Behind the book: The Reluctant Writer - A Guest Post by Sujit Banerjee
I am what you would call as a reluctant writer! I had no notion that someday I would be an author with a book of short stories to my credit. Poems maybe, but not fiction – if I may call them fiction. I loved scribbling short poems on any paper I could lay my hands on; I even have a few written down hurriedly on napkins in restaurants. Those were personal and I had no intention of making them public. I must say that Gulzar Saheb made a huge impact on me and I think I copied him a lot. Sometimes his one line would lead to my writing a page-long poem.
I don’t exactly remember when it was that I penned my first short story. I think I was fifteen or sixteen – it was a story of murder and atonement. Impulsively, I sent it to a local newspaper office for their Sunday magazine and they made such a hash of it that I swore off writing fiction ever again. But I guess the seed was sown. Around ten years later I started again and ended up with some five or six half-finished scripts. It was some 25 years later that I picked up those scripts and started to finish them. Friends liked them and egged me on and the stories started flowing.
I will let you on a secret here; since childhood, I could “see” things. Things that had not happened yet but were about to happen. Initially I did not understand what was happening and would often get thrashed for “saying” things that did not make sense. But when they did – adults around me started to turn to me to ask how I knew. I, of course, had no idea. But what all this did was that I clammed up. What I “saw” stayed within me. THIS helped me a lot when I started to write, and hence what became a collection, is more or less a collection of true stories. I doubt that I ever really will be able to write fiction.
I must also admit that having a background in psychology did help a lot. I could now “understand” the hidden emotions behind what I “saw”; I could empathize and understand why some people did what they did and why they reacted the way they reacted. Where others saw pain, I saw the story behind it and vice versa; where others saw irrational behaviour, I saw the raw wound causing them. They all came together and wove themselves up to form the tapestry that this book is all about.
It took me over three years to finish the book and I went through severe and long periods of writers’ block. What I read about other writers happened to me and I then understood what it was all about and how it could pull you down an abyss. Had it not been for my friends I would have never finished the book. They helped me to persevere, to let go and to flow till I caught up with the tide again. And when I wrapped up the whole thing – I just stayed with it for over a year – tossing them around, honing them, editing them, I finally gathered enough courage to send the manuscript to publishers. In four months I had eight rejections! Three outright and the rest politely camouflaged!
Then Leadstart Publishing happened and here is the book! I hope people like this bouquet of mismatched flowers!
About the Author:
Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, Sujit Banerjee grew up in Patna, where he finished his post-graduation in Psychology from Patna University, and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist.
His work took him all over the globe and introduced him to the worlds of Mayans and Aztecs. He started getting interested in Shamanic ways, in healing and joined Pranic Healing courses to become a certified healer.
Today, he both heals as well as reads Tarot cards. He continues to work in tourism and lives in Delhi. Rukhsat The Departure is his first work of fiction. The book is available on Amazon, as well as an eBook.