Ayaan Basu is a striving author, an avid blogger and a columnist fighting his days between MNC-clad work schedule, writing and veracious travelling routine. Being single, apart from writing, he was also a singer/guitarist for a Kolkata based rock band Driftwood.
Ananya Dhawan: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
Ayaan Basu: I started writing when I was in high school in my mother tongue Bengali, with a poetry book Story of a prodigal child along with a couple of articles in The Statesman “Vibes”. I also wrote a few children’s poems for various small Bengali magazines. Belonging to the cultural capital with parents into art and music, there was enough encouragement to begin writing.
Writing is both a passion and a stress buster for me apart from my hectic work and travelling schedule, as life started getting busier professionally with of course enough personal turmoil. When I first started getting appreciated and motivated, along with strict criticism from my known circle of day dreaming – that’s when I became confident enough that I can be a writer too and make a point to prove for a few and share my thoughts with others… sometimes the thoughts are purely mine and sometimes the thoughts are influenced from close observations around me.
AD: What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
AB: There are many – with a mix of regional, national to International writers. The list is too long to fit in here.
AD: Is The Storm in my Mind – Ami, Kolkata and Confessions, to an extent your own life story?
AB: The Storm in my Mind is a compilation of a series of episodes that have happened in real life – a few are influenced from my own life and a few from people around, who are very close to me and who played a very vital role knowingly or unknowingly in shaping my personality and success.
We live in the age of information today and even though the story you want to share with the readers is terrific, if you do not market it properly, no one will read your story… The journey till now for me has been tiring but educative.
AD: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
AB: Writing a book is not easy when thoughts get executed in Microsoft Word, but the actual hard work starts after that. To start off with its finding a good publisher and marketing the book properly. We live in the age of information today and even though the story you want to share with the readers is terrific, if you do not market it properly, no one will read your story… The journey till now for me has been tiring but educative.
AD: What is on your plate right now? Any current project you are working on?
AB: At this moment my plate is full to keep my stomach happy! Especially after my short story “Bollywood Affairs” which received really good reviews as a part of an anthology, I have three more stories releasing in the next few months in three different anthologies. Also the sequel of The Storm in my Mind is going through pre-publishing work currently and will be India’s first fiction travel book which connects Bengal to an unknown destination in Southern India where my protagonist Aryan Roy takes the role of a backpacker.
AD: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
AB: Finding happiness in anything and everything I do is a tough thing, but I think I live up to it, which is kind of a big accomplishment for me.
AD: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
AB: I am a guy with good time management skills but perhaps the worst in the queue who can answer this question. Well, life is very unpredictable where the suspense of what will happen tomorrow or next month or next year keeps me excited and motivated, so I will leave it to my destiny and let my hard work guide the way.
AD: What is your take on the publishing industry in India?
AB: The publishing industry in India is booming at this moment with a rapid increase in the number of authors and readers. Hence, there is quite a bit of competition involved, to get noticed.
There are hundreds and thousands of worthy and not so worthy manuscript proposals which a well-to-do publishing house receives, so by being patient and waiting for your chance is what can be done with fair amount of confidence in your own work but again, the Indian publishing industry will grow big. It might take time but it will surely.
AD: Any writing advice for other aspiring authors?
AB: Read anything and everything as much as you can and lastly believe in your own work because if you don’t have confidence in your work as an author, readers will not have confidence in what you write.
1. One most fearful moment of your life!
When my parents were told that “Your son has brain cancer!”
2. A secret (weird) talent/quality you have!
I am a guy with enormous amount of patience though I look just the opposite.
3. One person you cannot imagine living without!
4. Describe yourself in two words!
Practical and very caring
5. Your most prized possession!
My elder sister