This time on Writeropedia Passionpreneur Interviews, we have author Sudipta Mukherjee, who entered the world of words with her fantastic novel ‘The Crossroads’.
Sudipta has a soul of the explorer. She loves music, reading soulful pieces, and a traveling to the places that leaves her enchanted for life. In her way of living, she is just like a peaceful hermit, walking on the road called life. She believes and nurtures her love for words to lead her to something greater, something which she is yearning to achieve through her fictional narrative.
Q.1 To begin the interview, we would like you to introduce your book, “The Crossroads” to our readers.
A girl, who loses herself to love.
A lover, who turns out to be a betrayer.
Friendship begins one stormy night.
Wisdom bred out of miseries.
Homecoming that completes one full cycle.
That’s The Crossroads for you.
Q.2 Define Life in 3 words.
Love, Passion, Karma.
Q.3 Author of a book at such a young age, how has the journey been like?
My journey has not been easy. It’s never meant to be. Why literary, do anything, anything worthwhile that is, and nobody will promise you an easy ride. And if any path comes with a pre-signed agreement which says all will be flowery and fragrant, that’s no journey at all. It is the difficulties of a journey, of any journey, that makes it real. That makes it worth perusing.
I have been through all the agonies and ecstasies that any author experiences in his lifetime. I don’t take any special pride in it; neither do I hide this fact. It comes with the creative life, and I have accepted it, the way one accepts his limbs or his grey eyes. I have learned my lessons and perused. I have stardust in my eyes, and dream in my mind; stories at my finger-tips, and an enthusiasm to tell it to the world.
Q.4 What are the major challenges you have faced during your writing journey, and how you overcame them?
Let me clarify, writing anything, whether a short story or a novel, is no challenge for me, but publishing is. And I believe that’s true for most of us.
Getting back to your question with respect to The Crossroads; if at all I faced any challenge, it was my personal inexperience as an author. And the lack of a guide or whatever you call it. Often I had a feeling of walking in a forest, helpless and lost. I knew the feeling was transient, I knew there was no man-eater, who would eat me. And yet I was anxious; anxious about not finding the light.
Overcome? Well, I move ahead, with one step and small step at a time. Not look back, and never stop. Slowly but steadily I move, like the tortoise of that old story. Of course there is no race to win; and there is no hare either competing with me. Only a desire to tell stories that fizzes in my heart; and a feeling of accomplishment when a reader admires it.
Q.5 Every writer remembers a book that opens a new world to them, which one is yours?
I remember each and every book that I read. But if you ask me point out one that had opened a world in front of me, it’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche.
Q.6 “The Crossroads” has been admired by the readers, what made you pen down this brilliant theme in the first place? Why you titled it as “The Crossroads”?
I have told this many times before, and yet it doesn’t bore me, that life is my biggest inspiration. Could there be anything more profound and more impactful than that? Any better teacher and inspirer than life? If there is one, please tell me.
Secondly, my reading habit influenced a lot in my writing endeavors. Books are my favourite companion. I can eat, sleep and live books. And I don’t need anything else, other than a cup of coffee, may be.
I titled my book as “The Crossroads” because that is relevant to the theme of the story. And the journey my protagonist, Aparajita, takes. How many of us have crossed a mile without meeting a crossroads? How many of us have reached so far in life without making choices?
Q.7 How does the young Sudipta spend her leisure?
Honestly speaking, I don’t have much leisure to spend. I wish I have, but unfortunately I don’t. Time is a great constrain for me, perhaps the greatest one. 24 hours is too short.
If I get lucky to scrap a sliver of time or leisure, as you said, I invest it in movies. I love cinema. That’s another of my true love.
Travelling is definitely a pleasure I indulge in, whenever I get a break; long or short. Every mile that I travel, every landscape that I behold transforms me, gives me new eyes to look at things.
Q.8 How long it took you to complete “The Crossroads”?
I have taken two years to complete the book, from start to finish. An unreasonable length of time, I admit, given the simplicity of the story. And it certainly doesn’t make me happy. Wish I could write it fast, but I couldn’t.
Q.9 Tell your readers about your writing process. From the beginning to the ending – how does it take place for you?
My writing process is quite erratic, I admit. Perhaps that’s the reason for the unaccountable delays in each of my books. I am a little indiscipline, as a writer I mean. When I read, I can’t and don’t write. When I write, I cannot read. My focus shifts. The entire permutation and combination of reading and writing is difficult to understand. Let us not muddle with it.
