Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gyaana Books Title: Of Wooing, Woes and Wanderings.

BookMeABook was present at the launch of Gyaana Books, a new publishing venture by Divya Dubey.

Divya has come out with three books in the first list of Gyaana Books. One is a set of stories by Divya herself (more of which I would like to write about in a subsequent post), another is a racy and comical detective novel, and the third a novel about an ‘oilman’, called Of Wooing, Woes and Wanderings!

Now, to begin with I did not know what to expect from the novel, but it turned out to be quite the surprise out of the three. It is a fun read, and we decided to catch up with the author, Amitabha Chaterjee, and ask him about the whole experience of being a first time author!

Q. Is 'Of Wooing, Woes and Wanderings' your first work of fiction?

Amitabha Chaterjee: It is my first published work, though as a matter of chronology, I had written another story before this one. This second one went before the first.

Q. You graduated from IIT Delhi, but became, as you call it, 'an oilman'. Do elaborate on exactly what you are doing.

Amitabha Chaterjee: Oil and oilfield related companies generate a strong response in campus interviews at the IITs and other engineering colleges. In my time, there were 200+ applicants for 2 open positions for the company I interviewed with.
As an oilfield engineer, I have travelled to places where the only way to tell the road is by the tyre-marks, where the vehicles are kept switched on all through winter, because if you switched them off, they would freeze and never start up again, and where no one spoke any of the languages I knew.
My job primarily deals with oil exploration—figuring out where the oil is, and how to get it to the surface. I have lived in 7 different countries around the world so far, 1-3 years at a time.

3. How long did it take you to write this novel?

I started writing some parts many years back, without the intention to write a novel; mainly because there was nothing else to do in my leisure time (I was in Oman in a desert oil camp where I struggled to spend twenty dollars a month buying chocolates, there was just nothing else around.) Once I got serious, it took me about 3 months to write and another 3 to edit.

4. What part of the novel do you like best?

I like the initial part in Venezuela, a country that has few equals in my mind, so different and so beautiful – both the landscape and the women.
I particularly enjoyed writing about Rajarshi’s love pangs amidst the Ancient Egyptian temples along the Nile, from Luxor to Aswan.
And I love the last bit where all of Rajarshi’s priorities come to a clash and he has to figure a way out.

5. What sort of books do you like to read? Any favourite author you feel you have been influenced by?

I enjoy a wide variety, ranging from the classics, all time greats from Marquez, Tagore, Hesse to lighter, closer to the heart gems from R.K.Narayan as well as contemporary fiction, both literary and commercial.
I am sure I have been influenced by many authors, though I must confess that I stopped reading for the months that I was writing, in order for the voice of my protagonist to remain consistent.

6. What made you choose Gyaana books as the vehicle for your debut in the literary world?

Because their response was the most immediate. They said: – Yes we like it and are willing to publish, while a first time author often gets no reply or, if he is really lucky, ‘no’ as a reply. Then again, there are always the Adigas.
And once Gyaana decided to publish, things moved so fast that the next thing I knew, the book was out.

7. What is the first story you wrote, about?

It’s a story that attempts to explore a man’s infinite wish to find expression in life of who he thinks he is in the grand scheme of things, and his finite ability to actually find it.

Thanks Amitabha, for taking the time out to chat with us! We wish your book finds great success!!

‘Of Wooing, Woes and Wanderings’ is available not only in our library, but also for sale, with a 10% initial discount--which makes it a steal at Rs.225.
To order your copies, home delivered free of cost in Delhi and NCR, please email your orders to