About the Author: Dipnanda Bhaduri Roy is a professional content writer at a Bangalore-based KPO that serves clients from all over the world. A management graduate, Dipnanda believes that passion drives creation. While doing ghost-writing for her clients, Dipnanda has often had a feeling of emptiness that has been constantly questioning her identity. With several accolades in her professional resume, Dipnanda is now destined to set up a real identity in the world of fiction as a leading romance writer. Her short stories in different genres have been published in a number of anthologies. Born and brought up in a liberal Bengali family that gave a lot of importance to education and literature, Dipnanda has always been encouraged to pursue a career of her choice. Married to a banker-turned-interior designer who has been her strongest critic, Dipnanda is constantly challenged to explore perspectives in different lights. She has a vision to write for those who dare to travel into unknown worlds and define their lives in unusual norms.
1. What inspired you to start writing?
Children have diverse career aspirations that are defined by their parents’ aspirations as well. However, we would hardly come across children saying, “I want to be a writer or an author”. And I was no exception. However, I was not a child who had normal answers to this question. Though my parents thought I had. So I studied science, disliking physics, chemistry, and mathematics from the core of my heart.
And then the next best career option seemed to be business management. While the BBA and MBA years were exciting in terms of academic achievements and romancing, but the professional scenario proved to be somewhat different from what I thought a career in HR would be. And I took very less time to realize that a career in management won’t take me anywhere because my over-imaginative mind and my constant search for independence won’t let me surrender to the conformities of ‘system’ and ‘reporting’. Whether you believe or not, I changed three jobs (all three jobs in HR in multinationals) within a span of six months. And those were not resignations…. but sudden disappearances. And I am proud that I did this because this led me to the path of self-discovery.
Back then, one of Kolkata’s youth magazines named Unish Kuri was asking for submissions for a weekly debate contest. Excited and driven by a sudden gush of urge to compete, I sent my entry… secretly, just in case people kept asking about the results! And there it was… my argument found its way into the editor’s heart, earning a spot with four other selected entries.
During that time, the professional content writing scenario was in its infant state, especially in Kolkata. People actually did not know the scope of content writing and why it was so important for businesses. I was jobless and I hated doing the conventional 9 to 7 management jobs. I could write for long hours without feeling exhausted and this was the only job that gave me immense fulfillment. I started looking for freelance writing opportunities and could luckily bag several such opportunities and set up a secondary career option in writing. I was happy; I could finally realize the fact that I was destined to become a writer.
When I shifted to Bangalore after my marriage, I knew that I had a flying career ahead. A full-time job as a content writer in a KPO, projects for global clients, and several accolades made me feel the joy of a regular 9 to 6 job for the first time in my life.
2. How did you get the idea for I am in Love with a Shuddh Desi Firangi?
I have grown up watching my grandparents worshipping Lord Shiva. There was a strong ‘Shiva-culture’ in my family. I was told that in every Jeeva, there’s Lord Shiva. I was told that Lord Shiva had the virtues of an ideal husband. His ‘simple living-high-thinking’ lifestyle and His ability to denounce wealth and the worldly pleasures of life fascinated me. I felt that He believed in gender equality and empowered His wife to successfully fulfill Her responsibilities of protecting the creation from evil forces of destruction. So I was looking to write a story with a hero who will have a strong presence of Lord Shiva in him. I was looking to create a sort of a modern-day Shiva-Parvati romance and what resulted was “I am in love with a Shuddh Desi Firangi: Hey Shiva, I see You in Him”.
3. What inspired you to write a novel?
After serving as a professional content writer for 8 years or so, I started feeling like having an identity as a writer, not a nameless ghost writer who just works at the backend and helps businesses in drafting marketing messages. I have an over-imaginative mind and I can understand human emotions very well. So the writing prowess that I developed throughout my career as a content writer combined with the potential of my over-imaginative mind and created the perfect formula for me to start thinking of exploring the world of fiction. However, the real ‘junoon’ to write a novel sparked in me when someone in my professional sphere attributed my success and accolades to ‘sheer luck’. At that point of time, I became determined to rise above the level of a nameless ghost writer and prove my worth by capitalizing on my skills and writing for a larger audience.
