It was sometime in 2008 that I woke up to the idea of blogging. Guess what, my first post on Rediffiland (the earlier name of rediffblogs) was a post on Saawariya where I extended my whole-hearted support for the film. Yes, I did love the film. However, film reviews became few and far between, as I started focusing more on poems and short stories. It was not late before I realised that I am not cut out to be a poet though I might have written a few decent ones in that period. My true calling lay in being an author.
I started writing short stories on rediffiland and later on shifted to google blogspot, and received appreciation from the readers, a lot of whom were strangers. I later revised one of the short stories (Monster Heart) and put it up on MAM. However, the one story that won maximum praise was Knotted – a quirky triangle between a husband, a wife and her lover. It was almost universally acknowledged as my finest story by friends, colleagues and online acquaintances. A week later after the concluding part of the story (it was broken into 4 parts) was published that I got a comment from a dear friend, Soumen Dutta (Dada), who prodded me to write a novel on the story. It was a surprise for though I always wanted to write, I had never quite envisaged write a novel version of Knotted.
However, with Dada’s encouragement in my kitty and support from a few friends especially Argha Narayan De (Mongo) that I launched the attempt of writing a novel. It was a long process. Frankly, I am easily distractible person as I have ten stories hovering in my mind at any point of time. So, dedicating myself to only one of them was a task in itself. I started writing somewhere in late 2010 and it was only in mid 2012 that I completed writing it. Yes, it has been more than one year since I completed the first draft of the book. It was around the same time I realised that ‘Knotted’ is too bland a title for the book and decided to rechristen it ‘An Unequal Harmony…’
I sent out the proposals to a few publishers and awaited their response with a strange mixture of anxiety and eagerness. I wouldn’t decline that the manuscript didn’t get green-lighted at a couple of houses but I soon received a positive response from Srishti Publishers. Srishti is popular for romantic fiction and my book somewhat fell in the same genre, though it is definitely a more mature take on relationships than most of my contemporaries’ writings. That doesn’t necessarily make my book any better but it’s definitely different from most love sagas. What attracted me most about Srishti is the fact that they were extremely prompt in confirming their participation in publishing the book. I really thank Mr Jayanatakumar Bose and Mr Arup Bose for that.
The contract was signed in April 2013 and then we started work on editing and revisions. I must accept that a lot of delay in the process happened because of me as I failed to squeeze out time from my schedule and devote writing time everyday.
In the interim period, Dada who had planted the germ of writing the novel also took up the baton of designing the cover for the book. And what a marvelous job he has done. In the same breath, I must express my gratefulness to three gorgeous people Aksshat Seluja, Jitin Gulati and Tanya Chopra for lending their faces to my book and make it look so much more attractive.
Before I move ahead, let me take a moment and thank a few souls to whom I will be always indebted in some way or the other. Firstly, it’s my sister Sanchari Chakraborty who instilled so much faith in me about my flair for it that I feel at time whether I would have been a writer without her. Secondly, it’s my partner-in-crime and biggest confidant Arka Sinha – he has a trove of emotional stories and lines; and I am sure if he decides to become a novelist someday, he would write better stories on man-woman relationships than I ever can. Last but not the least, let me thank the two people who are invaluable in my life. Praveen Dhawan & Saswat Sahu – if God is benevolent enough to give such friends to everyone, the world would be a happier place. Would I have been another aimless corporate guy had the two of you not urged me to follow my dreams? Absolutely! I don’t know what makes the two believe in me so much, but I hope I live up to that faith.
AN UNEQUAL HARMONY… will be out on stores on 1st November 2013 and the pre-order will start on all online bookstores a week before the date.
Let me leave you with the summary of the novel. Hope you like it and if you do, please ensure that you include the book in your shopping cart for this Diwali.
02 April 2011: While the Indian cricket team fights on the Wankhede grounds to create history, two men engage in a game of words to determine the future of their lives.
Reva – a celebrated Page 3 journalist, and Anshuman Mehra – Creative Director of India’s most popular advertising agency are a happily married couple till a car accident relegates Reva to the ICU and reveals to Anshuman the biggest secret of their lives – Siddharth Kashyap. Reva and Anshuman had decided to tie the knot after two years of courtship, and while the two were considered a perfect couple, they never realised when routines and conventions seeped into the relationship and let the door open for the third person. A reputed fashion photographer, Siddharth met Reva a year-and-a-half after the Mehras had got married. Siddharth was mesmerised with Reva’s beauty and even at his stature and popularity, he had to literally chase her for a photo-shoot before she relented. But what started off as a formal professional association soon morphed into a friendship that transformed into love.
As Reva’s health swings between crisis and recovery, Anshuman and Siddharth retrospect their lives and associations with the woman who bound them together. It is through their reminiscence of the relationships and interaction with each other that we traverse through their meetings, their feelings, their heartbreaks, their dilemmas and their insecurities. Though the issue of infidelity has been dealt in many a story and movie, there is one angle to this checkerboard of relations that has always been left unexplored – ‘How in case of an infidelity, the two others members would interact, with their common link absent from the scene!’
For Anshuman, the entire scenario is marked by the sense of betrayal and breach of marital vows. Yet, somewhere in his heart, Anshuman is unsure whether he would really want to renounce his marriage or try to amend the incongruities. For Siddharth, there is a sense of marred honour and wounded ego, as he realizes that nobody will try to empathize with him as he is the third party. His biggest quandary is to convince people how much he loves Reva. As we turn back the clock and delve into Reva’s perspective, we realize that her conundrum is that of making a choice between the two men. Her marriage with Anshuman had been in the doldrums but then they still loved each other. On the other hand, despite her reluctance, she found herself inexorably drawn towards Siddharth. As her life gets intricately entangled in this web, the bigger question that surfaces before the audience is: can Reva love two people at the same time?
Despite the struggle to maintain the sanctity of relations – AN UNEQUAL HARMONY… is above all the proponent of world’s most worshipped emotion – a feeling that knocks at every door-step of human heart – LOVE. And it’s this emotion that masterminds a game which makes hapless pawns out of the 3 characters – Anshuman, Reva and Siddharth. However, at no point during this jigsaw of relations, does it get judgmental. It only represents the events and lets the audience decide the right and wrong for themselves.