2018 ended on a high note for me. I was hoping for 2019 to have an equally great start. After welcoming the new year by organizing a picnic with friends followed by a family get together, we returned back to Kolkata in the first week of this month. The pending writing assignments got me busy immediately after and then it was time for the toddler to get back to his preschool post the holidays. My 3.4-year-old happens to be one of the most gentle, caring and compassionate souls in my life till date. In an era of eroding humanity and decaying conscientiousness, he is unbelievably empathetic and understanding for his age. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that I am learning to be a better person through his actions.
Within three days of joining back preschool, he fell sick because of a stomach infection. We had to coax him to skip classes on Thursday and Friday to help him recover. It saddened me to think of the consequence of this sudden illness. In all probability, he was likely to miss the preschool carnival scheduled on 12th Jan (yesterday). When he woke up yesterday morning, I was furiously typing on my laptop trying to attempt writing a few words for my second novel. I had expected him to start nagging me to stop working and attend to him instead. But to my surprise, he asked me if we could go to the carnival for a little duration.
The blog has hardly seen any activity for more than a month now. With my focus on NaNoWriMo last month and trying to bring the novel to a convincing climax this month, I doubt how soon I can get back to the groove. And then a mail arrives this morning from IndiBlogger team saying that my post submitted for the #TheBlindList campaign, the pan India contest has made it to the winning list. This is the second time that a post of mine on travel writing has made me a winner this week. I guess it is time to get back to my Wanderlust stories soon. Thank you IndiBlogger and Lufthansa for this win.
I grew up as a single child in a small town in Bengal called Berhampore. Every year my Professor father ensured that we had two vacations. The first one was always planned and it took us to Kolkata, then Calcutta. My mother had her parents staying in that city and I was amazed at how different a metro city was from my town. But what I would look forward to was the unplanned vacation to a new destination during summer holidays. My parents would keep me guessing until we reached the spot. As I grew up, I would try to open the bags to see if winter clothes were packed because that would mean a vacation in the hills. Every year that I went back home, I took back fond memories of places I have visited and left a part of me in those places.
This post has been pending for a long time. Thank you, Priya from priyareflects.com for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. The fact that I have written a detective novella ‘Deal of Death’ in the genre of mystery/thriller makes me feel extremely happy at receiving this award. Love the squirrel for being the cutest presenter of any award ever.
Coming to the award, it was started by Okota Enigma. She had an idea behind this award. “It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
So here are the rules of this award –
1. PUT THE AWARD LOGO/IMAGE ON YOUR BLOG. LIST THE RULES. 2. THANK WHOEVER NOMINATED YOU AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THEIR BLOG. 3.MENTION THE CREATOR OF THE AWARD AND PROVIDE A LINK AS WELL 4.TELL YOUR READERS 3 THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF 5. YOU HAVE TO NOMINATE 10 – 20 PEOPLE 6. NOTIFY YOUR NOMINEES BY COMMENTING ON THEIR BLOG 7. ASK YOUR NOMINEES ANY 5 QUESTIONS OF YOUR CHOICE; WITH ONE WEIRD OR FUNNY QUESTION (SPECIFY) 8. SHARE A LINK TO YOUR BEST POST(S).
The first three points are already attended to, so here’s the answer to number 4 –
Three things about me –
There are three men in my life who I love the most – my toddler, my husband and my father. There’s nothing that makes me happier than spending time with my Dad, having a heartfelt conversation with my husband and playing with my toddler.
I quit my Banking job to become a writer and it is only recently that I became a published author. I nurture the dream to continue writing Detective thrillers with my protagonist Raya Ray and hope to see my book in the bestseller racks someday.
I am a night owl. I can work till the wee hours of the morning but if you ask me to wake up early, I find it extremely difficult to implement.
Now coming to the five questions that Priya had asked me –
If you were to choose a pen name what would it be?
It would be Raya Ray. It would be a lot of fun writing as the protagonist of the detective thriller itself.
Share your best memory ever?
There are too many to write especially during those years when my mom was still around. But the one memory is etched in my heart forever was when I held my son for the first time after his birth.
Tell me about your most romantic date
My husband and I have been friends for two decades now. We had lost in touch for a good number of years before meeting each other again in 2010. We met at a restaurant called Casapicola in Bangalore for lunch. When we started talking, it never felt like there was a gap in between. Even without expressing our feelings, we knew that we were meant to be together.
If you were to act in a movie (or play a literary character) which one would you choose and why?
I wish I could play Feluda – the sleuth in Satyajit Ray’s detective novels and essay the role of Vidya Bagchi (played by the super talented Vidya Balan) in Kahani. Both belong to my favorite genre of thrillers and Vidya Balan is a personal favorite.
What would be the absolute worst name you could give to a child?
