Interview with The Author , who brings out the best in one’s life

Interview with Eminent Author Goutam Dutta

by Subhechcha Ganguly

Q1) Since when did you start writing and what was your first experience of writing a story like ?


I started writing seriously after two of my anecdotes got selected for a Chicken soup series titled -Chicken soup for the Indian Soul : On Friendship. That was in 2008-09. In 2007, while pursuing an educational course in London, I re-discovered Ruskin Bond, purely by accident and re-read his Room on the roof and other short stories. I am not sure why but that seemed to kindle a spark in me and the writer inside me stirred to life. In 2008, Ms Baishali Chatterjee Dutt was editing this particular Chicken soup title and I happened to get an email from her asking for submissions on the theme of friendship. I recalled two incidents and wrote them down. They were accepted and later published. One of them incidentally turned out to be the first story in the book! I was thrilled beyond words!


Q2) Tell us something about the book “High on the Hills”

Doars – The Land of Tea Garden


High on the Hills is a book about journeys…there are two journeys that I made, the experience of which I have penned down as this book. My friend who runs an adventure tourism business proposed to me one day, of touring the hills of North Bengal on a motorcycle. While it was interesting, it scared me initially; having had quit riding a motorcycle 20 years back. So the first journey, which is the first part of the book, was a journey of sorts-to re-discover my courage, my motor-cycling skills and my self-belief.

The second part of the book is of course the journey that I, along with a few other 50+ like-minded individuals, made through the hills of North Bengal. We touched some beautiful, off beat places like Todey, Dalimtar, Takdah, Beesh mile, Megitar, etc. Every place had its own uniqueness and the book is about the way it touched us and enriched us. Our country is vast and unity in diversity is at its core of existence. This book is also about experiencing this diversity and assimilating it into our system.


Q3) “The youth nowadays is more addicted to social media and have lost interest in writing ” What is your thoughts on this topic ?

The beautiful place Dalimtar


I tend to agree with this view and sometimes feel quite concerned about this. Writing is often a cathartic process, helping to cleanse the mind while also ensuring improvement in communication by improving clarity of thought. The social media is slowly chipping away at the brains of the youth, making them lose their ability to think. This is, in my opinion, a cause of worry.


Q4) ” The Hues of Life” is a book ,that has got lots of love and appreciation amongst the youth .Tell us something about how you curated the book and how this topic came up in your mind


As I have mentioned earlier, this book is about two journeys-one of self-discovery and the other of discovery while travelling. Post the first Covid wave, travel and tourism industry was facing tremendous headwinds and looking to re-define business processes. When my friend Balaji, who is into adventure tourism, suggested a motorcycle trip, it opened up a whole new vista in my mind. On the one hand, I was eager to go on this trip, tired that I was after the restrictions that Covid had imposed on us. On the other, I was scared as well. While Balaji assured me that the route was not too difficult and should not pose a problem for someone who used to ride a motorcycle in the past, I did go through a lot of mental anxiety. Preparing for the trip involved lot of preparation, right from hiring a motorcycle for brushing up my riding skill, to getting adjusted to the cacophony of traffic that abounds on Indian roads everywhere. There was also the matter of convincing my spouse. All this was an experience, which made me want to preserve that for posterity. Then, during the trip, there were many experiences that kept reminding me about the diversity that exists in our great country and how little we are aware of those facts. For example, if it had not been for this trip, I would never have known about the legend of the great Lepcha king Paeno Gabyo Achok and how he had dominated the regions of Kalimpong at one point in time. Then there were the culinary treats, so ethnic and localised that had it not been for this trip, it would never have come to knowledge of city dwellers like us. This is another aspect that made me want to share my thoughts and experiences with others.


Q5) You do have fondness for riding , cooking and travelling .How do you manage time for these activities in your hectic schedule ?

I firmly believe that when one has a passion for something, it never becomes a botheration or a chore. People feel eager to pursue their passion and find time to do so. Also, they are self-energized when they are pursuing their passion. Travelling, riding, Cooking are things that I am passionate about and hence always find time to do them. Cooking for example, is a stress buster for me. If I am very stressed out, I would probably head to the kitchen and try to cook up a dish. That energizes me rather than tire me. With age of course, the body does rebel at times when pushed. However, I do enjoy doing things that I am passionate about and would love to continue pursuing them as long as I can.

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