Sagarika Chakraborty author of ‘A Calendar Too Crowded’, in conversation with Nishi Roy, shares her vision and inspiration behind writing her debut novel. Read on to know how women, working from home, and publishing can happily co-exist with each other.
Nishi Roy ( NR): It is not too often that someone so young writes her first book dedicated entirely to the trials and tribulations of women. What prompted you to do so?
Sagarika Chakraborty (SC): Yes, I am young and it is very unusual for people my age to pick up something so serious (often tagged as dark), but then I have been brought up by two ladies (my mother and my grandmother) who have always led me to believe that it is we, the youth, who have the power to change the society we live in, and that pen is the mightiest weapon of all.
NR: How do you get the time to write and when do you?
SC: To me writing is the biggest stress buster. I always feel I lose out on expressing a lot of things through verbal communication. I am a workaholic, so time management has never been an issue for me and being an insomniac, the silence of the night just helps me de-clutter my mind as I research, frame my thoughts and paint pictures with my words. My biggest fear is picking up a newspaper one morning and finding that there isn’t an article to encircle to which I can dedicate the day for research.
NR: Any personal experiences that you have weaved into your stories?
SC: Loads! Each story in the book is attributed to someone I have met or known. That is one of the reasons why I have preferred to keep the stories nameless – which few readers have pointed out that as a drawback. I strongly stand by the nameless stories mainly because I know the face behind each one of them and thus I wanted to leave them out and instead spin tales with just voices which represent millions. I want those voices to transgress all boundaries of geography, religion, age and caste to become one voice— the voice of womanhood.
Speaking of personal experiences, the story filed under March, “When the Ganges Ran Dry”, is actually a depiction of my relationship with my grandmother who has been one of the most important guiding forces in my life. The story dedicated to Women’s Day, which is a critical take on empowered women, is actually based out of a long debate I had with my mom a few years ago. And yes, there’s a story on sisterhood too, which is attributed to the most wonderful sibling bond I share with my sister, my hero.