If you have heard Bengali nicknames, you would know that there are quite a few names that could scar the child forever. So Pintu, Ghoton, Babla are just a few among them.
I nominate the following people for this award –
I would want them to answer these five questions –
Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody knows.
Which genre of books do you enjoy reading the most and why?
What is the best piece of advice or feedback that you received for your writing?
If you were stranded on an island, what things would you take with you and why?
What is the weirdest or craziest thing that you have ever done?
My best post till date is also a personal favorite –
Delhi is the first city that gave me a feeling of responsibility that comes along with freedom. I had spent three years at the Presidency College Girls hostel in Kolkata during my graduation. But, in 2002, when I moved out to Delhi for my first post-graduation, it was also for the first time that I realized the state of being very far away from home. During my two-years stay there, I made some wonderful friends and was exposed to multiple cultures, languages, cuisines, and festivals.
After moving out to Bangalore in 2004, I never had a chance to return back here. Two months back, my husband had an opportunity to visit the city for his official work. Knowing my attachment to Delhi, he booked tickets for both the toddler and me. When we checked into the Taj hotel property, little did I expect the room to become a personal favorite! It wasn’t just the huge glass window pane that provided a gorgeous view of the Delhi sky but also the corner of the room dedicated as a working space that stole my heart. In the game of peek-a-boo between light and darkness, I sat down to write my second detective thriller.
This is the ninth post (nonfiction) written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign on the theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the seventh flash fiction around this picture prompt hereand the eighth one here. For the first six posts, you can click here.
Ria had alighted from her school bus when she spotted the familiar oval-shaped mirror. It had the reflection of her neighboring house. Ria wondered how Swara’s shiny mirror reached here while opening her house gate.
Next morning, she stood transfixed as the news anchor on TV announced about her neighbor burnt to death by the fire that broke out last night. This was the third case in less than a week. The only thing that connected these three deaths was the fact that they were suspects in the ongoing case of sexual assault and murder of her best friend Swara.
My husband (T) and my toddler (also T) are the best of friends. Senior T is posted in a city far away from Kolkata. He travels back to the city only over the weekends. Whenever Senior T is at home, Junior T doesn’t leave him even for a minute. With the onset of monsoon seasons, Junior T has been suffering from recurring viral fever. A couple of weeks back, he was still in the recovery process and had been missing his father a lot. His father decided to surprise him by turning up a day earlier than usual. On spotting his father after waking up, the surprised toddler jumped on him out of joy while senior T instantly lifted him up higher leading to a moment worth capturing.
Shubha gasped for breath as she broomed the floor of the Iyer household. Heavy work coupled with inadequate diet had led to her failing health. The Iyers who paid her the highest salary among the five employers were famous for mistreating people of her class.
Shubha looked at Mrs. Iyer offering sweets to the deities. Shubha felt her stomach crying out for some food. Her alcoholic husband had run away with all her savings last night. She had barely managed to feed the kids and had to sleep without a morsel of food.
In another corner of the house, Iyer’s toddler son was emulating his mother’s actions. The deities had been replaced by his favorite toy called poochie – a dog made out of clay. The little one placed poochie on top of his favorite donut urging it to eat.
“Please let me be born as a toy dog in my next birth. In our world, an inanimate object gets better treatment than people like me,” she spoke to her God with tears in her eyes.
This picture is from my wedding in 2011. Though the Hindu Bengali wedding is full of such beautiful moments, this particular scene is a personal favorite. I feel that this frame depicts one of the most poignant moments of my marriage. For me, it signifies that two souls united by the threads of love, trust, and understanding have chosen to walk together in this new phase of life.
If you want to read more about Bengali weddings, you can read my personalized post here.
Here’s my second interview as the author of Deal of Death. I had a great time answering these amazing questions. If you want to know how Deal of Death was conceived, why my protagonist is named Raya Ray and if I have any plans for a sequel, this is where I have spoken about these and on many other aspects of my debut novella. Also, I have listed down all the marketing strategies that worked for me and led to an overwhelming response in terms of downloads. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave your comments here.
Her first book and she wrote it in just 6 days. Not cooped up in a beach house or looking at the inspiring hills, but while minding an active toddler. If that’s not a feat then I don’t know what is.
This dynamite of a lady is none other than Sonia Chatterjee.
An alumnus of Presidency College (Kolkata), Delhi University and XIME (Bangalore), Sonia Chatterjee holds two post graduate degrees in the fields of Chemistry and Management. With eight years of experience in the Banking sector heading branches of ICICI and HDFC Bank, she had taken a sabbatical from the corporate world to enjoy the roller coaster ride of motherhood. A self-confessed bibliophile, Sonia inherited her love of the written words from her Professor father. As a tribute to her late mother and a gift to her son on his second birthday, Sonia started blogging from September 2017.