Dear friends,

Our second author for today is Respected Prabir Kumar Datta Sir. Let us proceed further, to get an insight into his life, experiences and what he has to share with usPrabir 1 from his life and his book.

BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background

PKD: I live in Kolkata and was born in a place called Barasat which is near Kolkata. I have taken up various professions in my life one after another, which can be summarized as follows:

  • as Manager in various positions in a reputed government PSU (I took VR),
  • as a self employed professional in Insurance Investigation
  • as professor in Physics in an all India reputed institute,
  • as a teacher in Physics preparing students for admission to IITs

In addition to all such professions, I have continued my literary writings all along.

My father was a teacher and an ex freedom fighter of strong principle and moral value. Mother was a home maker. Both of my children, one son and one daughter are engineers and are now in U. S. My wife is also a successful home maker. We are blessed with a grandson from our son.

BNI: So, What all you have written / published till date?

PKD: I have written many short stories which have been published in almost all leading Bengali magazines. I have also published a few Bengali novels and a poem book. ‘The Rainbow Days-an eternal story ‘ is my first English novel published by Patridge (Penguin House)

BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?

PKD: I was for a long time toying with the idea of writing a book on the fragile period after the independence and the partition of the country. The English novel ‘The Rainbow Days’ is the result of that. My childhood experience in a remote village and the inspiration received from the battle of values by my ex revolutionary father have also taken their place in the book.

BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book- ‘The Rainbow Days-an eternal story’

PKD: It depicts the fragile post partition period of Bengal through the passionate tale of the childhood of a boy and the lone battle of his ex revolutionary father against social odds .

BNI: How did you come up with the title?

PKD: Frankly speaking, the name accidentally occurred to me when I completed the book. But later it nicely fitted into the story, which is a colorful one with lot of ups and downs. The story depicts different shades of life, a child hood, a family, a period and the life as a whole.

BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

PKD: My intended audience is all section of people, but particularly I want that the new generation who may not have direct experience of the sufferings and values of the post independence period should get some motivation by reading the book. Further, in the present day of corruption and lack of moral values they gets an idea how the moral values and courage can play a big role in life.

BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?

PKD: The pivotal character of the book, ‘Nabin babu’ is the most favourite as his selfless fight for values is unique in the present society and bears a positive message to the readers. There is as such no character not favourite to me.

BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

PKD: Nabinbabu was an ex freedom fighter who sacrificed his career for the freedom struggle of the country. But he did not hanker after any benefit and even refused to apply for the freedom fighter’s pension. Rather he had to lose two lucrative jobs for his revolutionary background and his fight for the labors and ultimately he had to take a job of teacher in a remote village with a meager salary.

There too, he had to fight with the corrupted village head and one day had to lose his job. But he never bowed down in spite of untold adversity. His unparallel character is exemplary and is the backbone of the book. His lone battle of values is unique and has a universal appeal.

BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?

PKD: Initially, there was a lot of problem but at last everything was very easy with my publisher ‘Patridge’ of Penguin House.

BNI: Share some interesting story about the book writing/cover development.

PKD: Initially I wrote the book in Bengali with the name ‘Saat Ranger Din’, which in Bengali means days of seven colors. Somehow it was not published. Later it was rewritten in English with few changes.

While developing the cover, initially I was not getting any idea. One day while on a tour outside the city I happened to see a rainbow in the evening and immediately, it gave me the idea of the cover.

BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?

PKD: There is definitely a message that I wanted to convey through the passionate tale of Papu and the lone fight of his father against all odds, sticking to values only.

‘If a man is true to his purpose and honestly carries out his duty towards his family or society, following the path of truth without being scared of any threat or adversity, he may face lot of hurdles ,but at the end of the day he wins and that win is so satisfying.’

My character ‘Nabinbabu’ has proved it and that is my message.

BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part time?

PKD: It was never a conscious or well planned decision based on any time frame. From the early childhood my father, who used to read a lot, regularly told me stories from various famous books. From those stories a liking on literature grew in me. But I was never serious in taking writing as my profession. I have always written along with my other professions and that too, not in a very regular way. I write for my own pleasure and on many occasions I have not even sent my writings for publication. Even now I write part time along with my many other works.

BNI: Which writers inspire you?

PKD: My first inspiration is from the stalwarts like Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore of Bengali literature, although many other Indian and foreign writers have inspired me. In addition, Swami Vivekananda’s writings have inspired me more than anything.

BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?

PKD: I believe that every writer writes primarily out of his inner urge. As of me, ideas keep on haunting me every now and then and they come from various sources like books, people, news paper, nature and what not. But to arrange them and express them through readable story is the greatest challenge for any writer, particularly as because he has to create something out of the blue.

BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

PKD: I only want that my messages percolate to my readers through my writings and they contribute something to the society and for that I shall keep on writing. As regards career, if you call that as success, it rests with God to whom I always surrender everything.

BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?

PKD: The toughest criticism comes from one who goes through the book thoroughly. One such reader commented about some mistakes in the book and gave me some constructive suggestions.

The best comment came from one Mr Shuvam Jaisawal who wrote:

‘The  Rainbow Days’ is an interesting, provocative and unorthodox novel which leaves you breathless and forces you to ponder over forgotten values and sentiments”.

BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block.

PKD: Only one tip – ‘Just be honest and write from the heart’

BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?

PKD: I have the intention to write a book on the eighties i.e. the period just after that of ‘The Rainbow Days’ which, in my opinion is the period of change, when old values and systems were giving place to new and a new awakening was in the offing.

BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?

PKD: ‘Be clear in expression, don’t sermonize and leave some space for the readers to think and ponder.’-That is my only advice to all.

BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

PKD: There is always a challenge in getting the first book published. However, I got it done with the help of a good friend.

BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

PKD: The last chapter, particularly when the poor untouchable people of the village were meeting Nabinbabu and biding him good bye, is the most favourite one to me.

It sees the height of emotions when an apparently less emotional Nabinbabu was also full of tears.

BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?

PKD: I always learn as I write. I think every writer does. This is because at the time of any creative writing the writer is alone and constantly interacting with himself. While writing this book I had glimpses of my childhood friends and memories and had many lessons out of my mistakes and accomplishments.

BNI: Any amusing story about marketing this book, so far.

PKD: I never have done any aggressive marketing of my book. But still one day, I received a telephone from some unknown person seeking to meet me in person and have a signed copy of the book from me. He did not disclose wherefrom he got my number, but he has made wide publicity of the book and as a result quite a few people purchased the book taking his reference.

BNI: What are your expectations for the book?

PKD: I have great expectation on this book. So far whoever has gone through the book has showered praise on it. A few of them have of course made some constructive suggestions along with their praise. I am sure it will win the heart of huge number of readers. I have not yet received any single negative reviews. My only request to whoever reads this interview is ‘ Just read this book once and you must be unknowingly influenced and involved with its characters and feel at one with the story as this is everybody’s story.

BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?

PKD: Yes, very often, if it reflects the core idea of the book and is appealing.

BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?

PKD: Advantage is that in self publishing I have much more freedom and choice of publisher.

But there are disadvantages of marketing hurdles, expense involved etc.

BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?

PKD: My choice is undoubtedly the printed book. You cannot get the same comfort and involvement in other forms. Reading a book is not one way process where reader only swallows whatever the writer serves to him. It is an interaction of the minds of the reader and the writer, and for a good book the reader must have enough time and space to think and create his own picture. That opportunity is best offered in the printed version where the reader has the freedom to go through the book in his most comfortable time and environment.

BNI: Dear sir, we thank you for chalking out time to answer the format queries for the blog. Hope your book earns success!