An accidental Author

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Writing: Destiny or Choice?

I am an accidental writer. Authorship may have been ordained, but never planned. Though I had penned much desultory poetry in school and college, they remained lost betwixt the pages of notebooks and scraps of misplaced paper.  The first short story ‘The God of a Lesser Child’ would have remained forgotten in a computer folder, had not a friend forced me to submit it for a contest where it was selected and published in an anthology.

Though the Jesuits in my school in Jamshedpur, where I hail from, had inculcated a love for the English language and I had participated in public speaking and theatre, a career had to be a toss-up between the safe choices of medicine and engineering. So, post my mechanical engineering and an MBA at IIM Bangalore, I spent 17 years plus in multinational banks, trying to navigate the world of finance. Tired and disillusioned in 2005, I decided to take a leap of faith. I quit a well-paid corporate job and set up Bridgepoint Solutions Pvt Ltd, a learning solutions company in Chennai. It was only in 2014 that I began writing.

The Writing Journey

One of my short stories got picked up by Sudha Murty for her anthology, another by Ravinder Singh for his. Emboldened, when the Write India competition kicked off somewhere in 2015 under the aegis of the Times of India, I attempted most of the prompts. Write India, as many may be aware, is the country’s largest (and perhaps the world’s) platform for crowd-sourced short story writing in conjunction with famous authors, which has completed three seasons now. It has become very much of a literary movement and has inspired many like me to allow their bottled stories within to flow on paper. Some of my entries were successful, most weren’t (in terms of making the cut to the top 10 for by an author) but by the end of the third season, my stories had been selected by the likes of Amitav Ghosh, Ashwin Sanghi, Nayantara Sahgal, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Tuhin Sinha and Vivek Shanbhag for their respective prompts. More importantly I had over 30 short stories. “It happens- Stories of Human Relationships” is a selection of many of these stories.

I enjoy writing about human relationships and this anthology is an immersive collection about people and their interactions that define the world we live in, either themselves or in the manner they influence us.

It perhaps is strange that as we go through life, little do we realise the number, complexity, levels, and nuances of relationships which we experience. Some are deeply enriching, some not so, yet all unfailingly teach us invaluable life lessons.

It is also quaint perhaps, that as we go through life, savouring the variety of relationships, our roles keep changing; not just in the moniker that society bestows upon us, but also in the manner, responsibility and truthfulness with which we honour them.

Simple or complex, in ties of blood or otherwise, this anthology explores myriad hues of human relationships dealing with various themes of love, deception, humanity, incest, alternate sexuality, revenge, nemesis, ethical dilemma, fatalism and much more.

I am indeed blessed that this anthology has been blessed by the endorsements on my writing style by the stellar stars of the literary firmament such as Amitav Ghosh, Ashwin Sanghi and by Vinita Dawra Nangia, Executive Editor, Author and Columnist with The Times of India, Director Write India. I pray that I am worthy enough of their kind words and never let them down.

I have two completed novels in commercial fiction and am looking at getting these published. And yes, many ideas continue to jostle within in Brownian motion seeking a chance to express themselves.

The Writing Pursuit

Writing to me is an extremely lonely and tenacious pursuit. One needs a high degree of discipline and the dogged resolution to stay the course and belt out those words. And it doesn’t help that years of corporate life have conditioned me to work best only when there is a deadline! The other problem I face is that creativity is not an inexorable flow. To me it is a ketchup bottle. At times, you keep shaking and thumping and nothing emerges and then suddenly there is a deluge. You may want to ride the tide, but the chances are that everyday chores or your work may deny you this. I do however try and research the story, the premise, the plot, and an engaging character conflict.

Famous last words!

If you are a new writer or aspire to become one, ensure that you have an otherwise secure professional engagement. For writing and becoming a success is a gamble, which may or may not reimburse you for your efforts. Even once you believe that you have created your magnum opus, you will find few takers. Everyone wishes to get published traditionally by a large name. That path is tortuous, interminably long, and frustrating, though we do console ourselves and retain hope that many greats had multiple rejections too! If one is unwilling to take this path, alternatives of self- publishing or vanity publishing exist. If you are convinced about your work, you must put it out there.

 

Bhaswar Mukherjee denies generalization and calls himself an accidental writer. With eleven contributions to various anthologies and his solo book of short stories “it happens-Stories of Human Relationships”, Bhaswar’s writing has been endorsed by the stellar stars of the literary firmament such as Amitav Ghosh, Ashwin Sanghi and Vinita Dawra Nangia. His contribution ‘Leap of Faith’ featured in ‘Crossed and Knotted’ (Readomania), India’s first composite novel, a Limca Book of Records entry.

A Mechanical Engineer and an MBA from IIM Bangalore, Bhaswar has had an extremely successful track record of over 17 years with multinational banks in India. He quit in 2005 to set up Bridgepoint Solutions, a Learning Solutions company in Chennai. A member of the Rotary Club of Madras, Bhaswar is interested in vocational services and he is passionate about theatre, having acted and directed in many and is into distance running.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author.

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