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Defining an Aspiring Writer

About Kathakali Mukherjee

Kathakali Mukherjee, born 1971, was a student of Sanskrit – Epigraphy and ancient Indian history. But her interest in language and literary studies led her learning another couple of European languages as well.
She worked for media libraries in Kolkata; also spent several years as technical translator, process and team manager with German and Indian software companies in Bangalore. Currently staying in Gurugram or Kolkata, she is engaged with reading and writing.
Apart from experimenting with short stories, she works on literary translation of fable and fairy tales as well as historical fictions. She is exploring the treasure trove left by esteemed Bengali and German authors between 18th-19th centuries these days.
She writes poems during her busy days when time does not permit her to sit at the writing desk.
Her blog: https://medium.com/@KathakaliM and https://www.indiblogger.in/kathakalim
Her self-published works:
"You and me" is a collection of poems https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01NCSMHK9/
And her effort of translating a selection of articles from Lokrahasya “Secrets of the Humankind – Satiric Articles by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay,”: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-kathakali-mukherjee-secrets-humankind

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Prologue :

Mitul did not know her leaving a job could annoy so many of her neighbours!

She had been engaged with different work areas throughout her professional life. Finally she stuck to software sector for around ten years because of the financial security it provided her. But as recession affected her gigantic software company as well as her project, she did not find any point working for proposed lesser salary. Starving and staying in the cyber-city was not her dream. She was fine with the idea of transforming into a dog; but only for a good package. She did not need to provide monetary support to her family. Hence she started thinking of doing something that would serve her ‘pleasure’, the rarest type of delicacy found on earth. She decided to go back to her parent’s home and try her luck in writing which was once her retirement plan.

Part 1

She returned home after submitting her resignation – her octogenarian parents were excited to see the much loved daughter back at home, even her sister from another cyber world welcomed her decision. She had an idea about the subject to write, but not about readership. She knew her incapability in making friends and self-marketing. Anyway, leaving a job was not the first risk she had ever taken. Hence she was hopeful of surviving this time too, especially after she received an offer from the famous entrepreneur-author Tanima Bose and the feminist publisher Dibya Gautam to work as content writer.

Unfortunately, the effect of her leaving job on her parent’s neighbours, whom she seldom met before, was too severe to assume. Almost everyone was curious about the reason of the homecoming of a middle-aged woman before retirement. Some expressed concern about her mental health, some about her illicit relationships at workplace, some suggested her to start searching for another job immediately, some asked why she did not marry someone she met on the road to the office, and some asked her how much she was hoping to earn by freelance writing. She could never assume her neighbourhood people would find defining an aspiring writer so difficult. She felt bad for all the investigating eyes, not being able to satisfy any of them.

Nevertheless, she was born with some rare quality that attracted her to books more than most of the human beings around her. Forgetting real humans never seemed too hard. On the other hand, surreal humans hidden in the pages of the books had always been a matter of interest. She smiled remembering an invaluable comment about her made by an upset boy during her college days. “She is interested in romancing black lines printed on papers.” She immersed herself in what she found interesting – she rediscovered Krittibas Ojha. Born in 21st century, she never had a chance to meet a 14th-15th century poet. But imagination makes every impossible possible. Even in the absence of Mr. Ojha’s pictures, she knew how he looked like when he sat at his writing stool in the morning, some five hundred years back. She could tell how he spent his childhood in a family of pundits with three of his brothers, how aggressively he was looking for a sponsor before he decided to meet an unknown Gouda king. She found the feminist Chandrabati, the coastal Bengali lady Ramayan-writer who dared to call Ram, a Pashanda (evil) in 16th century. She had made friends with almost all authors whose works she loved. Interpreting the contemporary could have been easy unless they had predicted the nature of the changing world long back. In contrast, she found very few of contemporary writings worth discussing; only few were fluid enough to cross the border of reality through imagination. However, she could not help falling for the art of presentation of couple of living authors – Sanjeevani Siddhanta’s magic realism, Jeevak Vaidya’s translation of medieval Hindi poems or Murari Manoharan’s management theories fascinated her.

 

Part 2

As it happens in case of many aspiring writers, her family members were fine with her eccentric affair with books, lines and their creators. In fact, her eccentricity was nurtured by her family like many other writer-producing families – she had observed. Her parents and sibling always fuelled her fascination. It was quite normal when her Delhite cousin called her in the morning, “Mitul! Do you know what your Murari Monoharan has done?”

“He always does something out of box; what’s new?” She tried not to express curiosity.

“Union of Nations declared right to polygamy as human right, you know?”

“Hmm.” – now she understood where the discussion was leading to.

“And yesterday he declared his support for the right to polygamy in an interview; also told how he, along with his group of celebrity friends, struggled long to legalize polygamy for all!”

“Nothing new to readers – think all his readers already knew about his many engagements. Polygamy may be absurd to westerners but not in Asia and Africa. If Union of Nations follows ethnic way – let them. Murari may be helping them out! Why to bother? Or do you think his target readers may react adverse?” – Mitul resolved to loud thinking and lecturing.

