Connect with us

Books & Authors

Don’t choose the story, let the story choose you, advises Rao

Published

on

Delhi Wire’s Journalist had a candid chat with Suchitra Rao, the author of a crime novel “The Highway Mafia”. Read the Interview below.

About Suchitra: Suchitra S Rao was born in Chennai, but spent her early childhood and education in Madurai. She holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Planning and Entrepreneurship from the Indian Institute of Planning Management – Chennai. Right after her education she moved on to create a successful career in Sales & Marketing. She has immense experience of over nine years from various industries such as Insurance, Banking and Freight Forwarding. She currently works in a Logistics firm at a Middle Managerial Cadre.

Kindly enlighten our readers about your debut book, ‘The Highway Mafia’
The Highway Mafia is a crime fiction about a pressing macro- economic and political crime ‘Cattle Trafficking’, for those who are not very familiar with this terminology, Cattle Trafficking is a way of illegally transporting Cattle in large numbers for slaughter and export.  The book deals with a very serious subject, but has only a flavor of it. I have narrated the story in a fiction format to engage the readers.  Though essentially, a crime fiction the book also has humor, romance, action and other sub-themes that will be of interest to the readers.   It is based on some real life incidents that I personally encountered, however, I leveraged on the creative freedom of a fiction fully to give audience an informative yet an equally entertaining read.

How much research and efforts were required on your part to complete these masterpieces.
When I sat down to write a book, since it’s my debut I wanted to write about a topic that is close to my heart. Since, I was directly involved in ‘cattle trafficking’ issues over four years by the time where I did a lot of Primary & secondary research out of interest. So when I started to write the book, I had to do very little research as I was very aware of the topic.  I just used to once in awhile consult my dad who is a veterinary doctor by profession and my friend who is a ‘subject matter expertise’ in Cattle Trafficking to get my facts & logic right in the book.  

How do you manage writing along with your profession?
Well, I did contemplate a work sabbatical, but somehow I was apprehensive of this idea as I had built my career with so much of sweat and blood.  My early days in sales were very tough and I had to work really hard to get where I am today. So I couldn’t risk it all. Also, on the other hand I didn’t want to lose my corporate career especially when I had important contracts up and running and clients who had entrusted their work order to me.  I deep inside wanted to be an Author so bad that it used to give me sleep troubles. It was like a fight between my dream and my logic.  So I found a midway, I had some PL’s at my disposal , so I used up all my PL’s together and went to ECR Pondicherry took a place and stayed alone in a Guest-House facing the highway  and wrote the major chunk of the book.  After that I used my weekends and holidays to do the editing part. I think time management was the key, I had to cut down a lot of extra-curricular activities and especially my time on social media to use it for the book and my career.  Looking back sometimes I wonder how I got through both.

Self publishing vs Traditional Publishing, which one do you prefer and why?
A year before I would have answered this question differently. But I think now I would pick up Traditional Publishing any day. I chose self publishing for ‘The Highway Mafia’ because of time constraints and also I was not much experienced. Self publishing was good in some ways, as I could learn a lot of things with respect to publishing, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with my self- publisher. They were very professional and could provide one -stop shop solutions for me. However, a key to a book becoming a phenomenal one is post publishing support. I think a traditional publishing house will have accountability and give personalized attention to the sales of the book, which is integral to making it a best seller.  So that way , I prefer traditional publishing.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I am sure you are already one with the great questions you have laid out in this interview for me. My only tip for anyone who wants to write something new would be to be your unique self. Most of the writers are very ardent readers. Some writers especially budding will try to imitate a successful book and well-established authors. Don’t choose the story, let the story choose you.  Look closely there might already be a story that the world is waiting to hear from you. Be Unique , Be you!

Recommended Read: ‘Walk The Wire’ teaches us to set goals effectively and then go on to achieve them.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Books & Authors

Bookshelf: Books that spotlight children’s mental health

Published

on

In these unprecedented times, when isolation fatigue, gloom and the fear of losing a beloved has also come to grip children, taking care of their mental health is of paramount importance.

Here’s a list of books that address the various emotions children struggle with, and can be companions to them during the hard times.

