Tenacity is a writer's virtue says author Lavanya Shanbhogue-Arvind

2 months ago | 18-01-2017 | IBNS

Kolkata, Jan 18 : Author Lavanya Shanbhogue-Arvind, winner of 2011 Commonwealth Short Story Special Prize, said that the biggest challenge for her as a writer in the beginning was to getting back to her writing and continue from where she left off.

The young author was speaking at the Kolkata launch of her debut novel The Heavens We Chase, which took her over five years to write, a bildungsroman of sorts that is set in pre-partition India and traces the intricacies and complexities of a father- daughter relationship.

After spending a few years in the financial sector, Lavanya Shanbhogue-Arvind took to full time writing.

She said, I always wanted to tell a story during my growing up years. But I shied away from making eye contact with people. It was driven by a sense of isolation. So i took to writing.

{image_1}Talking about the genesis of her novel, Arvind said that she is fond of history as a subject and believes that the past can be relevant in present times too.

She also discovered that pre-partition tales often focus on images of turbulence and a violent political atmosphere. But there does exist a mundane civilian life too, and I have tried to portray that, she said.

It basically started with the character of Satya, his thoughts, ideologies, and from then onward, it became a journey of discovery and exploration. With Saraswathis journey, there is definitely a feminist undertone as she tries to challenge and rebel against the hegemony around her. Even today, when women try to rebel, they are tried to put in their place, added Arvind, who said she looks upon Amit Chaudhuri as her literary inspiration.

{image_2}While writing, you invariably end up infusing a bit of yourself in your writing, said Arvind, and therefore extension of my feelings and experiences can be found in some aspects in the father-daughter relationship or even Saraswathis love for someone much older than her.

I started the novel deliberately with the concept of sexuality and losing ones virginity because I wanted to explore the positive connotations that exist with it, as opposed to the usually negative thoughts associated with it, said she.

The book launch held at Kolkatas Starmark bookstore was attended by popular author Amit Chaudhuri, professor Saikat Majumdar, former NASA scientist and film director Bedabrata Pain, author and journalist Sandip Roy, and theatre director Shuktara Lal.

{image_3}Devdan Chaudhuri, author-photographer and entrepreneur, was the moderator.

Launched by Ahava Communicaitons, The Heavens We Chase is published by Roli Books.

My idea of heaven is to be a writer and complete whatever I write, said the young author as she signed off.

(Reporting by Tanushree Sen)