This interview was published @ Isahitya
An engineer by profession, Soumitro Chatterjee has come up with his debut novel ‘I am still committed’ which was released this month. Based on true incidences of his life, his book has gone into reprint in a span of just seven days. Soumitro is not just a writer and an engineer, he has a heart of gold and is actively associated with AID-Prayas, Noida. AID- Prayas is an NGO that works for the education of kids of slum in Noida.
Here Soumitro talks about the experiences that made him turn into a writer.
(Interviewed by Harshita Srivastava)
Qus – How does it feel to hold your book in hand?
Soumitro – I was waiting for this moment since last 400days, so it had been a mixed feeling altogether. I was happy on one hand and emotional on the other. Every debutant feels the same; but as this book talks about my own life’s journey an additional emotion is attached to it.
Qus – How did writing come into existence in your life?
Soumitro – To be very frank the only reason why I started writing this novel was due to the failure and successes of my own life. Few memories of past was dominating my present. I wanted to speak out, I wanted to share and one fine day it sparked into my mind and henceforth, I started penning down all small incidents one after the other which finally gave the shape of “I Am Still Committed”
Qus- Being a debut author, what hardships you had to face while writing as well as getting your book published?
Soumitro – Indeed being a debutant it was not an easy task to come up with a novel. Since I have written Srishti publication’s name as my publisher in the acknowledgement page even before writing a single line, I have not responded to any other publishing houses from where I initially got positive responses. All I can say it was worth the wait!
Qus – Tell us something about your book.
Soumitro – This book talks about my entire journey about my college life, my memories with friends, those successes & failures, a job in the time of recession, getting everything yet ending up with nothing… In short anyone and everyone who had ever been to college can connect themselves very well and for the rest it would act as a guide.
Qus- How did you come up with the title of the book?
Soumitro – Initially the title was not this but my publisher suggested coming up with something different. With so many rejections and disagreements, one day while I was in the loo, this title “I Am Still Committed” hit me but the tag line “as hopes are yet to die” has been suggested by my elder brother Mr. Subir Chatterjee
Qus – This book is inspired by some true incidents in your life. How did you come up with his idea?
Soumitro – As I have already mentioned that there was no prior mindset or thought that I wanted to be an Author. Suddenly one day when I was unable to hold my memories, happiness, pain, success and failure I picked up my pen and started writing. From there onwards I never looked back until it became a reality as “I Am Still Committed”
Qus -Your book has gone into reprint in just seven days. How does it feel?
Soumitro – Frankly speaking I never thought or set a benchmark while writing this book but when I am getting reviews that the ghost incidents are making people scared and they are not able to sleep whole night…Those lines where I had hide my tears while penning down my emotion are making them cry, I can feel that I have started connecting to people’s heart. And about reprint it came as a big surprise for me and for that I am thankful to all my readers
Qus- Is there any message you would like to give through your novel?
Soumitro – Certainly! Whenever we lose something we usually give up or consider everything is over. But life is not what you lose rather than what you gain by losing something. I have tried to communicate this to people through my novel.
Qus- Is there any particular age group you are targeting?
Soumitro – No No, because there are few instances in the novel which every human being encounters in their respective lives. Due to the simple language used, it has attracted older people as well. I was pretty happy to receive feedback from my father, dean, and friend’s mother when they said they loved it. So I would say “I Am Still Committed” is for everyone.
Qus – Tell us something about yourself.
Soumitro – Professionally I am a Software Engineer and a ground level volunteer of AID-Noida. Writing has now become my passion. I am basically born & brought up at Dhanbad and then did my engineering from Chennai, Currently I am residing in Delhi due to my job at an IT MNC and I believe I still have miles to go before I sleep…
Qus – What are your future plans? Do you plan to take up writing on full time basis?
Soumitro – I have many dreams, few of which I want to keep within myself as of now. About full time writing I would say writing will always be my passion but won’t make it a profession.
Qus- What kind of reviews have you got for your book till now?
Soumitro – So far it’s being good. People have started connecting so well. The horror incidents of my college life are making people scared and all other emotions are equally felt by readers. As of now when I heard it’s already gone for a reprint I can assume people have started liking it. But I am looking forward to more positive and negative reviews
Qus- Are you working on a second novel?
Soumitro – I still have to do a lot of thing for “I Am Still Committed”. So I think it will be too early to jump on the second novel. Moreover, I want to work hard before coming up with my second novel
Qus – Who has been your source of inspiration?
Soumitro – For writing if I talk precisely success and failures of my own life are my inspiration but somewhere my father’s writing zeal came into me and inspired me of what I am today. Secondly my sister Suparna Chatterjee is nonetheless the one whom I admire a lot.
Qus- What are your favorite works?
Soumitro – I am very poor at reading books. Before 2010 I am sure I haven’t picked up any book apart from my curriculum books. When circumstances compelled me to write, then I started picking up a few. But unfortunately I haven’t completed them yet. I think next time when I get this question I will have a long list to say
Qus – Authors that you believe changed the literary scenario of India.
Soumitro – Every author, may it be a renowned or unknown plays a vital role and contribute their part in literary genre of writing. Because no job is easy to be executed. And if I have to take names those who have changed the scenario then I would say it would be Rabindra Nath Tagore, Amaryta Sen, Arundhati Roy amongst few others.
Qus- And finally, any advice or suggestion you would like to give to aspiring authors and readers?
Soumitro – How I became an Author, I even don’t know. Might be to kick start my literary journey god has given me a beautiful experience during my college days, while my parents and friends have given me that courage to put them on paper and now readers are motivating me to take this seriously. Same can happen with anyone of you. And for readers I would say whatever be their feedback I would happily accept them, work upon them to do better and yes, readers are the assets of any Author’s life so I respect them from the core of my heart.
Thank you Harshita and Isahitya for giving me this opportunity.
The pleasure is indeed Ours
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