‘The Room on the Roof’ by Ruskin Bond

A classic coming-of-age story which has held generations of readers spellbound! Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted, and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community. Written when the author was himself seventeen, this moving story of love and friendship, with a new introduction and illustrations will be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.

‘Who Stole Bhaiya’s Smile?’ by Sanjana Kapur

Bhaiya does not feel like playing these days. Could it be because of his new monster friend Dukduk, who is always hanging around him. No one in the family takes Bhaiya seriously. But Chiru knows there is more than what meets the eye. A story about the lingering effects of depression. The book is illustrated by Sunaina Coelho.

‘Hearts Do Matters’ by Anita Myers

What the world needs now in these times is love. ‘Hearts Do Matter’ supports children and adults through the losses and grief in their life. It teaches us that even when loved ones cannot be with us, we can feel their presence in our hearts. The new release is a beautiful picture book about a little girl who has a very special relationship with her mother. Her mother promised she would always be with her, and she shows in the book that she kept her promise in the most loving way.

source

Continue Reading

Books & Authors

Flowing Musings and Journal Entries of a Lazy Author – Sabarna Roy

Published

on

Sabarna Roy is a much awarded, critically acclaimed bestselling author of 6 literary books: Pentacles; Frosted Glass; Abyss; Winter Poems; Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018, and Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020. He is the lead author of a technical book, which has been published from the European Union and has been translated into 8 major European languages.

He has been awarded the Literoma Laureate Award in 2019, Literoma Star Achiever Award 2020, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 won the best book of the year 2019, the A List Award for excellence in fiction by the NewsX Media House, Certificate for The Real Super Heroes for spreading a spirit of positivity and hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic from Forever Star India Award 2020, and the Certificate for Participation in the Indo Russian Friendship Celebration 2020.

1. Intuition is the key to understanding and unlocking of any kind of mystery. Whatever enables the power of intuition is good for the human race. And, this power is also genetic but requires intense nurturing. Educational institutions especially would have to pitch in in this effort. Munich University where Albert Einstein had studied and many other great intellectuals did, was/is a place, which is famous for nurturing intuitive geniuses. What makes an institution so special? I wonder but get no specific answer. There are many things operating at the same time: autonomy and non-interference of the political establishment, the liberal atmosphere, the quality of the faculty and infrastructure, the faculty-student ratio, the faculty-student relationship, the way classes are delivered, the syllabi, stress on creative and thinking capabilities rather than on the mugging and examination mode, permissibility of various opinions to co-exist, and, possibly many other things. In India the reverse is happening now; well, it has happened earlier as well but now things are taking a very worse shape. Take the examples of: Trinamool’s interference in every administrative step in the cases of Jadavpur University and Presidency University in Kolkata (earlier the Left Front had literally killed all the educational institutions worth its repute in Kolkata barring JU and Presidency College, which are now being gobbled up by the present dispensation) and the primeval comments of Dr. Subramaniam Swamy when he was mooted to become the VC of JNU.

2. In my late youth I saw her for the first time on a train. Immediately thereafter I started conjuring an indescribable companionship with her. I chased her for years. Later I came to know she is a happy mother of two bonny sons. She would not give me any attention for she had a secret lover too.

3. In Fallen Man, I made Rahul – my protagonist – to retreat into the mountains with his old mother, having been defeated in life in a growing metropolis.

It was a childhood dream I nurtured in my soul that when I would grow old enough I would live with my mother alone in a high mountain.

But then life has very different things in store for you!

You become a different man as you grow up and confuse yourself with the choices that life offers you.