“Not at all! It’s not about him or his readers. Market is safe for him. I was thinking of the social impact. Polygamy may become a fashion if followers start following their hero. Murari became hero overnight I see!” And the conversation continued for an hour revolving around Murari and his revolutionary concepts, market economy and aligning social values with market.

After she finished her critical discussion, her mother asked her, “Who kept you engaged so long? Tanima Bose?”

“Nooo, Murari Manoharan. His right to polygamy movement. Remember the interview on TV last evening? You know taboos of the civilized world.” Mitul heaved a deep sigh, being unable to express her worries.

“Consider asking Murari’s wife if she needs a maid someday.” The old lady chuckled.

“When will you people grow?”

But she did not show any interest in the grave issue. Mitul went on pondering the impact of television talks on people in the country. What would happen if Krittibas Ojha appeared on television?

Next day was the first of week-long Durga Puja celebration. Mitul opted to stay at home and finish her essay on the health-issues polygamy might cause. Her almost-deaf father decided to sleep. Her mother went to the Durga Puja pandal alone. She came back after couple of hours. Entering home, she announced, “The idol is superb this year. Visit the pandal once tomorrow. Neighbours were asking about you. They were curious – wanted to know who you are working with, what you are writing and all. I replied anyway.”

“What did you tell?”

“That you are writing a novel, and working with the group of Murari Manoharan.”

“Wha……?” Mitul’s eyeballs almost came out of their sockets. “I don’t know Murari – we were only discussing his activities. You forgot both Tanima Bose and Dibya Gautam?”

“Yes I forgot. I remembered only Murari’s name.” Her old mother replied. “As I told you are working with his group – they all went silent.”

Did Mitul see a mischievous smile in the corner of her mother’s lips before she stepped towards the kitchen?

Mitul muttered, “Now you lost the chance of finding a daughter-in-law for your son as well!”

She knew she would never get a definite answer asking her prankster mother about her intention – whether she had really forgot her daughter’s work area associations or she wanted to shut the mouth of the neighbours.

But once again, she felt grateful for being born of her amazing parents.

Mitul did not know her leaving a job could annoy so many of her neighbours!

She had been engaged with different work areas throughout her professional life. Finally she stuck to software sector for around ten years because of the financial security it provided her. But as recession affected her gigantic software company as well as her project, she did not find any point working for proposed lesser salary. Starving and staying in the cyber-city was not her dream. She was fine with the idea of transforming into a dog; but only for a good package. She did not need to provide monetary support to her family. Hence she started thinking of doing something that would serve her ‘pleasure’, the rarest type of delicacy found on earth. She decided to go back to her parent’s home and try her luck in writing which was once her retirement plan.

She returned home after submitting her resignation – her octogenarian parents were excited to see the much loved daughter back at home, even her sister from another cyber world welcomed her decision. She had an idea about the subject to write, but not about readership. She knew her incapability in making friends and self-marketing. Anyway, leaving a job was not the first risk she had ever taken. Hence she was hopeful of surviving this time too, especially after she received an offer from the famous entrepreneur-author Tanima Bose and the feminist publisher Dibya Gautam to work as content writer.

Unfortunately, the effect of her leaving job on her parent’s neighbours, whom she seldom met before, was too severe to assume. Almost everyone was curious about the reason of the homecoming of a middle-aged woman before retirement. Some expressed concern about her mental health, some about her illicit relationships at workplace, some suggested her to start searching for another job immediately, some asked why she did not marry someone she met on the road to the office, and some asked her how much she was hoping to earn by freelance writing. She could never assume her neighbourhood people would find defining an aspiring writer so difficult. She felt bad for all the investigating eyes, not being able to satisfy any of them.

Nevertheless, she was born with some rare quality that attracted her to books more than most of the human beings around her. Forgetting real humans never seemed too hard. On the other hand, surreal humans hidden in the pages of the books had always been a matter of interest. She smiled remembering an invaluable comment about her made by an upset boy during her college days. “She is interested in romancing black lines printed on papers.” She immersed herself in what she found interesting – she rediscovered Krittibas Ojha. Born in 21st century, she never had a chance to meet a 14th-15th century poet. But imagination makes every impossible possible. Even in the absence of Mr. Ojha’s pictures, she knew how he looked like when he sat at his writing stool in the morning, some five hundred years back. She could tell how he spent his childhood in a family of pundits with three of his brothers, how aggressively he was looking for a sponsor before he decided to meet an unknown Gouda king. She found the feminist Chandrabati, the coastal Bengali lady Ramayan-writer who dared to call Ram, a Pashanda (evil) in 16th century. She had made friends with almost all authors whose works she loved. Interpreting the contemporary could have been easy unless they had predicted the nature of the changing world long back. In contrast, she found very few of contemporary writings worth discussing; only few were fluid enough to cross the border of reality through imagination. However, she could not help falling for the art of presentation of couple of living authors – Sanjeevani Siddhanta’s magic realism, Jeevak Vaidya’s translation of medieval Hindi poems or Murari Manoharan’s management theories fascinated her.

