Swapna Peri: Firstly, tell us about the very interesting cover design of your book ‘Hindsight: 2020’
Sudip Banik: Hi Swapna. First of all, I would like to thank you for having given me the opportunity to connect with my readers. Secondly, I’m indeed glad, you did bring up this question for as much effort went into the making of HINDSIGHT 2020, equally engrossed was I to design the cover. It’s a well known saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but for me a cover should be as appealing and revealing as the book itself. My book is all about having a vision and unlocking the emotions through it. The same effect, I did want to portray through my cover. You have a vision, the hands represents the different emotions and the key signifies the exploration of those emotions.
Swapna Peri: What is the genesis of this book? Why did you choose to take up this genre?
Sudip Banik: All my writings, well this is my debut book, but all my articles and even through this book itself, I’ve tried conveying a message. Messages based on situations around us which we’re not vocal about. I had this desire of writing my book on a relevant and burning theme for a very long time but somewhere couldn’t manage the time. Lockdown solved both!
Swapna Peri: In the book, the characters of Eishu, Ansh, Nandu or Sana are very realistic and relatable. What is the inspiration behind?
Sudip Banik: Well, if it is not an over the earth kind of a science fiction, for other genres you need to have a simple and realistic character for your readers to be connected and involved with the story line. Especially when you’re trying to derive a message out of it, else the whole effort goes in vain if your readers are not convinced.
Swapna Peri: There are facts and incidents in the book that are coincidental with the recent happenings. What was the idea behind incorporating these?
Sudip Banik: The theme was such that you had to bring in the symmetry with the happenings around. Happenings which have been known but not in depth for these are facts and the overdosage of the same will result in monotony. Hence I had to bring in an element of creativity mixing it up to the right proportion along with the historical incidents.
Swapna Peri: What kind of story writing techniques do you use? Do you make a plot in your mind or is it instinct-based?
Sudip Banik: You can say both. It’s the skeletal that I glue in first, and then there’s the sub-characters or the sub-plots interwoven alongside. It’s when the instinct takes over, but not before the beginning and ending has been pre-decided. Those are sacrosanct, can’t mess around with them.
Swapna Peri: What change as a writer did you see in yourself from the start of the book till now?
Sudip Banik: That I guess is something which cannot be conveyed through words, the feelings I mean. Those are so relatable. HINDSIGHT 2020 is a story for the common, by the common and of the common. The characters, while I was bringing them to life and even now as they align thoughts with my readers, they are as livid as they always have been, both within and beyond the boundaries of a few pages. The more I delved deep, the more I realised about the plight of the common man. This in turn has shaped me up, to be not only as a better writer but as a person overall.
Swapna Peri: Which was the most challenging character for you to develop in the book?
Sudip Banik: I would say Junaid. He was the one to have suffered the most. Having said so, it is also a fact that a man is a product of his choices. Sure destiny plays its part but not before you’ve played yours. The character was to be portrayed in such a manner that it didn’t seem controversial, at the same time some of his actions seemed justifiable, and again there has to be this message of peace and tranquility.
Swapna Peri: Do you have any writing rituals?
Sudip Banik: Not as such! It’s always about connecting the dots, night or day, awake or asleep. The moment something relatable pops up, I’ve my writing mode on. Better said than done though, this is not so easy as it sounds. But then, your readers won’t pay for something which comes easy. Isn’t it so?
Swapna Peri: What is that one question you find very interesting during your interviews?
Sudip Banik: “How many copies have you sold?”
Swapna Peri: How do you deal with your critics? Who is our best critic?
Sudip Banik: It’s the other way round for me. My critics deal with me for in criticism too lies benevolence and there’s a great deal to be learnt from it.
For me, our friends and family members are our best critics. While others will simply break you, friends, family members and well wishers will break you to ‘make you’ even better than what you currently are.
Swapna Peri: Which author or book has the maximum influence on your personality?
Sudip Banik: I am not a loyalist when it comes to any genre or an author. I gobble up anything or everything that I can lay my hands around. If the write-up is able to match frequency with my thoughts, I shall remain emotionally attached to it for days. I was very much touched through ‘Lajja’ by Taslima Nasrin. I read it when I was very young, but it still stirs up a memory somewhere. ‘The Alchemist’ is another one which holds a place close to my heart. All in all I should say, I’m an emotional freak and anything in sync with it freaks me out.
Swapna Peri: Which is the latest book you’ve read? If you liked it, can you explain to us why did you like it?
Sudip Banik: I’m currently reading ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ by Cheryl Strayed. It’s an uncanny book I should be saying with real life conversations and unorthodox solutions. The best part about the book which intrigued me is the fact that the solutions to all the questions hurled up towards the protagonist (not in a bookish sense) are the ones which has been lived and felt. Out of box solutions to life’s basic problems, unique in its own ways!
Swapna Peri: Any suggestions to the budding authors.
Sudip Banik: I have a simple philosophy of life, a philosophy which is my own and I follow it to the last word. For all my readers, follow this simple mantra of life and you’re bound to succeed. Just say to yourself, “I do not want to be the PHOTOGRAPHER”. Life could be short, but should be meaningful. Do not just occupy seats and applaud success stories, rather create one for yourself that others might want to talk about. Do not be the photographer, be the person in the photo. Follow my website www.sudipbanik.com for more.