4. During my University days in the dry summer months (March 15 to May 15) I had a strange obsession of roaming around the labyrinthine deserted alleys of North Calcutta in the afternoons when the scorching sunshine would cause havoc on my shoulders and back, and middlemen, traders and housewives and children would be enjoying a desperate siesta in their cool and shaded bedrooms. Occasionally, to rejuvenate myself, I would smoke a cigarette and drink a cup of syrupy milk tea at a forlorn street-corner.  Where did this passion stem from? When I look back now it seems it was an effort to transpose my loneliness onto the parched, dilapidated and crumbling ambience of Calcutta that was gradually withering. During these walks I have come across strange faces looking at me from the shadowy iron-grilled openings of the tall windows of old mansions (probably tenants forcibly occupying spaces of decaying rich families because of the laxity the Rent Control Act provides to tenants – coming to think of it a pretty smart colonial way of redistribution of wealth). Some of the grotesque faces are etched on the walls of my consciousness till now. Mementos of memory in a loner’s studio. This was also the time when I was introduced to Bismillah Khan’s shehnai and D V Paluskar’s bhajans. Rendition of shehnai recital is a tradition at Indian weddings – presumably a happy occasion. But Bismillah saab’s rendition had an underlying melancholic glory, which attracted me early on. In the bhajans of Paluskar (although I was a non-believer at that time and remain so till date) I could recognize the echoes and angst of the lonely faithful devotee, which left me in awe. My afternoon walks would be accompanied by Bismillah saab’s wind instrument and Paluskar ji’s voice playing in the dark recesses of my mind. Background score!

5. You demystify one cloud. Another appears. You demystify this cloud, that cloud appears. Between this cloud and that cloud there are other clouds. And, then there are many other clouds. The series is relentless and unending.

Human beings are secret islands. Their actions are not completely comprehensible. Why they act in a specific way, is a secret that lies deeply embedded in their own souls! Yet we trust human beings – islands of secrets – in due course of time. Specifically and generally. The science of trust is by and large a very mysterious science.

6. Some erotic stories do not kick-start in our lifetime although they have the potential spark to generate enormous electricity. On the other hand there are many erotic stories that wither away in the long run with time like leaves die. We all go through a mixture of such stories in our lives. The stories that did not start linger in our mind like dolorous reminders – what if! Mind you, the potential of those uninitiated stories to change the course of our lives, including how we evolve as persons, is very high compared to the initiated stories of erotic love.

7. Reverse jump cut – in the past – 25 years – almost – approximately – a full-moon night – after midnight – on the terrace of a G+3 newly built apartment block – on the fringes of the city violently pushing against the margins of a crumbling suburban landscape – full of dreams – a series of conquests – a bright disc of silver hanging in the sky – an elderly friend of mine and I – a telescope in between us – a gazer of stars and galaxies – well, planning to show me what is a sky and infinite continents of space – a wise man – hating my absolute love for rock music – dismissing it as ‘boyish elitism’.

A night redefined!

We smoked hard. We smoked hard – only nicotine fellas! We discussed Dakghar. We recited Wasteland. Death was looming large on our sub-conscious.

Then he asked me to take a drooling walk to the phallic instrument chilling in the night – his love and work of love.

“Boy you could look at the moon both ends from! This end from it looks like a shining piece of nut. And this end from it blazes on you like a scorching sun … So you see; there is nothing right or wrong!”

I asked parched in smoke, “Is there no perfect way of life on earth? Ideals to follow? Creating and adding on to the civilization of men? No right and wrong! Live like dogs, do we?”

He whispered in my ears, “You hate dogs, don’t you? There are ways. There are no ways still. A creative man must learn to suffer multiple takes on life. A creative man must strive for his absolute solitude to unburden his load on us. He walks through the world but returns to his cave. Your cave is this universe of galaxies, constellations and pacing heavenly bodies. You are a banished soul attempting to be a part of this colossal space. Don’t you feel like that? How tiny you are, my boy!”

We fell silent for a long time – looking at the sky – and then we fell asleep! Dreaming: this sleep will take us away …

8. Sanchita Guha aka Mimi, my very talented saali, wanted me to write my own obit page in her friend’s blog. I thought about it and concluded that I would never remember a wasted monkey (and, fat) like me. So why would anybody else remember me! Secondly, I would neither like to be remembered because I just do not qualify the minimum credentials. I have been cruel, selfish (now that my children are grown-up I have also started hating children: angels of light and hope), self-centered and vulgar all my life. I have never stood up for anybody or even myself (that is the biggest crime I have done). I have never been overwhelmed by the sufferings of fellow human beings. I have always looked the other way. Contrarily I have put on the mask of a concerned gentleman looking for an eager audience. I am not gentle in any case; I am arrogant. I have not enjoyed my life for I was never passionate enough. My comparison of myself to a monkey is misplaced, I am factually worse than a monkey. And monkeys are not bad by any stretch of imagination, Mimi would agree with me.  Am I a godzila then? Animal lovers like Mimi would protest my comparison of wretched me to the varied heavenly animals on this planet. I have no consistent body of work. I cannot sing. Nor can I play any musical instrument. I cannot even dance. In the name of love, I have done duties by actually organizing them through others. Secretly, I have always wished to own a company of slaves who would be at my beck and call. I am a good womaniser (although I am fat) and I have neglected even this talent of mine. What a perverse waste of your only life?

