n our Series Hunches’n’Punches, we are honored on the Eve of Republic Day Indian to have Air Force Veteran (Retd) Wing Commander Amit Kumar Goswami Author of ‘Rear View Mirror’ on ChaaiCoffee.
Amit Kumar Goswami Author of ‘Rear View Mirror’ is His First Book, A Collection of Short Stories.
Q: This is your first book. Where’d you get the idea to do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?
I am not a professional author. I used to write for fun and share those stories with friends and relatives. They liked what they read. They encouraged me to collect all those pieces and publish them in the form of a book. That is how “Rear View Mirror” happened.
Q: Did you have any goals for this collection when you wrote it — to get published, or just to finish, etc.?
No. I used to write for my own satisfaction and used to enjoy the appreciation of friends when they read those pieces. The book just got published without any premeditated plan.
Q: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
Once I broke all the bones of my ankle in a bad accident. After a serious operation to set them right, I was confined to bed for two months. Since in bed I could do nothing else, I kept thinking about my past life and wrote about those interesting incidents which I had encountered in the process of growing up in my life. The process continued long after I recovered completely. As far as I am concerned, the reason for writing is only pure personal pleasure.
Q: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
My father had been a renowned Professor and Author of Bengali literature. He groomed me up to appreciate literature. I grew up reading novels of Rishi Bankimchandra Chattopadhhay, works of Ravindranath Tagore and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhhay and other stalwarts of classic Bengali literature. I wrote in English because I have many friends who are not Bengali, and all my Bengali friends and relatives understand English. Thus my audience gets larger.
Q: What is the first book that made you cry?
It was a novel Devdas, by Shri Sarat Chandra Chattopadhhay that made me cry.
Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing gives me immense pleasure. When I write I get so deeply involved in the subject, I feel a kind of ‘high’ like a person experiences in addiction.
Q: Do you write every single day?
Routinely writing, only for the sake of writing, becomes boring for me and at that state I cannot churn out interesting stories. But my mind, like ‘radar’, automatically keeps searching and tracking for interesting plots about which I feel enthusiastic to tell others. Enthusiasm is contagious. It gets passed on to the readers.
Q: Any writing rituals?
I follow no rituals or no fixed timings to sit and write. The only condition for me is, that whenever I write words should flow out my heart spontaneously – like water from a spring.
Q: Tell us some more about your book.
My book is like a bouquet of short stories drawn from my personal experiences. I have tried to tell those stories in its sincerest form without mixing imaginations to add drama. I tell the stories as if I am talking to the reader on one to one basis. That is the reason why a reader can easily relate to the stories. There are other stories about people like Chhavi Rajawat and the twin sisters – Nungshi & Tashi. Their efforts and heroic deeds inspire respect and awe in my mind. I do not know them personally nor have I seen them from a distance. I have only read about them. While writing their saga I have tried to imagine and mentally feel involved in doing what they have done. For example, when a lovelorn man “PK” single-mindedly pedals his bicycle from New Delhi through several countries to meet his lady love in Sweden, I appear to travel mentally with him. when I was writing those parts of his travel, I seemed to have actually felt the hot desert wind of Afghanistan or the harsh winter chill of Germany on my own skin.
Q: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
After publishing the book, I have been showered with appreciation from many friends and relatives. That has encouraged me to write more. And more intensive practice appears to have enhanced the quality of my writing.
Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Rear View Mirror is my first Publication. Right now I have enough materials to publish my second book. It is a continuous process. But I want to make my first book successful before I venture into publishing the second one. I am in no hurry.
Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
When I write something about my personal life’s experience, I do not need to do any research work. But whenever I write stories based on somebody else’s experience, I do intensive research work. It may take days together. But I want to make sure that whatever I write should better be factually correct. For instance for the story of the PAF titled “Snake in the Grass”, I had spent hours together in researching Islamabad, its surroundings and Pakistan Air Force.
Again, I learned a lot of facts about mountaineering when I wrote about the youngest siblings climbing from one camp to the next camp, trying to set their feet on Mount Everest.
Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Honesty is one thing that comes out clearly in the tone of the language of my book. I keep no secret about the incidents since such incidents happen in almost everybody’s life and they can empathize with me. If I tell a lie, I would be caught in no time, since the sincerity factor would vanish. When I get some information from Google or write out of imagination, I acknowledge it in writing at the footnote.
Q: Are you planning to adapt any of your stories to the screen?
There are a few dramatic stories, which to my mind, can be a visual treat if adapted to screen. But it is not up to me to make a film out of those. That is not my business.
Q: Do you Google yourself?
Yes. I do all my research work through Google. It is so easy to find complete information on a topic, collected in one place in Google.
Q: What’s the worst job you’ve had?
I have picked up experience in varied fields in life. But whatever I did, I did it with complete dedication and love for it. As a rationing officer, when meat was to be distributed by cutting goat carcasses into pieces, I tried to emulate the art of butchers. I found that their expertise was something like medical surgeons. So, there is nothing like the worst job. But of course, there have been some unpleasant moments, as described in “A Nocturnal Journey” where I had to convey the body of my friend (sitting alone at the back of a truck) who died unexpectedly. I would never like to experience such tasks again in my life.
Q: Does your family support your career as a writer?
Fortunately yes. All of them are enthusiastic about my writing. I cannot call writing as a career at my ripe old age. But since I come from a family of authors and educationists, I have a natural flair for writing. My wife always inspired me to write even when I was in military service. Now that a book has really been written, she is very happy.
Q: Any last thoughts for our readers?
All I can request to readers is to “abide by me”. I will ensure that they will never find me lacking in my efforts to please them with my stories.
Amit Kumar Goswami Author of ‘Rear View Mirror’ is Now Available on Amazon Indian and Flipkart India.Facebook Comments