One thing that is constant and is resolutely persistent is my writing at night. I cannot write when there is sun. I prefer to write when the stars twinkle and the moon shines. Nightly silence soothes me, brings out the writer in me.
Talking about writing a particular story, I try to write a story that first comes to my mind, however simple, however stupid. I believe in organic creation and not engineering of stories. Too much of structuring and planning brings out robots for stories. It may be popular, it may sell well, but it’s mechanical, and lacks otherness, which is the most essential characteristic of a good story.
Q.10 When did you realize that you wanted to be an author and how you planned for it?
I am sorry if my answer disappoints you, but no divine intervention has been instrumental in my writing life. I mean, waking up one morning with an enlightened state of being… That happened for Tagore I think, but not for me. Oh how I wish it did!
Writing came to me much later in my life. Of course I used to write good essay’s during my school days (My English teacher would vouch for it, if at all she remembers them), but that was only to pass exams. To score better. There was no joy to it, other than seeing an A+ in red ink. Now when I write, as an author I mean, each line, each word, every punctuation, I feel joy; a sense of happiness in creating stories and characters, plots and scenes. It’s a kind of joy no words can describe. Only a writer can feel. And that joy, that happiness multiplies hundred thousand fold when an audience reads it and admires.
Every time I have that manipulative desire to plan, I remind myself that old saying. Man proposes God disposes. I tell myself, it’s not for me to plan. There is already a cosmic plan in place, good and proper, functioning since the beginning of time. And will last until the end of time. Not a day off in between. I am too puny to plan anything against such celestial master plan. I write my story, drink my wine, and when exhausted I sleep. I refrain from getting into the obnoxious complications of proposing and planning.
Q.11 As a writer, how would you like to inspire the budding writers to plan their life?
Although we share the common entity called life, but each one of us has a different one. We are born with different skillset, we dwell in different circumstances, we overcome different obstacles. To think of it, the differences are too many and too huge to chalk down or even to classify.
That be the case, when unending variety is the basis, one formula of inspiration that would apply to everybody is a difficult idea to fathom, if not impossible. Each one has his own journey to make, big or small, literary or otherwise. And anybody else in your journey is an outsider, an intruder.
Live life your own way: that is the only advice I give to anybody. Plan it methodically, or play with it gingerly; play it hard or play it safe… it’s entirely your ball game. You are the coach and you are the player, you are the opponent and you are the audience. You are the game itself, and I am a no one but an intruder. Hence don’t listen to what I say. Do it your own way whatever you have to do. But yes, have the courage to pay the price, if you have done it wrong.
Q.12 What would be the best life as per you?
Happiness and contentment; the rest are subjective and of little consequence. If you are happy, if you are content, then I think you have it all, you need not look for more. And that’s the best life, at least in my opinion. Because success, not necessarily guarantees happiness, nor does it endorse a life time of content. Success is like a blink, while happiness is the eternal glow that enlightens your face. Happiness makes life worth living.
Q.13 Which writing field excites you the most and why?
I think any good writing excites me. The point is to learn, whatever the source is. Learning comes from reading and reading exhaustively. Be it fiction, autobiography, biography, spirituality, metaphysics… I mean the genre does not matter as long as I am learning. Since I write fiction, I tend to read fiction more, but in general, book fascinates me. Knowledge appeals me in a way nothing does.
Q.14 Today’s Authors fail badly at marketing their book to the world, but you have made it nice with “The Crossroads”. Any takeaway for them.
As the masters say, it’s 99% hard work and 1% destiny. I buy it with my last penny. No takeaway message, so shortcut tips, no success mantra. Work, work, and more work. Success is bound to come, and kiss you straight on your lips. There isn’t another way.
Q.15 What have you in store for the readers next? Would you like to tell your fans what they should be looking forward to?
Quite a few actually; a collection of short stories, two novels, a few plays, a novella. Will release them in due course.
Q.16 Any take on Writeropedia website and platform?
Yes, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Writeropedia for this interview, for the confidence they showed on me. I feel extremely privileged to be contacted by Nikhil, the Co-Founder of Writeropedia. Very big thanks to you! It’s an honor.
Writeropedia is a great platform with amazing services. I wish them success with all my sincerity.
Thank you for your time.