Interview: My first question to you is about your selection of plot. How exactly you thought of writing this bookThe Call of Bliss?
Soham Mukharjee: Frankly, since my book is not a novel but a collection of short stories, there is no one plot. But there is a connecting theme. That theme is the desire to be happy. That is what I write about in each story. Every character wishes to be happy in their own way and does what they feel is necessary. However, it is a fact of life that you may not always get the kind of happiness you want – and that is what The Call of Bliss is about.
Interview: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your daily life. What you like to do most?
Soham Mukharjee: I’m a voracious reader and I spend a lot of time reading. I also watch a huge amount of time (more than I would care to admit) watching British comedy shows and videos on YouTube. I’m also a big foodie, well, quite simply, eating is one of my favorite things to do. So I go out for dinner a lot.
And pretty much anything related to football – watching it, playing it, whatever.
Interview: what was the motive or reason behind this book? How long it took you to complete the book?
Soham Mukharjee: Well there was no real motive as such. However, the main idea is to let people know that they are not alone in what they feel. We all feel the same way from time to time; that things are not quite working out the way we want them to. And that’s fine, really. It’s okay that things don’t work out perfectly. That’s how it is. The beauty of life is in its imperfections. If life was perfect, it would be boring. About the time it took to write the book, cumulatively it would be about 2-3 years. The stories kept collecting in my head and then on my computer. Then finally last year I put them all together in this book.
Interview: So in real life, are you fed up with the banality of our society at present?
Soham Mukharjee: Yes. Today’s society has, perhaps necessarily, become more and more mechanical. We are simply going from one second to the next without really paying attention to where we are or what we are doing.
Interview: If yes, what are some of the things you would like to change about our present society?
Soham Mukharjee: There’s this line from Satyajit Ray’s 1963 film Mahanagar (The Big City) where one of the protagonists says: “Earning our daily bread has made us cowards.” That is what I hate the most. The repetitive nature of our daily lives. We need to give more importance to actually living than simply going about earning it.
Interview: What else do you do apart from writing?
Soham Mukharjee: I’m a teacher. I am an assistant professor of English (Communicative) at an engineering college.
Interview: When you actually started writing? Was that your childhood hobby or you have recently started as passion?
Soham Mukharjee: I started when I was around 16 or 17. It wasn’t a hobby. It’s more of a passion. It was just about writing down what I was feeling. It was way of unburdening myself whenever I was having a difficult time.
Interview: Tell us a little bit about your journey in writing so far. What are other achievements you have got in your life?
Soham Mukharjee: Well, to be honest, I have come a long way since I started. Now I write because can’t not write. I become uncomfortable when I want to write something and I know there is something inside but I can’t bring it out. I don’t really have too many achievements to brag about. But, I suppose as an academic, having cracked the UGC NET is perhaps considered to be one. (Ha Ha)
Interview: So would you like to continue with writing in the coming years too?
Soham Mukharjee: Yes, I hope to make writing my profession. It is something I enjoy doing especially because it gives me the license to lose myself in the crazy world that is in my head.
Interview: Can we expect your next book? If yes, by when can we expect? Can you tell us about your current goal in writing career?
Soham Mukharjee: I have a couple of books in the works. To be honest, I have been working on them for two years already and I honestly cannot say when I will be able to finish them. They are both novels – one fantasy and one sci-fi.
My current goal is to try and write a novel based in Kolkata. There are very few books out there that bring the beauty of the City of Joy and I, rather ambitiously, hope to do so. Both the novels that I mentioned are based in the city and I hope to do justice to this city – which is why they are taking so long to finish.
Interview: Is there any motivation behind writing? To whom you dedicate this success of being a published author?
Soham Mukharjee: There is no specific motivation. As I have already mentioned before, it is an attempt to give readers a friend in the form of my book. I hope that I have been able to do that with The Call of Bliss and hope to do so again in future.
The main driving force behind becoming a published author was my partner. She believed in me with all her heart and that is why I had the courage to take this step. However, my parents also deserve credit for not discouraging from this venture as most Indian parents would. My friends as well who have constantly bugged me to put a book out. And finally, I have to give a special mention to my students, who have unequivocally beaten my drum as a writer.
Interview: Many emerging writers are trying to make their space in literature. One advice you would like to give aspiring writers or poets?
Soham Mukharjee: I wouldn’t dare claim to be in a position to offer advice. Much like Chandler Bing, I’d rather offer a sarcastic comment. Give space to reading, we shouldn’t get to a point where we are all claiming to be writers while completely ignoring the importance of reading and understanding good literature.
Thanks a lot for giving your valuable time, Soham. Best wishes!