Interview at creative bay

Originally published @ on 10th Feb, 2014.

Today I am in conversation with Anvita Bajpai, a fellow blogger and alumnus of IIMB. She is the author of "Life, Odds and Ends", a collection of four short stories  (soon to be available in leading bookstores) by LIFI Publications. I had great time conversing with the versatile author. Hope you have great time too reading this conversation (also My first interview in the “Books and Authors” Series).

1)    What was the inspiration behind the book? And how did you come up with an idea to write a book?
I think I am a natural writer. I had been writing for quite some time for technical papers, presentations, journals etc. My work and my penchant for writing germinated an idea in my mind which has come up in the form of Life, Odds and Ends.
The inspiration behind the stories come from fact that in urban scenario we face different kind of challenges like work-life balance, shifting and overlapping of roles between man and woman. For a working women balancing motherhood and an active career is always challenging. Also the recent  rape incidents and child abuse has helped me to come up with Soul-mates, one of the stories in LOE.
2)    Tell me something about the book? Do you think that you have evolved too while writing this book?
The book is a collection of four short stories. These stories are the reflection of us and the challenges which we face in an urban life. I don’t think that I have evolved as a person while writing this book but definitely I have transited from my technical writing to fiction world through this book.
 3)   How have you researched for the plot and the characters?
I have always been a keen observant and my technical work also involves observing people behavior in the urban scenarios with the advent of so many social networking applications. The plots and characters are inspired by my imagination, observation and the happening which surround one’s existence.
4)    What attracted you to writing? Is there any routine you follow, any interesting thing you would like to share with the readers?
Writing comes naturally to me. In past, I was more focused on technology work and so was writing more papers, articles etc based on research and understanding of technology and business, and used to have non-technical discussions/conversations during in-person conversations or e-mails. However, as I work in understanding human behavior based on the data available across domains (retail, banking, internet, social data etc). Hence, probably this overlap of understanding human behavior, the inclination of writing, and also a keen observation of people and things around me results into a little more non-technical writing. After all we all live a life – just that a few observe in more details and are able to articulate it. Mostly I write in a silent environment, but given a deadline I have written otherwise too – provided I had already had a thought-out outline for the story.
5)    What is the hardest and easiest thing about writing? Did you ever encounter writer’s block  while writing your first book?
Not faced the ‘writer’s block’ as such. However, at times I write story with long breaks in between to attend to other professional-personal activities and then it took some time for me to get back to context – as there was a long break in between. First self-editing also was time costuming for these sections of book.
6)    Who are your favorite authors and why? Any recent book which touched you?
I read various authors, and subjects – so not one favorite. Recently, I read ‘The difficulty of being good’ by Gurcharan Das, and ‘The holy cow and other Indian stories’ by Tarun Chopra.
7)    Do you proofread/edit your books? The book cover looks interesting. How did you come up with the design?
First two iterations, I have done, rest were done by editors from publisher’s side. The cover, I worked on the idea of scattered pictures, the final images were selected and placed by the designer though. I have also designed the trailer for the book using my own collection of photographs taken @ http://youtube/7i485G11B3g
8)    Nowadays lot of Indian authors are coming up with their work? What do you think about this trend?
People are finding more opportunities for being expressive. Its good as we see the Indian expressions though the people who closely observe it.
9)    What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
There may be things which may be exceptionally good or bad. Otherwise most of the time reviews may also be based on the perceptions of the reviewer. For example, the movie “Paheli” did run just for a week in PVR in Bangalore – was not rated very high commercial success, but I and many I know like it very much. So, obviously there is an assessment, and rating – but it is relative than being the absolute.
10) Any message you will like to share with your readers?
Just the following quote that I wrote a few weeks ago.
“ Life has four important pulls – live, evolve, create and nurture. The struggle lies in figuring out a way to balance these pulls – that’s what is the common and of interest between all of us – and that’s what is LIFE.”

Aspiration and Ambition are two very common human characteristics. We are typically never satisfied, and want more. We do evolve as a result of it. However, at times an unconscious- obsession of the same results in an dis-balanced personality.
I have studies about many lives starting from Lord Rama to most modern people in society like Vijaya Mallaya, who are ideals for most of the people around. I have also studied lives of a few educated, well performing engineering, arts, science and management graduates also and tried understanding what typically is common, as they lack the balance in their life, during writing my first book. Many people, I interacted with struggle with work-life balance.
Hence, work-life balance is the starting point of the though while defining the stories in my book. Further, it also emphasises on what went wrong if things were not balanced. The concept studied is also presented in the lecture form at IIT Madras, and IIIT Bangalore – The talk titled “In the Spirit of Life” focuses on the thought of bringing balance to a human life.
Part 1 of the talk @ IIT Madras –