INDRANIL ROY | AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Interview by bookGeeks:

While day time finds him donning the cap of a teacher, spending almost 14 hours with his students on a daily basis, it is in the night, when writing comes to him. An ardent lover of Bengali music, Indranil Roy manages to do it all – teaching, writing, and even singing. We at bookgeeks got an opportunity to interact with the author of the book “The Man Behind the Teacher’s Desk“.

bookGeeks:Tell us something about Indranil as a person.
Indranil:As a person I am extremely introvert, contrary to the image that I have among my friends and students. My life changed ever since I started my journey as a teacher about fourteen years back. Every day I learn something new from the kids. Their novel approach to life bemuses me.
As a teacher, I am in love with my profession. It feels great to be amongst kids for nearly fourteen hours a day and to be a small part of their world for a few years. Initially I used to feel hurt when they used to pass out of school and in most cases didn’t stay in touch. But over the years I have become accustomed to it. Today I feel sad but it hardly hurts anymore.
bookGeeks:How has teaching helped you as a writer?
Indranil:Teaching has helped me to become whatever I am today. It changed the entire course of my life. I never wanted to become a teacher, my aim was to become a journalist. But today, I literally owe my life to my students and it is not just for the records, I do mean it and I hope that they know it too. One of the taglines, used during the promotion of the book was, “Standing by students, who made a man out of flesh”. I think it is self-explanatory.
bookGeeks:To what extent your book reflects the reality of today’s education system?
Indranil:I have tried to keep it as close to reality as possible. Some may disagree but even they can’t deny.
bookGeeks:Who is your biggest critic and why?
Indranil:My biggest critic is my wife, who has to read a lot of trash again and again to see which one stands out. Apart from her, I have three students who are generally the early readers of my manuscript. Their inputs are of great value to me.
bookGeeks:What has been your most inspiring moment as a teacher?
Indranil:When I started my journey as a teacher, my first batch of students was just two years younger to me. I wasn’t sure whether I would be accepted by them. Before the class started the owner of the centre pointed out two boys who were the toughest to handle in the class. After the first class finished, one of them came up to me and politely said, “No one ever explained to us with such care.” This inspires me, even to this day. There are numerous teachers who are better than me in every aspect. But, I still try to be equally caring to them and often befriend them to sort out such issues which distract them from studies.
bookGeeks:As a teacher what books do you recommend to your students when it comes to reading literature?
Indranil:Being a Bengali, I always recommend my students to read the works of Bengali authors. In my opinion, unless they read literary works in their own language, they will never be able to get the essence of other literary works in any language.
bookGeeks:When did you first start writing and who or what was your inspiration?
Indranil:I started writing when I was in school. At that time it were just for time pass. Later, some of my works got published in our college magazine. But, I took up writing seriously only last year. I didn’t have any inspiration as such, other than a desperate urge to make a mark for myself. I don’t want to become one of those trillion anonymous faces. The question that always drives me to madness is, “Are you proud of yourself?” Standing in front of the mirror, I ask this to myself every day. Even to this day, the answer I always get is a negative one. I will go on working harder till I get a positive answer.
bookGeeks:What are your other interests apart from writing?
Indranil:I love music- predominantly Bengali songs. I often perform in different school events. My students say that I sing well. I don’t take it too seriously. Perhaps they find it pleasing as it sounds different to them than the drab classroom lectures.
bookGeeks:Any new book that you are currently working on?
Indranil:My latest work has been initially entitled as, ‘Life Owes a Better 8/11’. It is a story set in the backdrop of ‘Demonetization’ in India and revolves around the lives of three persons, including an AIDS patient. Hence it deals with graver issues than what I dealt with in my debut novel.
A number of readers found my first book ‘The Man Behind the Teacher’s Desk’ to be a bit too simple and straight. They praised the storyline but commented that the language lacks lustre and fineness. But, to be honest I did want it to be simple and straight. The language I use intends to cater to everyone. I have tried to keep it simple in my next book as well. But, the story is a bit more complicated and has multiple layers of subplot.
bookGeeks:A few words for your readers
Indranil:If you intend to write, focus on the content, be honest to it and write in the simplest form to get to a wider audience. Language is a medium of expression. It should never turn out to be a barrier. I believe that, in India we are still in the early stage of accepting English literature. The dismal scenario of English in India bears the testimony to it. So, it is important to get those people drawn to your work as well, along with the urban readers. Don’t compromise with quality. But, in my opinion, the toughest job is to arrange the simplest of words for an honest expression.

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