Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Avik : Hello, I am Avik Gangopadhyay. I am 48.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Avik : I am based in Kolkata, India.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Avik : Born in May 6, 1969, I am an Indian author of 30 published books in English and Bengali on aesthetics, theories of literature, language and criticism, dead languages, not-so-discussed historical issues, philosophical and religious ‘ISMS’ and Indological studies.
My endeavour in Editing 6 books of poems and short stories in Bengali and English has received critical attention in home and abroad.
Having parents distinguished in their respective sphere of creativities, my father, noted academician and litterateur Manab Gangopadhyay, formerly Reader and Head of the Department of Bengali Language and Literature in Government colleges in West Bengal, India, including Presidency College and University, author of novels and short stories of rare themes and stylistics, critical and philosophical treatises in Bengali and English, and mother, celebrated classical dancer and singer of songs of Tagore, Sriparna Mukhopadhyay (later Gangopadhyay), I was born in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta), India. With my father having a transferable job, I had my schooling in various places in different Institutions like Sri Aurobindo Vidyamandir, St. Thomas, Ballygunge Government High School, MAMC High School, Bidhan Institution. I graduated with Honours in English Language and Literature from Durgapur Government College(1989), completed Post Graduation in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata(1992), and did Bachelor of Education from University of Calcutta(1998).
I also finished Diploma both in Library Science(1993) and in Journalism and Mass Communication(1990).
In my pursuit of language studies I attended Kalidas Chatuspathi, MaxMuller Bhavan (Goethe Institute) and Alliance Francais for Sanskrit, German and French languages respectively.
My interest in classical music initiated my association with playing sitar during my teens but it was interdisciplinary studies that consumed my focus. My long association with psychology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, history, popular science, Indology, comparative religious studies, treasures of antiquity, photography and documentation had shaped both my creative and critical psyche.
The Sojourn of a Writer
The world of poetry appealed to me most. Most of my poems, written from late teens, are confined to myself, often rendered in Literary assemblage, finding print space in little magazines and weekend literary columns of newspapers, later published both in English and Bengali in Editions like The Murmur of the Mist (2002), The Shadow before Dusk(2002), Shells Upon the Shore(2002), Rup Arup Aparup(2002), Vishanna Chhaya(2002), Ekaler Kobita (2004), Ekaler Chorita(2004). My short stories are published in the collections Morshumi Mon(2004), Anurag Golpo Samvar(2002, Ekhon Golpo(2010).
The success of my experiments with modern symbolic poetic drama in classical strain, which are brought out by Sarodiya Proma(2004) and Bhashabandhan Utsav Sonkhya(2011), had inspired me to venture more into the least trodden world of Bengali poetic drama.
But as a writer of critical literature I mostly remained focussed. A glimpse to the titles and themes or treatment will emphasize my tenacity to unravel the not-so-discussed or untrodden regions in the interdisciplinary studies.
Awarded the “Editor’s Choice Award” for my “Achievement in Poetry” from the Library of Poetry, USA, in April 2002, and “Jnan Sarasvathi Samman” for my work on Sarasvati by Varada Siddhi Peetham, Telengana, India, I devote time to answer queries across the globe as an “Expert” on the first half of 20th century on the esteemed webzine on Classical Literature. Book reviews and Profiles of mine have already surfaced in The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Statesman, Daily Observer, Bangladesh Post, Anandabazar Patrika, Ei Samay, Boier Desh, Saptahik Bartaman, Dhaka Review, other leading literary columns of newspapers, e-journals and in the internet. A 100-minute Documentary on my works & activities has also been made emphasizing on my contribution to rare themes & topics.
A teacher by profession, I enjoy with pride the popularity among toppers and students willing to look beyond career and living. Residing in Kolkata, I am married to singer of light classical songs Swati Gangopadhyay, often writing songs and scoring in leisure, also working hard to pass the buck to my son Aaloy Gangopadhyay, a budding Spell Bee Wiz and writer of travelogues.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Avik: Presently I am nearing completion of a book on the Glimpses of Indian Languages. Also completed the Voice Over of a Documentary on my publications.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Avik : I started writing a suspense crime drama when I was around 8 years of age but it was primarily with imitating my father, a novelist of repute, who used to sit and write at regular hours, that initiated me into everything.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Avik : While writing scripts for Calcutta All India Radio Talks for 2 years I breathed an air of confidence and gradual appreciation led me through..
