PAROMITA MUKHERJEE OJHA

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Hello Paromita, welcome to Incredible Women Of India, Thank you for being a part of Incredible Women Writers of India, Monsoon Edition, 2015 and sharing your journey as a writer with us.

First of all tell us something about your growing up years, your school and college days, and your family.

Growing up in Barrackpore has its pros and cons- a very carefree childhood, wasn’t burdened with too many tuitions like today’s kids. Barrackpore didn’t have at that time too many options for extra-curricular activities like figure skating or horse riding etc. so I regret missing out on them. I spent lot of time hanging around in neighbourhood. I didn’t like Science subjects much so studying for them was sheer torture and somehow scraped through the grades. I loved poetry, prose both in English and Bengali and I spent hours imagining the arrival of ‘The Highwayman’ to meet Bess when this poem was taught in the class. I would say I flourished in the educational sphere in class XI and XII wherein I could take up Humanities in Salt Lake School. I developed intense passion for Indian History, Literature and Psychology and was immensely happy when I secured Third position in my stream in school. As both my parents are bankers we were constantly on the move, so I pursued my Graduation in Nagpur and Post-Graduation in Pune. I immediately joined a MNC post my Post graduation in 2003 and have worked in various National and International organisations in the Aviation sector. In 2007 I diversified my professional arena and shifted to teaching English and Soft skills to Management graduates and Engineers. I also completed my second Masters in Human Resource Management, M.Phil., PGCTE and last year I submitted my Thesis on doyen of Bengali Literature Shrimati Ashapurna Devi.

My grandparents could never accept me fully since I was a girl and with a dark complexion-lethal combination, so they refused to look after me when I was a baby. Since my mother was a working professional she was forced to hire help to look after me while she was at office. My nanny took very good care of me and I spent my mornings and afternoons at Nanny’s home till my mother came back from office. Despite having coped with the rebuff of my grandparents I had and have a very healthy bonding with my elder brother and have fond memories of the innumerable mischief we did together.  After my grandfather’s death things changed, my grandmother started taking care of me too and during her last days in Kolkata, I rushed from Nagpur where I was working and tended to her needs. I still feel she had waited for me to arrive so that she could see me for the last time, maybe this was her way of making amends for the treatment earlier meted out to me.

What makes you, You?

I believe when life offers you lemons, you should make a lemonade out of it so the hardships/ failed relationships /abusive relatives I encountered during my growing up years has made me stronger, independent and self-reliant.  It is a choice that I made to learn from my mistakes and evolve instead of brooding over them and feeling sorry for myself.

How did your journey as a writer/poet begin?  

I always liked writing long letters to my friends and relatives. I was always more comfortable expressing myself in writing rather than verbally. I developed a habit to jot down my thoughts in a notebook and I think my desire to express myself through words burgeoned from there.

What are your inspirations? Who is your muse, if any at all?

Day –to-day life serves me as an inspiration. I like to listen to people and their stories. I notice people and their idiosyncrasies and I try to articulate them through my fictional jottings.

Why do you write?

Writing serves as a catharsis to my soul. It provides me with an outlet to express my emotions and also my pent-up frustrations and my view of the outer world.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Post birth of my daughter a year back I felt emotionally drained (post-partum depression). After working for 12 years suddenly I was doing nothing, I felt useless. Motherhood definitely has its unique joy but somehow I felt I was losing that ‘I’ in me. In trying to be a mother, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law I had drowned my individuality. Every day on the social media I saw my friends posting pictures and news of their achievement and the only thing I was doing was to applaud their stellar performances. I felt that need to do something for myself no matter how small or insignificant , so I messaged my school buddy Mrs Bose as she is called now and sought her help which she graciously did and there began my journey as a creative writer.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I write whenever I get time which is never fixed as my one year old daughter loves to spend most of her waking moments in my company. She wants me to listen with rapt attention to her incessant attempts at expressing herself through her incoherent but adorable blabbering. So usually I write after 11pm for an hour or so till sleep overtakes my desire to stay awake and finish what I had started typing.

What is the hardest thing about writing? What is the easiest thing about writing? Any writing rituals?