9. If we would make museums out of our memories they would serve as very good benchmarks to understand our own lives. And some of them would be works of art, which could be appreciated by one and all. What stops us from making personal and private museums? Effort, of course, because you would require tons of it and patience in doing so. This idea struck me when I was reading Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence a few years back. We as a nation and also as a continent are not much inclined towards museum construction, refurbishment and maintenance and also paying a visit to a museum. Our major museums are poorly maintained and attended. Museum is a habit of the West – mainly, Europe. Our own museums unlike the public museums should be reconstruction of our own lives, revolving around all kinds of incidents and anecdotes: happy, pensive, important, unimportant, passionate, compassionate, all. This will have substantial anthropological value and would require training, which should be inculcated at the school and high-school levels. Museum construction requires a meeting of various kinds of skills. This will throw up a serious branch of training not to be trapped in the mugging-and-examination mode and would seriously become a fountainhead for many hidden talents to flower. At the end of the day, we take resort to serious art because we want to comprehend our own incomprehensible lives. What better way could there be if we could recreate it with our own hands and brain?

10. Nowadays I cannot argue beyond a point of making my case, that is all; I have just lost the steam. Another proof that I have become an old man. I love listening to various points of view instead. I will make my opening move and then withdraw. There was a time when I was a reasonably good debater. Well, long time back … maybe. I also do not feel the emotion of anger nowadays. There is more or less a feeling of resignation. In general, I am always searching for words while talking in a group. But I am very comfortable while writing. One thing that I love is silence: locked inside a chilly, deathly-silent room with random thoughts passing through my mind like a north-westerly wind. Silence excites thoughts.

Continue Reading

Books & Authors

‘Bikhre Sapne’ by Author M. Murtaza – Dreams Did Not Fall In Place But The Story Did

Published

on

Author M. Murtaza is already a known name in the realms of Hindi literature. Murtaza stirred the Hindi literary world with ‘Ankur’ – his first Hindi novel which got published in 1985. Post that he had penned many masterclasses like “Gosha E Noor” (Urdu 2002), “Roshni kaa Minaar” (Hindi 2003), “Tasawwuf” (Urdu 2010), and “Baagh ki Khooshbu” (Urdu, 2019).

Each of the above-mentioned books got critically acclaimed due to apt reason. So, when a writer of this calibre comes up with his next book, it is bound to have a lot of expectations from the readers. M. Murtaza lived up to that expectation in his latest book ‘Bikhre Sapne’. The story is about Raajan – a resident of Shivpur village and his mother Rukmini – a poor widow. The different episodes of the lives of Raajan and Rukmini are beautifully narrated – some are heart melting while some are gruesome.

Just like his other works, Mr. Murtaza treats the plot and the characters of the book ‘Bikhre Sapne’ in a cinematic way. The readers can surely hope to see this story getting transformed into a movie soon. The narration is so good that it’ll create a strong case as a screenplay with an immediate effect.

The two most important points which click for the book are the simplicity of the language used to narrate the story and the holistic nature of the characters sketched. These two aspects work as the manual for any aspiring Hindi writer.

The only aspect which could have been better about the book is its cover page. The publisher could have been a little more careful on this aspect. However, as a whole, ‘Bikhre Sapne’ qualifies as one of the books which readers from all walks of life will cherish for a very long time.               

Buy “Bikhre Sapne from Amazon for just Rs.301

Continue Reading

Newsletters

Enter your email address to get latest updates

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2018 - 2021 Delhi Wire.