was quiet. A very sad quiet. But the amazing thing was that it wasn’t a bad sad at all. It was just something that made everyone look around at each other and know that they were there. Sam and Patrick looked at me. And I looked at them. And I think they knew. Not anything specific really. They just knew. And I think that’s all you can ever ask from a friend.

Such things couldn’t be written unless the author himself went through them, and though I have not done the required research, I strongly believe Stephen Chbosky in some way, in some time, was involved with similar situations in his early life(it is further reassured by the fact that he has not written anything else since).

The foundation of the path of transformation of being prepared for the hard future of Charlie mostly laid by books and a teacher like Bill. Reading classics and cultivating ideas by writing essays on them is an effective way of developing character and moral basis of any teenager/person.

In later part of the novel, Charlie is forced to be involved in an one-sided relationship with Sam’s best friend and he, in an inappropriate moment chooses to kiss Sam instead of his existing girlfriend, and jeopardizes every relation between him and everyone. He finds himself dangling in between an un-achievable love and unwanted love; thus alienating himself from every friend of his, he goes through a nervous breakdown.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Ph: John Bramley © 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

At the end he became friends with everyone again via few fortunate and/or critical moments.

But this teaches us an important lesson: everything heals with time. Also, there are few golden moments like when Patrick is being mocked and insulted by his homosexual partner for saving himself from public shame, Charlie interfere and saves Patrick from a disgraceful scene.

The above scene turns Charlie into Patrick’s closest friend at near end and Patrick tries to kiss him in an intimate situation to which, Charlie doesn’t protest. I like to quote what to be learned here:

“Charlie, you’re missing the point. The point is that I don’t think you would have acted different even if you did like Mary Elizabeth. It’s like you can come to Patrick’s rescue and hurt two guys that are trying to hurt him, but what about when Patrick’s hurting himself? Like when you guys went to that park? Or when he was kissing you? Did you want him to kiss you?”I shook my head no.“So, why did you let him?”

“I was just trying to be a friend,” I said.

“But you weren’t, Charlie. At those times, you weren’t being his friend at all. Because you weren’t honest with him.”

But at the same time, we can’t be just shoulders to cry on when we want something more. If we love someone, we should go and try to get it. It’s important to note that I said ‘try’; not persuade. Sometimes, we can’t get things because we never attempt to have them, out of generosity or assumption.

I said, “Well, I thought a lot of things. But mostly, I thought that your being sad was much more important to me than Craig not being your boyfriend anymore. And if it meant that I would never get to think of you that way, as long as you were happy, it was okay. That’s when I realized that I really loved you.”

She sat down on the floor with me. She spoke quiet.“Charlie, don’t you get it? I can’t feel that. It’s sweet and everything, but it’s like you’re not even there sometimes. It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”

“Like what?” I asked. My mouth was dry.

“I don’t know. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want. Like on the dance floor, did you want to kiss me?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Then, why didn’t you?” she asked real serious.

“Because I didn’t think you wanted me to.”

“Why did you think that?”

“Because of what you said.”

“What I said nine months ago? When I told you not to think of me that way?”

the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-freedom1

Nearing the end, I can only say that, Charlie has already achieved maturity when he thinks:

The party at Craig’s was great. Craig and Peter bought champagne to congratulate all the people who were graduating. And we danced. And we talked. And I saw Mary Elizabeth kissing Peter and looking happy. And I saw Sam kissing Craig and looking happy. And I saw Patrick and Alice not even care that they weren’t kissing anybody because they were too excited talking about their futures.

By the way, it has left me dubious about existence of persons like Sam and Patrick.

Now, about the ‘A Portrait’ by Joyce:

You’ll get another article like this soon enough.

Thanks for reading. ❤