Developing the characters I feel for me is the hardest thing when I am attempting to write prose fiction. I usually jot down in any scrap of paper I find the plots that come to my mind and then slowly develop the storyline. When I have a plot in my mind it becomes very easy for me to add relevant insights and incidents to add to the story line.  Any incident that makes an impact on my mind I try to bring it in my writings

Paromita with her husband and daughter

Paromita with her husband and daughter

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

I like to have an outline in mind but in most cases what I start off with never ends the way I had visualized it at the beginning. I generally meander from my pre-determined flow of thought. Yes, I hate things I wrote for college magazines during my educational days.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? And how do you get over it?

Yes I do get them on and off. I generally leave writing for a few days and stop thinking about what I was writing. When later I go back to expressing myself on paper I usually can add fresh insights to the idea I was developing earlier.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Every day I am learning something new and I am still evolving my own style of writing.

What are you working on at the minute?

I am working on two short stories

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors and poets / what are your favourite books?

I like reading fiction and non- fiction ./ I have quite a few favourite authors- Ashapurna Devi, Mahasweta Devi, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, O’ Henry, Guy De Maupassant, Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson

What do you think is the future of reading/writing in India?

It is definitely growing in leaps and bounds. With the advent of electronic media a sort of mini revolution has taken place with publishing houses becoming more accessible to aspiring writers. People also have started nurturing their reading habits which is evident from the incessant demand for new trends in writing. Future of creative expression is very bright in India.

What are your other passions apart from writing?

Painting definitely. It gives me immense pleasure to express myself through mosaic of colours on canvas.

What is your message for the readers of our blogazine?

To quote Joseph Campbell- ‘Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain’. I believe, we should decide what we want in life and not let others decide it for us. We need to cherish what we have but we also have to aim for fulfilling our heart desire’s which will provide us with a sense of satisfaction and infinite happiness. Since we have one life to live we should strive to live it memorably.

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Paper Publications

  • Published a research paper titled ‘An Explorative Analysis of Business Model Development Through Technology and Scientific Research’ in Optimization –Journal of Research in Management , Vol. 6, Issue 2, December 2013, ISSN: 0974-0988, pp. 44-48.
  •  Published a research paper titled ‘Shobha De-The Voice of Modern Woman’ in an anthology titled Women Writers in English published by Dattsons Publishers, ISBN 978-81-7192-079-2, pp 123-129.
  • Published a research paper titled ‘The Quest for the Female Self’ in a multi-lingual journal Critical Insight of the Centre for Literary Interaction and Creativity (CLIC), Vol. I, No. 1, January 2013, ISSN: 2319-9261, pp. 35-46.
  • Published a research paper titled ‘Bigger Thomas- The Voice of the Voiceless Blacks in the novel Native Son by Richard Wright’ in International Journal of Multidisciplinary Educational Research (IJMER), Vol. I, Issue 8, August 2012, ISSN: 2277-7881.
  • Published a research paper titled ‘Intercultural Communication in MNCs’ in International Journal of Business, Management and Social Sciences (IJBMSS), Vol. I, Issue 8, April 2012, ISSN: 2249-7463, pp. 114-118.
  • Co-authored and Published a research paper titled ‘The World of Signs and Symbols: An English Teacher’s Dilemma’ in International Journal of Business, Economics and Management Research (IJBEMR), Vol. 3, Issue 4, April 2012, ISSN: 2229-4848, pp. 102-1
  • Published a research paper titled ‘Organizational Growth can be catapulted vertically through Human Resource Training – A perspective’ in The International Journal’s Research Journal of Social Sciences and Management (RJSSM), Vol. I, Issue 10, February 2012, ISSN: 2251-1571, pp. 14-17.
  • Published a research paper titled ‘The Social Stigma called Child Labour and Initiatives that Needs to be Taken to Curb this Menace’ in ECONSPEAK an internationally indexed Journal of Advances in Management, IT & Social Sciences, Vol. I, Issue 4, November 2011, ISSN: 2231-4571, pp. 56-63.

To know more about this INCREDIBLE WOMAN click on the links given below:

Blog: http://www.paromitamukherjeeojha.wordpress.com

Twitter : @Paromita2906

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paromita2906?ref=br_rs


Please note that this interview was conducted online, via emails.

Interview conducted for Incredible Women of India : Rhiti Bose

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