4. Can you tell us more about I am in Love with a Shuddh Desi Firangi?
It is a romance. A fairytale romance. And this love story will impress teenagers and mature minds alike. This is the love story of 25-year old Kattyayni, who saw Shiva and His various ‘Gunas’ in a man. In a firangi, to be precise. Yes, you read it right. A brown-haired, blue-eyed, pale-skinned, 6-footer firangi, born from an American father and a Spanish mother.
Kattyayni, who grew up in a traditional Bengali family, has always felt fascinated about the sweet-cute-dutiful, passionate, and sometimes tragic Shiva-Parvati romance, the stories of which she has been hearing from her grandmother since the onset of adolescence. Deep in Kattyayni’s mind sits the Lord, spreading His aura throughout her conscious and subconscious mind. So when Kattyayni meets ‘Rudra’, the firangi who demonstrates a ‘shuddh desi’ way of life by embracing yoga, rudraksh, dhoti, khichdi, and his beloved ‘Shiva’, Kattyayni finds a deep connection with him. This is a connection that goes beyond the level of her heart to touch her soul, to a point where love becomes totally unconditional. She sees Neelkanth, Adiyogi, and Vaidyanath in the firangi. But at the same time, she feels a deep desire to know Rudra’s actual identity. Who is Rudra?
This novel is about the loving interactions between Christianity and Hinduism. Set in the mixed cultural backdrop of Goa and flavoured with the ethnic specialties of Kolkata, this romance will surely knock at the minds of those who are in love or looking to find true, selfless love.
5. How would you describe your writing experience so far?
Writing is a healing mechanism for me to get de-stressed. I can write for hours without feeling exhausted. The more I write, the more vibrant I feel. I am a full-time content writer; I have to manage my time well so as to fulfill the requirements of my day job as well as to focus on my novels. I start working on my novels after 10 pm and sometimes even continue till 3:00 am. And believe me, I don’t feel tired at all because my passion drives me crazy. People say that 3:00 am is the time when the veil between the physical world and the paranormal world gets lifted. And yes, I see the other world too; this world connects me with my own spirit!
6. What has been your biggest challenge in being an author?
To be very frank, I don’t suffer from a lack of creativity. I have so many stories in my mind and as a matter of fact, the stories for my next 10 novels are already in my head and it’s just a matter of time before I can roll them out into the market. However, the fear that I won’t be able to reach a large section of my readers keeps haunting me. And then I remember one of the most important lines from Bhagvad Geeta- “Keep doing your work without expecting any result.” So I push myself into focusing more on my actions rather than worrying about the results. In my mind, I know that the rewards are hidden and I will definitely achieve them at some point of time.
7. How much time do you give for writing?
Because I have a full-time job as a content writer, I end up writing 13-14 hours a day. I spend 8 hours in the morning working for my employer while the night slot between 10 pm to 1-2 am is reserved for my work on novels. So as you can see, my entire professional life is about writing.
8. How does it feel by being a published author?
Nothing! Because the journey has just begun! Unless and until I am able to create a large reader base and reach as many readers as I can, I will not be feeling privileged. There may be something special about being a published author, but being a bestselling author would actually generate a feeling of true fulfillment.
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you give us a hint on what the theme of the book is?
Yes. The story of my next novel is set in the beautiful coffee plantations of Coorg and would depict the lives of people during the 1990s when cell phones and the internet did not touch people’s lives. This would be a romance-tragedy and a tale of self-sacrifice. I have also found a romantic, mellow title for the novel, but won’t reveal now.
10. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never get discouraged by rejections. Rejections mean nothing. How can a few people determine your fate and decide on the behalf of hundreds and thousands of readers who are waiting to read what you have written? By paying attention to rejections, you will end up rejecting yourself and nothing can be worse than that. By feeling ‘rejected’, you will be rejecting all possibilities of your life. Focus on marketing your book very well and hire reputed publicists.
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