Interview: Indranil Roy
Indranil Roy is a teacher for the last 13 years - 5 years as a private tutor and 8 years as a teacher in Heritage Academy High School, Howrah. Upon asking other than writing, what are his other talents, he says, “I am striving hard to add something else which may sound equally significant.” He further adds, “My students find my voice appealing when I sing- possibly because it sounds different from the monotonous academic lectures.” Friends, I am privileged to present to you Indranil Roy a teacher who breaks stereotypes. He makes his debut as an author by writing the book titled, ‘The Man Behind the Teacher’s Desk.’
What made you to write this book? Who or what was your inspiration?
I conceptualized the story about a year ago but lost motivation after writing the first chapter.
Few months back while counseling one of my students I asked her, "Have you ever done anything that would make you feel proud of yourself?" But, by the time I completed my question, I realized that I haven't been able to do anything myself that would make me feel proud or at least feel good about what I am. As a student of class-X she was searching for an answer as well. I was on my way back home when I decided to finish my story which I had started writing nearly a year ago. My initial idea was to express what lay buried in my heart for long and finally I succeeded in completing the work.
It is a pure work of fiction but, my experience of being with students for the last 13 years helped me to get into the soul of my protagonist.
My Students and their unadulterated trust in me has always been my inspiration and motivation.
My work is an ode to all the teachers who are working hard every minute and standing by their students with a smile ignoring their own troubles.
Why do you think one should read your book in particular as there are thousands of books getting published, what is that which is according to you particularly special in your book?
My work captures 3 different stages of my protagonist's life - his school life, his college life and his life as a teacher. I feel that there is something for everyone to relate themselves to. It's a simple tale of life where one struggles to survive first and then tries to live it.
How was your process of writing alongside your busy schedule of teaching?
It took me more than a year to conceptualize and to develop the story. I wrote the first chapter nearly a year ago and somehow lost motivation. This year I started working on it since late April. I exploited the summer holidays. Thanks to my Motorola, I was never away from my story. I kept on writing it on the go, even when I was in train or in a cab. Otherwise I would not have been able to keep the tempo, leave alone the idea of completing the work.
What are the various themes you have tried to explore in this novel?
I have tried to explore the journey of a boy from his childhood to maturity and how he confronts the various evils of life.
I have tried to make it as real as possible. Three of my characters become the victims of campus politics and other obnoxious practices which I better not unveil now. At the same time, as a Teacher my protagonist experiences what numerous teachers, working in different schools, come by at different stages of their professional career. I think they would be able to relate to it.
The importance of a teacher outside the four walls of the classroom has turned out to be more important today than before. My protagonist tries to do his bit to guide, counsel and to support his students as done by numerous teachers.
In an interview you stated that ‘Chaitali’ is your favourite character in you novel, could you describe her more to us?
She is modern, carefree, and stands by truth and justice without caring about the person she needs to confront. Overall she is a true a friend with a golden heart- someone who can be relied on.
After writing the novel, how was the process of publishing?
The process of publishing was too taxing. I sent my work to at least ten publishers. Everyday I would wait for a mail. The initial mails where my work was rejected, started demoralising me. It was only after I received confirmation mail from my publisher 'Author's Ink' that I found a glimmer of hope.
Post writing I sent my work to 5 people of different age including two of my students to get their opinion. Their invaluable inputs helped me a lot.
What according to you must budding writer’s keep in mind, with regard to writing and getting it published?
Since I am yet to understand the very parameters followed by different publishing houses regarding their choice of topics for publishing, I don't think I can suggest anything. All that I say is that be honest to your work.
Name your favourite authors:
The list is too long. But, these names come to mind at first - Ernest Hemingway, O'henry, R.K Narayan, Satyajit Ray, Michael Madhusudan Dutta and Rabindranath Tagore.
Name your favourite novels:
The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Guide are always at the very top of the list, including Nelson Mandela's autobiography, 'A Long walk to freedom.'
If given a chance which genre would you like to explore?
I would like to try my hand at writing a science fiction. But, as off now it's a far cry.
Would you like to share with us your next venture?
The venture is at its primary stage. I have just finished writing the first chapter. A lot of research work must be done, before I get deeper into that world.
Your advice to aspiring writers.
My Facebook profile still records, 'an aspiring writer'. So I am hardly the person to advise anything to anyone. All I would say, be honest and try to be a part of the world, you are writing about.