Tag Archives: Classics

Interview with Dr. Vivek Banerjee

Dr. Vivek Banerjee, the author of ‘The Long Road’ is a self-confessed “full time pediatrician (by choice) and part time author (by chance)”. Also known by his pen name Ben, for his blogs earlier, Vivek shares snippets of his writing career with us. Read on.

Could you share with us your earliest memories of writing? What got you blogging and finally writing a fictional tale?
The earliest memories in writing are contributing to my school magazine and later editing it. Blogging started as an experiment and then became an addiction. Rediff iLand (the earlier and hugely successful avatar of now moribund Rediff Blogs) provided the proverbial fuel to the fire. The Long Road started as a serial story called Doctors on Rediff iLand. It was hugely popular and my fellow bloggers got more and more involved as the story progressed. Eventually, the idea of presenting it as a full-fledged novel came to me and I decided to take the plunge.

What kinds of books grab your attention?
I love fiction. From adventure to science fiction; thrillers to classics and novels to short stories, I love them all.

How was the experience of writing a novel, given the fact that your profession barely leaves you time for other activities? What inspired you to come out with a full length novel?
Agreed! There is hardly any leisure. This novel and all my writing is generally done deep in the night. Many a time, I have to attend calls at odd hours and find it difficult to sleep after returning.  The only option left is to pick up the laptop and start typing.

Any character from the novel that reflects or resonates with the real you?

No, I don’t think so. I do wish that I could be like Prof. Patil from the book.

The language used is quite simple and coming from a highly specialized industry, one tends to use the jargon of the field. How easy or difficult was it writing a book based around your profession?
It was very simple to write a book based on my profession and many parts of the book are inspired from real life happenings. I did make a conscious effort to avoid medical jargon or get too technical. I hope that I have succeeded in this aspect.

Would you like to share a memorable incident that happened during the writing process? Or an instance that clicked the writer in you (while at work), wherein you felt that the incident would make for an interesting mention in the book?
Considering the fact that I joined Medical College in 1983, I had a rich reserve of memories and experiences to draw from while writing the novel. But one repetitive incident that causes me a lot of anguish and finds a mention in the book is our inability to prevent very sick children from dying despite best efforts.

An ebook or a hardcover– your pick? and Why?
I guess I am traditional in this matter. I am a huge fan of printed books. If you visit my home, you’ll find a lot of books everywhere. E-books are not for me.

Name some your all time favorite reads.
To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an all time favorite.
I am partial to almost all the books by Isaac Asimov, Wilbur Smith and Jack Higgins and have read them multiple times.

A Quote that inspires you – in personal life / professional life.
This too, shall pass…

A book/author in the recent past that has captured your interest?
Anish Sarkar’s Benaami and the Urban Shots series.

Any other genre that you’d like to explore now? What next do we see from your desk?
I am writing short stories. In fact, there are two projects in the pipeline. One is a collection of stories about the paranormal in collaboration with Faraaz Kazi. An anthology of stories about the darker side of human nature is the other project. Upneet Grover, Saksham Agarwal, Amit Kumar Gupta, Anandita Chawla and I team up for this one.



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Get Real

All ye aspiring authors around…lend me your ears. I need to share with you a bubble of thought that burst in my head. It derailed my cognitive train and killed about a million brain cells in the vicinity. Investigation is on and I know serious damage has been done. But that story is for another time.
What I want to highlight today is the present situation of our nation. Nope, not the political one. We have other flag bearers and upholders of truth, honesty, etc. to take care of that. My worry is the literary scene.

Every day I hear or read about a new author getting his/her book published and promoted virally through all forms of media. And more often than not, present day writers focus on similar clichéd material.

We have a hoard of novels revolving around IITs, IIMs, schools, colleges, campus life, corporate life, or girl/boy journal that reveal certain instances – good, bad and ugly. Don’t make me name them. It will fill up the entire space here. Hey, I’m not saying it is bad. But for how long are we going to read clichéd fictional material? I see myself suffering from an OD. Not a good thing. At all.

How about getting real and showing the real side of life? Some real feelings and sensitivity. Things that we see every day and take for granted. Things that sometimes are so “in our face” that we end up ignoring them. It is a real world after all. The mind needs some quality reading at least once in a while. Is it too much to ask from our well qualified budding authors?

I feel that every time you read a book, a part of you is remains with the book and a part of the book remains with you. But given the current scenario, all books look and feel the same. There is no USP left. No EQ to connect with.

People read what is presented to them. If you keep offering mundane fiction stories, people will end up reading that. They will eventually grow to expect nothing but that from others as well. That is until they reach saturation.

Ok let’s not entirely point fingers at the authors here. When an author tries to modify or alter his/her track, he/she is either pulled out (ignored) or is put up on a pedestal (honored). I understand there is a fine line you writers have to walking to prove your skills. And a single step out of line can make or mar your growth. (Yes, it might also show how drunk you are. Oh wait…that’s for another time.) But you have to take a chance.

Classics are classics for a reason. They have literary value. They have universal appeal. And most importantly they touch your heart and enlighten your mind about a certain aspect. If you think you have enough determination and courage to present the world with a new platter of real life stories that make readers sit up and take notice, get on with your writing paraphernalia and bring out the best in you.
It’s time we all get real.

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