‘It is impossible to make a living in India just by writing’
Being in the profession of writing in our country is not an easy job, according to author Bhaskar Chattopadhyay. He says that almost every author has to take up some other work besides writing books to sustain a living. The author, who has written books such as Here Falls the Shadow, Penumbra, and Patang, says that this applies to him as well — besides penning books, he writes film reviews and columns.
“It is impossible,” Bhaskar says. “If you talk to authors, nine out of ten will tell you the same thing. It is virtually impossible for someone to make a living by writing books alone. It is so difficult. I realised this very quickly”.
So, how do authors manage? “Well, some have day jobs and are writers by night. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to wear two hats. I wanted to make money out of writing. I love movies and started writing about them, including film reviews, essays on films, and columns. I was very surprised to find that they pay very well,” shares Bhaskar.
However, writing wasn’t what Bhaskar started his professional life with. Part of the high-paying corporate world, he could never really connect to that life. He found it stifling and realised that he was not cut out for such a job. After a decade, he finally decided to bid adieu to that life in pursuit of his life-long dream of being a writer.
Since then, Bhaskar has penned novels, short stories, translated the works of several Bengali writers such as Rabindranath Tagore, Hasan Azizul Haque, Rajshekhar Basu, Premendra Mitra, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Narendra Nath Mitra, among others. He has also novelised Satyajit Ray’s legendary 1966 film, Nayak.
When you read Bhaskar’s works, there is one unmissable aspect — his writing style is smooth and he does not bombard readers with complex words. “I’ve grown up on a staple diet of Satyajit Ray, Agatha Christie, O Henry, and Jim Corbett. All these authors are easy to read. My writing is a derivative of that. The other reason is that I don’t know complex words and can’t use them even if I wanted to. Moreover I want everyone to enjoy my books,” he explains.
His latest book, The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira, is the third part of the detective Janardan Maity series, set in a fictitious fishing village in Goa. “I wanted to have a series but I was afraid about the response from the readers. But I’m glad that people have responded well I have already started the fourth and have an idea for the fifth,” he says.