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Avik : The theme of ‘Uncertainty’ as an attitude towards life expressed in art and literature tempted me to work on some texts, theories and authors. My father and some of my close ones encouraged me that it would become an interesting book…it was a difficult topic to encompass texts and authors across the globe of my choice and reading and finally I could win over an unwilling publisher.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Avik: The title “Quest for Uncertainty” was not a spontaneous one…a thought-out title as it reveals the quintessence of both the search for the theme and my approach for the same.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Avik : As my subjects are varied, approaches are objective and often marked by perspectives, the stylistic demands are sometimes pressing. This has been quite a challenge, especially with essays and articles; with poems and stories a subjective style has gradually evolved with time.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Avik: Books on dead languages, literature, culture, history, psychology are rooted to reality. It is difficult for me to say that my poems, poetic-drama and stories are not realistic; yes there are internalisations of experiences that surface– that is a part and parcel of creativity itself. But my approach is not too subjective.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Avik: Yes, very much, especially Asiatic Societies, National and regional museums for Indological research and language studies. I use travelling as a part of cultural-anthropological and ethnic survey which readily makes way to my related works that I undertake time to time.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Avik: Two of Kolkata’s leading artistes, Soumyadeep Mondal and Nilkanto Mondal- they have done the most of the Cover designs of the 30 titles published so far.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Avik: I am never pronouncedly didactic; both emotion and intellect of mature readers are capable to decode the natural layers, I leave it to them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Avik: In the known circle I would like to mention three poets, writing in equi-fexibility in Bengali and English, Anirvan Majumdar and Debayudh Chatterjee–their renditions poignant with surreal sense of distancing and discontent, touch the latent-poet in me; and the third poet is Ahmed Tahsin Shams, whose book Theo 101 , I feel, has the pulsating vibrancy of the postmodern creative psyche.
The canvas of my favourite authors is big, but to mention something close to my heart is the writings of my father, Manab Gangopadhyay, his novels and short stories– unique thematics, intimate dissection of characters, unnamed feelings, unmatched stylistics as if rendering an idiom of mind—he is still my obsession.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Avik: Sorry, there is no one other than my father and mother- they are the only people who enthused me to write, to maintain a standard and get my works published.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Avik: I am quite into it now; writing columns in various reputed dailies across the globe, in webzines, getting books published in English and Bengali at regular intervals during International Book Fairs..
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Avik: No, not really, it is on the gamut of Indian languages, the scripts—it is well-planned, revised—I suppose such premeditated work does not need any immediate reworking.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Avik: Sure, yes indeed, the linguistic and phonetic features, and the history of Indian languages, its development, evolution and decay…in a way it is rediscovering a culture through languages.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Avik: Some stories or a novel could see screen adaptations..frankly speaking, I have never thought of it consciously, faintly I would like to see Sir Anthony Hopkins in a character-role of an ancient oriental atheist philosopher…
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Avik: Please don’t stop reading…an informed writer is a phenomenon by himself/herself
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Avik: Readers have to grow, be mature..they too have a duty to elevate their tastes…that too has a process…one has to undergo this journey
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Avik: Sri Aurobindo and The Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Avik: O yes, I was seven then, a book in Bengali, written by Khagendranath Mitra, “In the Forests of Africa.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Avik: When I see vain attempts of people trying to establish a lie or encountering self-deception…
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Avik: Well there are many from time past– Plato, Chanakya, Shankaracharya and obviously my father—I have a feeling within that they have the answers to my unanswered questions—they have the power to disturb and console my thoughts…
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Avik: Yes, Dream analysis, Graphology, classical music and photography…I can’t live without them..
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Avik: I am an admirer of Art Films, or parallel cinema..I don’t get much time for TV shows but whenever I get a chance I browse over National Geography and History Channel, Travel and Tom & Jerry.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Avik: The cuisines from Bengal and North India are my favourites but I am comfortable with continental cuisine, selective Chinese and few dishes from the Middle east ; well, among the colours I love the sky-blue in the sky and the sea-green in the ocean, the yellowish-green upon the wavy paddy fields ; I have a proud possession of Western and Indian Classical music discs—be it a piano concerto of Mozart or Ravi Shankar’s Sitar recital, my day remains incomplete without listening them…I always leave some time of the day for music as moments of meditation.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Avik : That I can’t imagine…I would rather prefer to start writing something on the very topic in coming days…on the extreme I would prefer to be in the company of the great minds of the world– read their works and have imaginary conversations with them…
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Avik : “ Someone who dared to face the Unanswering Universe
Only to find that
Between The Truth and God
Falls the shadow”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Avik : Yes. Thank you so much Fiona.
MY WEBSITE : www.avikauthorindia.com
Readers are Welcome to visit the following links :
Shanta Roychowdhury said:
Excellent interview. Readers will get clear picture of this dedicated talented young author through this interview. Young students will be benefited by reading his books.
avik indianauthor said:
Dr. Anil roychowdhury said:
Enjoyed this interview, people will get detail information of this famous teacher, talented writer. His wonderful books are great assets to the students and in education fields.
avik indianauthor said:
Thanks and gratirtude
Armen Pogharian said:
Congratulations, you’ve compiled quite a list of accomplishments. I can’t imagine filling 100 minutes of a documentary on me – at least not an interesting one. Best of luck to you.
avik indianauthor said:
Thank you so much for your words of appreciation…actually much of the the documentation remained focused on 3 of my seminal works, the death of language, the diaspora, Indological studies on Saraswati..
avik indianauthor said:
Reblogged this on avikindianauthor.