Paulami Duttagupta – Fried Interview Series
Born in Shillong, Paulami is the author of 3 books – Pinjar, Unplanned Destiny, and Ri – The Homeland of Uncertainty – and she is scared of dogs, cats and caterpillars. We had a chance to interview her.
- Do you enjoy giving interviews?
Not all types of interviews. Job interviews for example were the most boring sessions of my life.As a liberated woman, would you nevertheless prefer to have been born a man?
Never! Life as a man would be very boring I believe.
- What is the most demeaning ever said to you as a writer?
I remember two moments. One was when a senior writer said, ‘your English is crap. Don’t try getting a publishing contract.’ Another was much later when I was writing my first film.
- What makes you angry?
Lot of things actually. Corrupt louts and preachy people, or even those who ask me ‘why did you get a Ganesha tattoo done?’
- You studied in Loreto Convent, Shillong. There is a rumour made famous by the neighbouring schools that one of the criteria for getting admitted there is being beautiful. Do you consider yourself to be beautiful?
You mean beautiful hearts right?
- What was the greatest thing you learnt at school?
Studying under compulsion is boring.
- Do you have any strange writing habits?
There is a certain amount of indiscipline in my writing habit. But I do listen to my favorite music while writing.
- Are names of your characters important in your stories?
Very. At times I spend a lot of time researching on names.
- Everyone has a movie made after the book is released; you have the book released after the national award meaning movie has been released. Why?
I wanted to reach out to more people with this tale. I am not bragging, but I felt there is a part of ‘Ri’ that many would want to know.
- You are running late for an appointment. You see a cat sitting meekly at your car seat because you forgot to roll up the windows the day before. What will you do?
Will I sound very cruel if I say, ‘I’ll scare the cat away’…I am a little scared of dogs and cats and they aren’t very fond of me either. But I’ll tell you a secret, cats are very lucky for me. Every time a cat crosses my path something good surely happens.
- What God do you believe in?
Any God who allows me to converse…without any rituals.
- At times when there is a block and you have shortage of ideas, what do you do to get ideas?
Watch lots of films and listen to lot of music. May be take a long walk and eat some good food. My mind is so happy after all this pampering – ideas start coming back automatically.
- What was your family structure like? Does it affect your writings?
My family is pretty close knit. My parents were in teaching profession but that never made my life difficult. In fact my parents are my best buddies. My family certainly does help. They’ve been very supportive about my crazy decisions and whenever I get a rejection slip from any of the publishers I know I have them to cheer me up.
- Did you notice something wrong with the questions?
I believe the interviewer had a quota of a dozen questions but has decided to give me two extra.
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