Category : Interviews
That’s Sudipta Mukherjee, author of “The Crossroads”.
Can you please introduce yourself to the world of literature?
I really don’t know how much or to what extent do I qualify in calling myself a part of this “world of literature.” But thank you for this honor that I am showered with. Literature flies with two wings; reading and writing. A reader: yes that’s what I am. An avid reader, who prefer company of books more than any human interaction. A writer: yes, there is one within me. A toddler, crawling, fumbling, desiring to stand. My life as a writer is still a bud, yearning for the sunshine, yet to bloom. The journey has just begun. Like every other writer, I too wish to be accepted, read, appreciated and loved. Remembered. At times critiqued. I too want my stories to cross societal barriers and geographical boundaries. A person sitting in his drawing room in Venezuela or Bosnia should read my stories, the way I read Isabella Allende’s or Marquez’s. There can be no better way of connecting the world than through stories. Man is mortal, one of the first sentences that I learned in childhood. The very basic of all learning. Now that I have been born, physically speaking that is, I know I will perish one day. What I truly desire is that my stories to live on… long after I shed my last breath.
When did you start writing?
My journey of words, that’s how I like to call it, started as a function of two factors, my life and my readings. It’s not that one fine morning I woke up, took a pen and some papers and started writing. It’s never that simple. Writing came to me gradually, like blossoming of a flower. Nobody sees a flower blooming. Perhaps the flower itself is also not aware of its magnificent transformation. But it’s there, and we know it’s there. Officially, my first work, “The Crossroads” was published in 2015. That was when the world began to read my story. But now that I am on this path, I don’t think I will ever call it a quit. Not in this life really.
When you published first?
“The Crossroads”, in 2015.
Describe Sudipta in day to day life.
Well, this question reminds me of the long and often boring (my teachers, please forgive me for this) essays that I had to write during my school days. Describe the life of a coin, or the life of a pen. Even better, one day in the life of a salesman. Too habitual, I used to think. The teachers ought to be more creative while choosing essays, I grumbled. Like a rainbow, may be. Or a doll that spoke. I apologize. Back then, I failed to realize that routine or mundane can also be interesting, if looked at in a different way. We don’t necessarily do the same job exactly in the same way every day. Do we? Other than brushing our teeth of course. There is always a difference, however imperceptible.
Sudipta, in day to day life is routine in a diverse and of course interesting way. I cook for my family, do groceries, buy spinach and potatoes, clean bathrooms, tidy up my house (I cannot stand a messy house), at times socialize, make calls to family and friends, care for my husband and daughter, load the washing machine, unload the dishwasher… the list goes on and on. In fact, other than watching television, I do everything. And I do it with joy, knowing and reminding myself that the interesting cocktail that we call life is after all a heterogeneous miscellany of innumerable elements. And each one of us has a different blend… that’s its beauty.
What are your hobbies apart from writing?
Let me correct it, writing is not my hobby. It’s my passion. Yes, talking about my hobbies, I love travelling… seeing all the magnificent and diverse colours of the world. That in itself is an achievement no less than any other accomplishments of life. I love cinema… the good ones. The thought provoking ones and not those, which titillate your nerves with meaningless comedy and fake stunts. Watching a good cinema makes me forget myself, totally, even if for a while. I love cooking… varied and interesting dishes. There are few pleasures that match with the absolute joy of feeding a loved one. Noticing the sparkle of delight in their eyes as their gustatory senses get caressed and satisfied.
Tell us more about your book.
About “The Crossroads”? Honestly, I can go on and on, endlessly with it… the story, the characters, the theme, the thought… etc etc. It never bores me. But I would request the readers to read it first hand, explore the story themselves, in their own way. I want my Aparajita and Aniruddha and Raunak to last in their minds. I wish them to fall in love with my characters, which unfortunately cannot happen second hand. There is no woman who will not love Raunak Gupta; and no man who will not adore Aparajita’s simplicity. After all, the true joy of knowing a story is by reading it oneself. There is no other way.
How do you manage your writing time?
Managing time in itself is a challenge, let alone writing time. It slips out of your hand much before you realize. I admit it’s really difficult to extract some serene hours from the day to think, to write. The world is so full of commotion and chaos, that it robs you of your peace. Peace that is pertinent to creative thinking.