To Be Continued in Part 2…

As it happens in case of many aspiring writers, her family members were fine with her eccentric affair with books, lines and their creators. In fact, her eccentricity was nurtured by her family like many other writer-producing families – she had observed. Her parents and sibling always fuelled her fascination. It was quite normal when her Delhite cousin called her in the morning, “Mitul! Do you know what your Murari Monoharan has done?”

“He always does something out of box; what’s new?” She tried not to express curiosity.

“Union of Nations declared right to polygamy as human right, you know?”

“Hmm.” – now she understood where the discussion was leading to.

“And yesterday he declared his support for the right to polygamy in an interview; also told how he, along with his group of celebrity friends, struggled long to legalize polygamy for all!”

“Nothing new to readers – think all his readers already knew about his many engagements. Polygamy may be absurd to westerners but not in Asia and Africa. If Union of Nations follows ethnic way – let them. Murari may be helping them out! Why to bother? Or do you think his target readers may react adverse?” – Mitul resolved to loud thinking and lecturing.

“Not at all! It’s not about him or his readers. Market is safe for him. I was thinking of the social impact. Polygamy may become a fashion if followers start following their hero. Murari became hero overnight I see!” And the conversation continued for an hour revolving around Murari and his revolutionary concepts, market economy and aligning social values with market.

After she finished her critical discussion, her mother asked her, “Who kept you engaged so long? Tanima Bose?”

“Nooo, Murari Manoharan. His right to polygamy movement. Remember the interview on TV last evening? You know taboos of the civilized world.” Mitul heaved a deep sigh, being unable to express her worries.

“Consider asking Murari’s wife if she needs a maid someday.” The old lady chuckled.

“When will you people grow?”

But she did not show any interest in the grave issue. Mitul went on pondering the impact of television talks on people in the country. What would happen if Krittibas Ojha appeared on television?

Next day was the first of week-long Durga Puja celebration. Mitul opted to stay at home and finish her essay on the health-issues polygamy might cause. Her almost-deaf father decided to sleep. Her mother went to the Durga Puja pandal alone. She came back after couple of hours. Entering home, she announced, “The idol is superb this year. Visit the pandal once tomorrow. Neighbours were asking about you. They were curious – wanted to know who you are working with, what you are writing and all. I replied anyway.”

“What did you tell?”

“That you are writing a novel, and working with the group of Murari Manoharan.”

“Wha……?” Mitul’s eyeballs almost came out of their sockets. “I don’t know Murari – we were only discussing his activities. You forgot both Tanima Bose and Dibya Gautam?”

“Yes I forgot. I remembered only Murari’s name.” Her old mother replied. “As I told you are working with his group – they all went silent.”

Did Mitul see a mischievous smile in the corner of her mother’s lips before she stepped towards the kitchen?

Mitul muttered, “Now you lost the chance of finding a daughter-in-law for your son as well!”

She knew she would never get a definite answer asking her prankster mother about her intention – whether she had really forgot her daughter’s work area associations or she wanted to shut the mouth of the neighbours.

But once again, she felt grateful for being born of her amazing parents.

The End

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5 Response Comments

  • preesha_reddy29/11/2018 at 7:19 PM

    Mitul seemed like a rational and tranquil person who wanted to live a creatively beautiful life. Her interest in the souls, theories and poems of the 15th-16th century made her so much more different than the people of 21st century. The little twist of mischief in the end was amusing. All in all the writer is very adroit and should keep on writing such captivating stories, so that we can too share a romantic experience with the black lines.

  • __diksha.___29/11/2018 at 7:56 PM

    This storyyy… it’s an amazing story and shows a great relationship between the woman and her parents but moreover it shows how writing can be good profession but how some people (her neighbours) do not understand this!! Loved it😊

  • Chinmoy saikia29/11/2018 at 9:27 PM

    Absolutely brilliant. Amazingly put together by the author. The preference of books has been drastically reduced, let alone reading from the 15th to 16th century, a practice which has almost vanquished. The preference of books of Mitul really shocks me. The 2nd part of the story is filled with an amazing aroma of humour. It shows that age is just a number for mischief. I can only hope for the best and I would suggest the author to continue writing these lovely stories so that we can share more such lovely memories.
    .

  • Kathakali Mukherjee30/11/2018 at 11:45 AM

    Thank you all for your encouraging comments. 😉 Yes I will keep on writing. Thanks to TMYS for publishing my stories hope they will do in future too. For more updates on my stories you make check my site: https://kathamukh.com.

  • Aishik30/11/2018 at 4:04 PM

    Amazing story… It shows a wonderful relationship of the author and her parents.. The author had an affair with books and black printed lines…This story encourages
    People to take up writing as an profession..
    Absolutely LOVED IT!

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