A financial services consultant by profession, Gautam Choudhury has been an avid storyteller from the City of Joy, Kolkata. Currently residing in New Jersey with his family Mr. Choudhury had spent his early childhood traveling all around the country. Starting his literary journey with publishing articles and short stories in college magazines, he has come a long way. His debut novel; ‘Rafflesia the Banished Princess’ published in 2017 has got critical acclaim for its innovative theme and writing style.
By Nitish Raj, The Literary Mirror
“I waited for an eternity for the sunflowers to bloom. They didn’t. And I waited”. Even today the ITgeek turned author; Gautam Choudhury couldn’t fathom his thought-process which prompted him to scribble these lines. Even being unsure of the story at that time, he was sure of its being somewhere in the book as here collects his journey. Imagining a vast canvas in front of him which ought to be filled withvaried colours, his mind was almost like an empty shell barring the consolation that the thought soundedso beautiful and poetic. Every author would agree that thinking about writing a book is one thing thanactually writing one.
“Random thoughts scribbled in diaries, loose papers, and notebooks don’t make a story. It was a long struggle. Struggle to begin the story and then find a storyline. To achieve coherence of thoughts. To shape the characters. Finding a title. Nothing seemed easy. It went on like this for years and years altogether. Randomly written chapters without any continuity. I lost count of the number of times I abandoned writing the book, only to return to it again and again, disturbed and frustrated”; recalls Mr. Choudhury while on the voyage of a literary journey.
While looking back at this journey, Mr. Choudhury find it tough to explain which made him to be in itsclose proximity. Even today when he tries to remember those days, he feels that the characters demanded closure and he couldn’t have left them hanging midway. Finally, at the end of seven long years, Rafflesia was born, revolting against his entire world. And like all newborns, it demanded attention. Life became all about balancing work and the book.
Nevertheless, the prospect of seeing your book in your own hands gives you the energy to see it through publishing. He does not want to say a single syllable about what happened in the due course of publishing, as he feels that it would fill the pages of a memoir, if he decides to write on it. “Who is your target audience? Do you have a marketing plan? What is your elevator pitch”? He just imagining the reaction these would draw from the characters of his book. “How would you like to be marketed? I asked them. They looked at me in shock and disbelief.”
He admits that his transition from a wannabe author to a marketing brain was not successful. The characters of his book remained cocooned in their own world, and just like them, he stayed in his own. He hoped to make Facebook and Instagram his best friends, but they chose others over him!
The only redeeming moment in the chaos was when he held the book for the first time. Some read it twice. Some could not continue beyond two pages. Bouquets and brickbats, as they say. Moments turned into days. Days into months. Rafflesia started gathering dust. But not in his mind. Holding onto it and reliving every moment he wrote it again and again. To avoid the bothersome questions of people who started instigating about his writing the same book again, he used to calmly reply; Market-Friendly as he didn’t find any other suitable reply. The characters in the book go through a journey. So did he. And the time he spent with them shall always remain etched somewhere in him forever. Life happened again.
Things changed. Cities, people, and jobs. He became a little wiser and started thinking about the next. Thoughts began to flow. After a long two years, he realized it was time to move on. But was it easy leaving the world of Rafflesia behind? It wasn’t. He hardly blames it to writer’s block. He just couldn’t write for a long time. But nothing in life remains constant. Like everything else, this phase passed away too. He finished his next. Now, as he prepares to introduce the new characters to everyone, he cannot stop himself from looking back sometimes, in wonder, and think about the imaginary world where he spent so many long summers and cold winters. “My first book! Your ‘firsts’ always remain close to you, I suppose. They are among your best-kept secrets. So there goes. A few more words from a so-called author.”
He is still unsure about the destination where this writing journey would land him. “Perhaps nowhere. Perhaps somewhere. But wherever it takes me to, I shall always remember that it all started with a princess who lived in a faraway land. And there was a small boy who dreamt of her all the time. She was Rafflesia – The Banished Princess.”