I generally write at night. The nightly silence, the twinkling starts, the orb faced moon, all makes me contemplative. When half of the world sleeps, authors scribble. I need serenity to let my thoughts flow, to let words form and reform. I cannot breathe where there is too much of noise, unless of course when I am partying.
How important intimacy is in a relationship?
Intimacy is important. I don’t deny it. I dare not. The holistic pleasure of touching each other, in any form… cupping the hand, a pat on the shoulder, or even a kiss on the lips, is comforting. It gives you a sense of security. Even a child, just born, responds to touch. Is soothed by it, is lulled to sleep.
But a relation solely based on sexual needs is savage, sadistic. It is bound to fail. And it should. There is no exception.
One should have a deeper understanding of his/her partner, for a relationship to last and grow. It takes time, patience, respect, a great deal of maturity and perhaps many more, to handle a relationship. To make it last in a world that is so pathetically transient. It pains me to see the sorry state of relationships these days, especially prevalent among the youngsters. A typical relation starts with a “hi” or a “wave” and not too long after, ends with “Am blocking you… FUCK OFF”… all in one chat window. In this era of virtual socializing, real relationship is the first casualty.
Physical beauty is the reason for modern day relationship. What do you think?
Physical beauty is a gift, distributed randomly, and perhaps stupidly. Most beautiful people don’t deserve to be beautiful… or rather to be called beautiful. A lovely face often masks an ugly interior. These days, thanks to all the big brands… L’Oreal, MAC, Clinique, Bourjois… etc etc etc (I refrain from listing, because practically it is endless) too much important is given on looks. Perhaps more than it deserves. Cloak has become more important than the core. It shouldn’t be. Relationship based on the casing is fragile, is shallow. It lacks depth, and a spiritual bonding that is pertinent to any relation. Be it between two friends, or lovers or couples. It’s very interesting that men these days start a conversation saying… “You look gorgeous” or “You are very attractive”, as if looking gorgeous or being attractive is an achievement that deserves a sincere applause. And what makes the joke even more funny is, they think that women will be flattered by such compliments, and will be game. Nothing could be further from truth. If a man asks for my hand only because of my looks… gorgeous or attractive or whatever, I better not marry him at all. Beauty is much more than ones skin. It is the mind that matters, and not the mask.
Your favourite writer and why?
As I have reiterated earlier, in some of my previous interviews, I don’t have one favourite writer. It is my belief that all the works of any one writer cannot be equally good. It just cannot be. And so liking all the works of one particular writer is equally difficult. I am a big fan, rather a big lover of good story. It is always a story that captivates me, more than the story teller. I read all kinds of books (fiction, non-fiction, biographies, auto-biographies, metaphysics, spirituality…) written by authors from every corner of the world… Indian, Canadian, North American, Latin American, Turkish, English… etc. I apologies, I cannot list them all, because in that case the list itself will be longer than the write up.
What are your upcoming projects?
Well, there are quite a few. Two novels, a collection of short stories. And a few plays that I am currently working upon. Will publish them when the time is right.
Any tips for the upcoming generation.
Yes, a sincere request to unhook yourself from your mobile phones. The craziness that I see around… this selfie mania, and the obsession of remaining perpetually online, clicking and posting, even if, it’s not worth a look or a share, is literally ridiculous, if not idiotic. Use technology, don’t abuse it. Relationship is pertinent to life and not mobile phones. Real love is more important than fake sex chat. After all, a good many generations survived and flourished when the word “mobile” only meant movable or wandering, at best. And apple and blackberry were just fruits.
Had Einstein been hooked to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, who would have thought about the theory of relativity? Had Shakespeare constantly chatted with Milton in Messenger or WhatsApp, paradise would neither have been lost nor regained. And forget about Julius Caesar, Othello or Desdemona. The world would not have even known their names. Just think about it.
Sudipta in one sentence.
A writer by passion, a traveller by fascination, a loner by choice. (You said one sentence, so I restricted myself to one. Or else, as naturally I could go on and on).
Thank you Sudipta for honestly answering my questions. Wish you all the very best for future.
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