Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Discussion with Chirajit Paul

Reading "The Fragrance of Rose - Beauty, Dignity, Ambition" was a pleasure. The author of the book, Mr Chirajit_Paul is with us to tell us how he created this master-piece. Those who have missed the review check click here.

Can you brief our readers about your educational and professional background?
I am a Chartered Accountant by training, system integration specialist by profession. I started my career in an accounting firm, then I joined the manufacturing industry as a finance executive. Later I got exposed to IT, since then I have doing that. 
What were you like at school/college apart from studies? 
Nothing significant. I loved to paint and I was also pretty good at that. We had painting exhibitions at school where I participated and won appreciation. While I was in college I wrote poetry and few short stories in Bengali. But none of those were serious attempts into that art-form.
Can you tell our readers about your reading habit?
Yes, I read a lot. My favourite authors are Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie. Both of them creates magic with words. I also like Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories; she can touch very fine emotions.  
Can you tell us about your journey of becoming writer? When did you started writing? And when did that the aspiration became strong enough to bring the writer out?
My first writing as I said was in college, in Bengali. After that many years later in form of a novel, that also was more accidental than planned. After I had self-published my first novel – The Obituary of Salim Nabi, I found people liking the story, which kind of encouraged me to write more. My first novel was accidental which I wrote because I was getting bored sitting in a foreign land alone with nothing to do after office. I was not good at making friends, so I had to do something by myself. Initially I started reading, then writing as well.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
I love to write about serious things without compromising on the entertainment factor. I see myself as an issue based author for the thinking reader who also loves to experiment with his subjects and genres. 
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Throughout the day I am usually busy with my day job. I write between 11 pm and 1 am on weekdays and almost the whole of Sunday.
What have you written so far?
The Fragrance of Rose is my second book. It revolves around the subject of sexual harassment at workplace. My first book is The Obituary of Salim Nabi which deals with a sensitive political subject. Both are novels. 
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
The Fragrance of Rose is about a beautiful young woman, Rinita Bose, who encounters sexual harassment at workplace. The story not only talks about how she deals with it, also how she takes advantage of it to further her goals until she realizes that she had fallen into her own trap. It definitely carries a social message. The message goes out to all the working ladies – that you need to speak out and shame the perpetrator of such crimes. If you are not doing that or if you are striking a compromise for any material benefit, you are not only doing a disservice to the society, but also causing a lot of damage to yourself.  
Give us an insight into your main characters. 
Rinita Bose is the protagonist. The story revolves around her. Other main characters are: Chaitali Mukherjee and Mahesh Jha - both her childhood friends, Arindam Mukherjee – her boss at her first job at a 24*7 news channel, Souvik – her colleague at her first job turned friend, Priyanshu Agarwal – Rinita’s boyfriend, Hemant Thapa – Rinita’s friend at her second job at a tea garden in Darjeeling, Vasant Dariyanani – movie producer in Mumbai, Shahid Khan – Rinita’s friend and movie director
Where did you get idea for this book?
The idea came to me from the various stories my wife told me about her own experiences and those of her friends and colleagues at work. She is a journalist and at that time she used to work for a 24*7 news channel. 
How much research did you do for this book?
I did a considerable research on the situation of sexual harassment against women at workplace in India before starting to write.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? 
The protagonist automatically becomes the favourite character because one writes about him/ her. I also like Shahid Khan’s character. He is a man of principles who has an upright spine.
Who is your least favorite character and why? 
I don’t think an author can ever have a least favourite character. Still as Arindam is the main villain, we can consider him.
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book?
As a man to get into the mind of a woman and write from her perspective was the most challenging thing. I wanted to take up this challenge that is why I chose this subject. 
If book was published 6 months before this conversation you can also tell us number of books sold/distributed with critic and overall ratings.I am told by the publisher that it is doing well though exact figures are difficult to get. Amazon and Goodreads reviews suggest that readers have loved it.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am writing a dark comedy which will question our beliefs in god and religion.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I do not like to write about the same subject again and again. Thus, currently I do not have plans of writing a series. I have many fresh ideas which I want to pen down first. If I run out of ideas, I will think of it.  
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
I can share what I have learnt the hard way
  • Reading is essential. One cannot improve on writing unless he reads. Read different authors because you will not know whose style you get to like more. If you do not have the time to read through the whole book read the first 100 pages.  
  • You will have to hook the reader within the first 10 pages. So, start with an exciting situation, anything that will force the reader to read further. 
  • Usage of bombastic language puts off the reader rather than impress them. It is better to keep the language simple. At the same time keep in mind that you are creating literature, not reporting for a newspaper. Thus experimentations with words, phrases or style will help.  
  • There is nothing more important than content. Try to write something which has never been written. Who thought that mythological fiction can sell in India? Amish did the experiment and see what he has achieved. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I dedicated this novel to my wife as without her help it would not have been possible for me to write it. I will be happy if this book will raise some awareness and help us to improve the working conditions for women, so that years later when my four year old daughter will enter the professional world, she will find a better and cleaner workplace. Apart from raising awareness on the issue I have pledged the profits from the book to NGOs who are working to support victims of sexual harassment win a legal battle and restore a dignified life.  
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