When you are into writing for close to two decades and you have to write on ‘writing life’, all of a sudden you really don’t know how to start, for so many thoughts, events and incidents, saga of failure and success, tears and laughter jostle together in your mind, each event is demanding to be mentioned first, thinking that it’s contribution is the highest to mould you to what you are now.
Well, to begin with, let me start with when and how the first seed or greed to write germinated in my mind. It was just after l joined an organisation as an engineer trainee after completing my bachelor degree in electrical engineering. Suddenly there was abundant of free time, afforded by two days weekend and long evenings, all at my disposal. I started devouring short story collections and novels. Initially, they were works by R. K. Narayan (yet now l hold his works in high regard), Guy De Maupassent, O Henry, and very obviously inimitable Tagore. There were a few prominent bengali authors whose works left me spellbound. Surprise ending which is a predominant style in all these masters writing made me pore over one book after another. Meanwhile, a strange transformation took place in me. I started searching, subconsciously, for people around me, who are having some unique idiosyncrasy, which may prove a perfect fodder for a short story with a surprise ending, where throughout the story the readers will be made to think in a certain fashion but in the last one paragraph, the entire citadel of their thought process will shatter as an unexpected twist will be there at the tail.
Writing short stories is very satisfying and it is not a complex process as the story doesn’t have too many characters and chain of events.
I wrote a large numbers of short stories and dreamed of publishing them as a collection like ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ by Jumpa Lahiri. However, the bitter taste of failure l savoured when the manuscript was turned down by all well-known publishers of the country. Thus started the literary journey with rejection. The beauty of continual rejection is that either it breaks you at some point of time, or if it fails you emerge as a stronger being. In my case, fortunately, the latter one happened.
To cut the long story short, after a dismal heaps of rejection of a good ten years, a write up of mine got selected in a Chicken Soup for the Soul. And since then no looking back. I wrote for several national periodicals, numerous anthologies as a guest author, contributed columns in The times of india, and till now three novels of mine published. And the last one, The Speaking Stone, a historical mystery thriller, released a few months back and doing critically and commercially very well. Pray this journey continues for a long while.
Ratnadip Acharya is an author of three successful novels, Life is always aimless and Paradise lost and Regained and latest historical mystery thriller The Speaking Stone. He is a columnist for the Speaking Tree in The Times of India. He contributed many write ups in different collections of chicken soup for the soul. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and son.
He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or