My story of writing fiction
Everything in my life can be traced to my mother – including my fiction! The long ‘back story’ of my fiction writing has a lot to do with her – with her instilling in me a fascination for stories as a child; sharing with me her love of literature, music and all things beautiful; and bringing me up in a home whose most prized possession were its books. But more than anything else, it has to do with her relentless faith in me as a writer and her urging me never to give up my creative impulse. In this, she has led by example – by publishing a book of fiction, Mukh-Michhil (in Bangla), at the age of 70!
Though I have read fiction all my life and dreamt of being an author ever since my college days, I gave priority to my academic ambitions and the business of earning a living in my 20s, starting to write fiction only in 2005. The incentive came in the form of a Creative Writing Workshop with my teenage idol Amitav Ghosh, organized and co-conducted by Prof. Rimi B. Chatterjee at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, which I greatly enjoyed being a part of and learnt a lot from, the principal lesson being that I can write fiction! It was a turning point in my life and I am indebted to that workshop for bringing it about.
Years later, in another life in a different continent, I would do another – with Amal Chatterjee and Jane Draycott in Amsterdam, in 2013. The first had started off my fiction writing; this other gave me the impetus to complete my collection of shorts, Gariahat Junction. In between, thanks to the irrepressible Dipika Mukherjee, I became part of a writing group in Amsterdam (‘Mezrab’, ‘Zolder’, ‘Genre Fiction Group’ and ‘The Write Club’ being its various avatars), which helped me immensely in writing my fiction.
I am indebted to the members of the group/s for their critique, their friendship and solidarity, without which the writing experience would have been so much harder for me. I am also very grateful to a small band of loyal readers among my family and friends, whose encouragement has meant a lot to me.
And a special thanks goes to Kunal Basu for being an inspiration and a role-model for me for over a decade, when I was trying to find my voice. I still am…!
Manuscript Gariahat Junction
I am now seeking representation for Gariahat Junction; and have also started working on my second book of fiction, an epistolary novel set in the 1980s.
A story from Gariahat Junction -‘Imaginary Battles’ – was published online in September 2014 by Lebowski Publishers. The title story came out in the April 2017 issue of ‘The Punch Magazine’; and a third (‘The Housewife’) was published in the Summer 2017 issue of ‘Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal’.
I have also done two readings from my manuscript: at the American Book Centre (ABC), Amsterdam, in December 2014, at their monthly ‘Meet My Book’ event, an initiative to support the English writing community there; and at the ‘UKNA – Urban Asia presentation series’ at IIAS, Leiden, in October 2016.