Tag Archives: The Long Road

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.


Filed under Blogs/Interviews

Book Review of “The Long Road” by Dr. Vivek Banerjee

The Long Road

by Dr. Vivek Banerjee

There have been umpteen books around college life, or professional institutes (IIM, IIT, etc), and the corporate world, but not any about medical colleges and the lives of students there (at least I haven’t come across any, except The Long Road).

Though I really wasn’t impressed by the cover page design, I kinda loved the story.

No great guns surely, but the way it is put simply captures your heart. Yes, there is something about the way the story is written that it makes it extremely difficult to stop mid-way.

The book opens with a bit of suspense (with a link to the Mumbai attack) and goes on to describe the characters and gives quite an apt description of their background.

The story is about 5 people pursuing their PG in medical science in a reputed medical college of Mumbai.

The intelligent, sweet, and innocent Hina; the rebellious Ranjiv; the ambitious Sarika; the love-struck Rahul; and the simple Sagarika –all who make their place in the sun after undergoing their share of troubles. Their varied backgrounds and diverse upbringing add color and life into the story.

Rahul is head over heels about Sarika but her overtly ambitious zeal drives them apart, only to connect again when she experiences pangs of jealousy arise. Ranjiv and Hina eventually get hitched, given their love for their work and of course each other.

Their personal life sometimes clashes with their professional obligations, and how they deal with it makes up the crux of this story.

Let’s not deny there is a bit of faltering in the middle. The flair and ease and grip that the author commands in the beginning seemed a bit lose in the middle, only to catch up again towards the end.

Yes, career always isn’t the most important thing in one’s life. It is the people who love you.

A good plot ideation and execution.

The experiences at the medical college were very interesting to read.  I liked the parts describing medical college, its environment and procedures in a language simple enough for a non medico like me to understand. Not bad for the first book of an author.

The individual stories of the characters (except one) are quite finely depicted. It makes you connect with the characters and relate to the situations they are faced with.

There is love, romance, friendship, marital bliss and its hardships, temptations, struggle, and a plethora of emotions that people experience. All well scripted.
But also, all that glitters is not gold. There were just a couple of points I didn’t quite connect to.

Firstly, the similar sounding names of the characters got me a bit confused initially

Secondly, I didn’t quite understand the role (and character) of Sagarika in the story. It feels the story could do well without her too. She got a mention towards the beginning somewhere and then went amiss in the middle only to pop back up towards the end. That was one character that (I feel) added no value as such to the story.

The chapter titles weren’t not all that inspiring. I don’t think I paid attention to them. For all that you notice they end up disclosing the chapter highlights.

The narrative could have been a bit more engaging. Its simplicity may put off some readers. The author, at a point, narrates as if stating facts from a report.

Overall the book scores well.

Quite a refreshing approach and style. Crisp and short chapters. Nice narrative. Well researched and etched characters.

Fast flowing and totally believable, the book ended too soon for me.

There is a unique flavor to the book- I guess it’s because the author is a doctor himself. It is quite commendable how he has managed to balance the language (for non-medical people to read and connect with) quite well.

I hope there is an undisclosed (or unthought-of) sequel that follows (soon) with all points considered. There is immense potential in Vivek’s writing, and I wish he goes that extra mile in his next run.


Filed under Reviews