A couple of years have passed since I released my debut thriller introducing Detective Raya Ray. While I started writing the next in the series soon after and was signed on by one of India’s leading literary agencies, The Book Bakers, I wanted to create a puzzle to challenge Raya and also the reader’s crime-solving skills. Dissatisfied with two manuscripts, I decided to move away from the book and enrolled for my third master’s, MFA in creative writing, in Nov 2019. Post-completion of the course, I had a fresh perspective of looking at a new Raya Ray story.
‘Diary, Deceit, and Death – Raya Ray Returns’ took shape in the form of a manuscript, which The Book Bakers successfully placed to one of the country’s top publishers Vishwakarma Publications.
I have always been an enthu-cutlet when it comes to birthdays, be it mine, or my close friends’ or family members. Of late, I celebrate it with the same enthusiasm as my son. It wasn’t supposed to be any different this year but like every thriller story that I write, there’s a twist in the tale.
Last Thursday, it started with a fever which led to a sore throat, nasal infection, breathing problems, and many more complications. The husband diagnosed it as a viral infection and medicines were prescribed accordingly. Sunday seemed a little better and I was almost sure that I would rock it as a birthday girl on Monday. I forgot God writes better thrilling stories than humans. The right lower side of my face started swelling on Sunday night and I woke up on my birthday morning with a face that looked stung by bees. Needless to say, I was devastated.
It’s in moments like this that one realizes the importance of close friends and family. It began with one of my son’s closest friends and his mother turning up with a cake to surprise me. They brought unusual happiness to my gloomy mind.
The husband returned with my favorite cake and a bunch of gifts that he and my son had been planning for a week now behind my back. My father was the only one aware of their plan. By then, my face was so swollen that I refused to let them click me while cutting the cake.
With a change of medicines, the swelling was in control by evening, though the face still looked disproportionate. However, when my husband’s colleague and our dear friend surprised me with another cake, I decided to dress up and cut the cake with them.
While most planned outings and adventures had to be postponed, I’m sure they will happen once I recover. Who says birthdays should be celebrated only on the special day? To everyone who wished me here, on any other social media platform, on WhatsApp, through calls, messages, and in person, THANK YOU for making my day extra special.
“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” – Og Mandino. After our trip to Mandarmani in March, we decided to take a road trip to Taki over the Eid weekend.
It took us around two hours from our residence in Kolkata by car to reach Hotel Sonar Bangla, Taki. After checking into our room on the second floor, it was a deja vu moment for us since we had visited the same hotel and stayed in the same block two years ago.
For lunch, we went to the hotel’s in-house restaurant. The mutton rogan josh was to die for though the Paneer makhani gave it serious competition. After exploring the property for a while, we decided to book the steamer ride on the Ichchamati River.
I could wrap up 2022 with joy and satisfaction as I hit the send button for book no. 2 (the second in the Detective Raya Ray series) to my publisher. Unfortunately, 2023 began with a shock as my father-in-law had a nasty fall. He underwent surgery for a broken bone. By God’s grace, he’s better now and recovering well. In January, we celebrated Saraswati puja and explored some delectable cuisines at different restaurants.
A month into 2023, I was chasing the deadline for book no. 3, my first commissioned project for a true crime story from the past. It was also the month my seven-and-a-half-year-old was due for his final assessment. Kolkata was under the grip of a deadly virus, and almost everyone I know, including me, was grappling with a weird kind of flu that just refused to go away.
By the beginning of March, things started looking better as I delivered the manuscript within the deadline, and we showed signs of recovery from the flu. The son finished his exams on the 6th of March, and we took off for a mini vacation to Mandarmani the next day.
Since the 7th of March was Holi, we played with colors before diving into the Mandarmani sea. Three days of a beach holiday rejuvenated our minds and bodies as we explored Tajpur Beach and Mohana near Digha Beach, experimented with local cuisine, and spent hours at Mandarmani beach. Of course, we didn’t want to return as the break got over.
The kid has his session break; I have taken another week off to spend time and play various indoor games with him. After three years of working non-stop on both books, writing and editing them, I decided to take time off before getting involved in the prepublication stages of my upcoming books. So, here we are, watching children’s movies like Sonar Kella, reading story books, playing puzzles and brain games, and squeezing out every minute to enjoy to the fullest.
I hope you had a great start to 2023 and that the year is treating you kindly so far.
2022 taught me the value of health. For the first time, I got into a fitness regime and made walking a constant parameter of my daily routine. Losing 11 kgs, walking 10k steps, and eating less junk food brought a positive change in my physical and mental health. Though I can’t do 10k steps anymore because of tendonitis, I don’t go a day without walking, even if it’s just 2.5k steps.
2022 is also the year of travel and outings. We squeezed time out of our busy schedules for gastronomic adventures, multiple day-outings, a trip to Mandarmani, going home to Berhampore during Durga Puja, and taking a vacation to Goa during Diwali. We feel grateful for the time we spent with Baba, my in-laws, and close friends.