Bangalore-based Nandita Bose quit her business because of her desire “to do something creative”. She published her first book Tread Softly to popular acclaim
The writer in Nandita Bose could not be contained. Her desire to do something creative led her to quit her business as a HR consultant to take up writing full time. “I thought it was either now or never, so I decided to resign to pursue my dreams,” says Nandita. This decision would prove to be advantageous for Nandita’s debut novel Tread Softly (Rs. 195, Rupa Publications) found a readership not just in Bangalore but in other parts of India too. “The first photo I saw of my book was at a bookstore in Ahmedabad. My book was also sold at the Lucknow Book Fair. My recent cover photo on Facebook was that of my book on a Sydney suburban train, where my friend had taken the book to read. I thought, my book is having a better time than me!”
Although Nandita is a Phd in Aesthetics from IIT Bombay, she consciously stayed away from writing waiting for the story sans frills to blossom within her. “I didn’t have any agenda while writing the book. I didn’t want to appear smart or intellectual. I wanted my book to be accessible, which would appeal even to a lady in a small town who has not read a book in a long time.”
Tread Softly isn’t a typical superficial urban novel. It is a sensitive portrayal of a love story between two completely different people: Paroma, a homely, simple Bengali girl and Abhinn, a city-bred intellectual. “We talk about our culture a lot; it is always perceived as ‘the other’, it’s either about poverty or film stars; it’s never about us,” she says and continues, “one of the things that bothers me about today’s books is that they either revolve around an exotic place or about a period in history. If everybody is going to write about travels to China or what happened to the Emperor of Spain, who is going to write about the middle class, here and now? Many people think the big car or job matter more than our everyday relationships. I wanted to write about relationships.”
Nandita has a perspective on life in cosmopolitan cities and small towns, having lived in Jamshedpur and Mumbai. “I have seen cosmopolitan lives. Everyone tries to find a commonality to relate to each other. But if you scratch the surface; you will find they come with strong cultural influences. It is this that I wanted to bring out. I don’t want to write about the cosmopolitan public because enough is being written about it.”
Nandita is the sort of writer who empathises with her characters. “Every character has their own worlds and what they need from other people vary, and that makes the relationship even more intricate.”
For close to 17 years, Nandita has taught at various places. “I love interacting with people, and teaching helps me to maintain that. There is another side to Nandita — the contemplative writer. “Writers are lonely wherever they go, so they feel that perhaps the only place they can be at home is in their writing.”
Nandita’s creativity extends to painting and singing. “It’s never too late” she says to follow one’s dreams. At present, she awaits the publication of her next book, Shadow and Soul. “I am very excited about this book. It’s a lovely romantic story,” she signs off.