Hello Esha, thank you for being a part of IWI’s Incredible Women Writers of India 2016, and sharing your journey as a writer.
How would you define yourself?
The quintessential girl next door, a little ambitious, a little flawed and maybe a bit mad too 😉 with a steely will and chronic optimism syndrome.
What was your childhood like? Any incidents form your growing up years that shaped you as a person?
I grew up in the small idyllic town of Ranchi. We were a group of 4-5 friends and there was small hill in our vicinity [the famous Tagore Hill in Morabadi with a dilapidated house and a temple like structure perched on top of it]. So we imagined ourselves to be the Famous Five and the fact that I sported short hair a la George only helped. We’d go around the house on the hill, find some old stuff lying around and spin some crazy stories. Early mornings were for cycling to the Morabadi Maidan before rushing off to school. Afternoons were spent painting and making ice creams. Weekends were about taking a rickshaw ride to the Main Road and indulging in one of the best softies I have ever had at Firayalals. Celebrations invariably meant whole night movie marathons on VCR with Family friends over endless cups of chai for the elders and tit bits for us.
Not any particular incident, but the fact that I was allowed to take decisions from a very young age, the fact that I was always heard and my opinion valued even when it made no sense, helped me grow up to be a confident and credible person and I cannot thank my parents, especially my father enough for it.
A lot of the person that I am is also because of the transition that I made from my junior school in Ranchi to the convent in Kolkata, Queen of the Missions. I will always be indebted to the wonderful teachers there, each one of them. To say that they were wonderful is an understatement, our classes, discussions, were nothing less than life lessons. And I cannot thank them enough for all the encouragement and love that they showered on me. They made me believe Sky is the limit and QMS truly gave me wings to fly.
When did your journey as a writer began?
November 2014 and I remember it clearly because I was in the metro travelling back home after a grueling day at work and I thought I had the beginning of a story in my head, just like that, all of a sudden. I had never fancied myself as a story teller; I guess I still don’t. But yes, I used to write a lot in school, for debates, elocutions so I guess I always loved to write, but they were mostly opinion pieces, never a story, and then one fine day a story happens in the metro of all places.
Do you have a muse? If yes, who or what acts as a catalyst to your writing?
The Delhi Metro it is 😉
Do you plan out your work or just go with the flow?
To a certain extent, I do plan it in my head, but most of the time what comes out on paper is quite different from what I had planned, so it’s a mix of both I guess
For you, what’s the easiest thing about writing and the hardest thing? Do you have any weird/funny writing rituals?
For me the hardest thing is to find the time to write. I would love to have some alone time so I can write peacefully, but I am mostly writing in between chores.
Do you get writer’s block? How do you battle it?
Yes, I do, but I don’t battle it. I move over to write something else. At times, the knots untie on their own, if it doesn’t then I guess I wasn’t meant to write it.
How have you evolved as a writer since you have started? If you could give one advice to yourself, what would it be? What are you working on now?
I am trying to get more disciplined about writing, to slot a time to write everyday amidst everything else [If only a day had just a couple of hours more]. And whether I have evolved as a writer or not, well maybe it’s for the readers to say. I still have to write a piece, look at it and say, yes this is it!
What’s your opinion about the future of writing/reading/the publishing industry in India?
Do we really read a lot? I am not sure. For most people, it is unfortunately limited to text books. Some best-selling writers too admit to the fact that they haven’t read a book in their life. Maybe it’s time to encourage reading. Good readers are imperative for good writing to flourish
Favorite food… Anything which is high on calories and can be classified as JUNK 😉
Favorite Book… There are so many, Anna Karenina, I re-read it every couple of years, A thousand splendid Suns, this book made me weep, literally, The Narrow Road to the deep north, Great Expectations, Hound of Baskervilles….
Favorite author… Charles Dickens
What are you afraid of…Driving
What makes you angry…Nagging, it really gets my goat
Childhood crush….. My PT teacher from my junior School in Ranchi, an athletic, 6 foot something, extremely good looking, soft spoken surd who always sported sky blue turbans… Need I say more!??
Things that you can’t live without…..My son’s non-stop banter, lots of laughter, some junk food, a good read and my phone!
Any message or advice you want to share with our readers?
If you are a reader, read more, more and more! If you aren’t, pick up a book [And if that book has one of my stories, all the better ;)] and make a start, you would never need a greater friend, guide or mentor in life
To follow Esha’s work click on the following links:
Twitter : @eshachaks
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/esha.chakraborty.96
Please Note: This interview has been conducted online via emails by Rhiti Bose for IWI.