Author Chayashree Pathak has a reason to celebrate as her debut novel Till The End Of Time has been well received by the readers in Assam. The book, which was released recently, is available at the ongoing 33rd Guwahati Book Fair.
The Story Mug got in touch with Chayashree Pathak to know more about her work and the life beyond Till The End Of Time.
TSM: Tell us since when are you actively involved with the world of literature
Chayashree: World of literature is a big terminology. However, I started writing, or rather my passion for writing started when I was in the 5th standard. And it started with poems.
My first poem that got published in a local newspaper was titled Aami Bharator Xontaan (We are India's children) in the same year. But as life happened, the writing got side-tracked. But I continued writing in my blog and on other platforms on a small scale.
Since the last two years, I took it to my heart to finish the half-written manuscript of Till The End of Time and finally it is out. I guess I can say, now I have entered the world of literature
TSM: Since when did you decide to take up writing as a profession?
Chayashree: I have always wanted to be a writer and not a doctor or an engineer ever since I was a kid. I guess I was too much influenced by our great writers and their biographies.
However, for me, I have just started the journey. I don’t think I can still call it a profession. But writing makes me happy and I want to keep doing it all my life. Miles to go before I sleep.
TSM: What has been the support and inspiration of your family on this journey?
Chayashree: In one word- commendable. From being, my biggest critique to the biggest supporters and they played their roles efficiently.
You know, the biggest problem or drawback of an artist is that they always doubt their work, and at that time a gentle nudge or a strong push is necessary. And my family did their part pretty well. My sister was my first beta reader.
TSM: Which author/authors have been your biggest inspiration.
Chayashree: Raxaraaj Lakshminath Bezbaroa - hands down. As a kid, I was fascinated by his work and his life.
From today’s era, I love Rita Chowdhury, Durjoy Dutta and Stephen Hawking.
I also loved seeing my maternal uncle late Amulya Kakati working on scripts. He won a national award as well. Whenever he narrated a scene or a script, a particular glow would lighten up his face. Deep down, I believe I wanted to feel the same happiness.
TSM: Till The End of Time is your debut book. Tell us something about it
Chayashree: It is a love story set in the era of pre-social media. The days when even cell phones were a luxury.
It is the story of studious Riya, who started her college life with love being the last thing on her mind. But when she met Aakash, the cupid’s arrow struck hard. Everything seemed magical. The first sight. The first date. The first love. The first kiss. When everything was dreamy and perfect, life threw her a curveball. From blank calls to missed calls on the landline, their love transitioned to mobile phones. But would they be able to survive the test of time and distance?
The book is narrated by Prithvi- another character. But to know how he is a part of the story and to experience more, you will have to read the book.
TSM: How did you conceive the idea of writing it?
Chayashree: I (still) have many half-written ideas, but I guess I chose this to be my first published novel because of the innocence, honesty, and purity of the story.
TSM: Do you see any change in your process of writing after publishing the book?
Chayashree: Not much change as such, but I have learnt a lot. I still think a lot, read a lot, muse a lot, and then write. However, I am more aware of the process now, more aware of the writer’s block, etc.
Throughout the process, I guess I evolved as a writer. I expect the same with each work of mine, to learn and grow further.
TSM: What does literary success look like to you?
Chayashree: To me, success is a very vague concept. I don’t look for it. I rather seek for happiness. And that I find in almost anything and everything. In terms of the book, when a reader loves it and connects with it, that makes me happy. I guess I will be the happiest when strangers would tell me they loved my work.
TSM: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Chayashree Pathak: To me, the difficulty of the process is the same irrespective of gender. When I write a female character, I need to get inside her skin to understand her actions and reactions.
Same is the truth for male characters. But in this book, people are falling in love with one of the male characters and the way I expressed his minute expressions and expectations.
For an author, one of ‘the moment’ is when the readers love their characters, and I am glad my characters are receiving so much love.
TSM: What are the homework(s) one needs to do if he/she thinks of writing a book?
Chayashree Pathak: Research, read, write and rewrite. These are the keys. Read more than you write, rewrite more than you write. And not to mention, being observant and empathetic about your surroundings. After all, the stories and characters are everywhere.
TSM: What are the areas you like to focus on through your writing.
Chayashree: I love fiction and would love to give a world to the readers that they can enjoy. But topics that I intend to touch through my work are various social issues, gender equalities as well.
TSM: Have you ever gotten the reader’s or the writer’s block?
Chayashree Pathak: Oh yes. For Years. I am a voracious reader. If I ever wanted to possess something, that is a library. So when I had my reader’s block, I was miserable. My reader’s block was for 4 years, and finally, I broke it with 5 point someone.
And writer’s block comes and goes all the time. Earlier I was not sure how to deal with it, so I let it rule me. But now I am aware of how to tackle it. I read, take a walk, watch a movie, paint or travel. If nothing works, that I re-read my work in progress. The last one always helps.
TSM: What are your plans for the future? Any new book in the pipeline?
Chayashree: Yes, the next book is staged in Today’s era. It is still a work in progress, but I am happy about how the story is unfolding.
TSM: If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Chayashree: Maybe, read? (Chuckles)
TSM: What would you say to any budding writers who are looking for a debut
Chayashree Pathak: Just do it. And do it right. It is okay to have self-doubts. Talk to your support group- friends, family, critiques, take their feedback and work on it. Read much more than you write and keep rewriting unless you love it. No one can tell your story better than you, so you should surely write and share 🙂
Those who have not bought the book yet, you can find it at Unique Book Stall and Baandhav Book Store in the book fair. You can also order the book online and it is available in Amazon.
The Story Mug, a Guwahati-based blogzine, believes in telling stories that matter.