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Journalist turned author Amrita Mukherjee releases her second book Museum of Memories

Journalist turned author Amrita Mukherjee releases her second book Museum of Memories

India Blooms News Service | 26 Apr 2017, 08:39 pm
The warmth and easy candour exuded by author Amrita Mukherjee belie the extreme emotions expressed in her book found out IBNS correspondent Tanushree Sen during her candid interview of the journalist-turned-author. Mukherjee's second book ‘Museum of Memories’, a collection of thirteen short stories, was recently launched in Kolkata.

So, you were a journalist first, and then you switched to writing. How and what made you take such a decision?

I actually always wanted to write. But being a journalist is an extremely busy life. I happened to be in Dubai. I had my son at that time and I simply wanted to take a break. So one fine day, I quit my job and that was when I realised that it was the best time to start my writing journey. Except my husband, who was extremely supportive, most people could not believe what I was setting out to do. And that’s how my first novel ‘Exit Interview’ happened. I was extremely lucky too, because I sent it to Rupa [Publishers] and they picked it up. I never needed to send it to anyone else. Fortunately, I’ve never had publisher issues, even for ‘Museum of Memories’.

How has the journey been like so far as a writer?

It has been fantastic. You know, it is an extremely fulfilling moment, especially when people come up to you and tell you that they picked up your book and how much they liked it.

Yes, we saw that today. Everyone has such good things to say about it!

Yes, as I said, that is what makes it so fulfilling. As a journalist, you collect so many stories, out which many cannot be printed in the newspaper or made into a feature. But that is when they take the form of fiction in a book. Even my first book was about the journey of a journalist, in a fictional form and now, even ‘Museum of Memories’ is about several collated stories, from my experiences of being a journalist as well as stories from friends.

So, was that the thought process or reason behind this book? To write what normally wouldn’t be printed or even published?

Yes. It was. All the stories of the book are extremely bold, and the whole idea was to express that.

So tell me about the writing process for ‘Museum of Memories’. How much time did it take?

It took approximately a year. I was in the process of shifting from Dubai to Calcutta, and it was an extremely difficult time. At night, I would stay up and keep writing. A lot of ideas kept flooding in, of different stories and I had to jot them down.

Out of the thirteen stories in Museum of Memories, which one took the maximum effort and was the most challenging, yet your favourite one?

For me, ‘Museum of Memories’ was an extremely cathartic experience, especially because it also helped me deal with my brother’s death. But my favourite story would have to be the most simple, yet most challenging one, the last story- ‘To cut a long story short’. It’s a love story, but I had to make it very different.

But in a world where social media is ruling everything, do you feel that reading has taken a backseat?

See, I believe that those who want to read, will read, irrespective of everything. Reading and books will never go out of fashion. Even in my times, there were always a group of friends who never read, and a group of friends who would always read madly. And it’s still like that. It’s a habit that will never change I have realised.

An author I interviewed a few days back said that one of the most challenging aspects of being an author is to pick up from where one has left off and to keep at the process. Did you face a similar situation?

Oh yes! Completely! When I was writing my first novel, my son was just ten months old. And I would often be in the middle of an intense scene or plot, and I would suddenly have to rush to change his nappy. By the time I came back, I had already lost the thread and I would have to start all over again and think, and very often, be unsatisfied with what I had written. It was quite difficult. Even now, when people ask me that do I sit in a very quiet place and write away, I tell them that it is not so at all. In most cases, the TV is blaring, my son is screaming next to me. It has become such a case that now I cannot write without my son’s presence around. Because I started writing after he was born, he is extremely important for my writing process.

And what’s your take on the title of the book?

‘Museum of Memories’ is based on the first story, but every story in the book is based on a memory. That’s why the title.

Finally, what’s next?

I’m writing Prosenjit’s biography. I’m already halfway through that.

Journalist turned author Amrita Mukherjee releases her second book Museum of Memories

India Blooms News Service
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