Pradipta Panda grew up in Orissa amidst the evergreen forests, silent rivers and the wild life. As a young boy he spent hours walking in the jungles and listening to the songs of birds.

Along with friends, he wandered around tribal settlements where the elders narrated long stories and ballads. “I think that is what made me interested in two things, photography and fiction,” he says.

After studying in Cuttack, he joined the Indian Air Force at a young age. He underwent photography training in service and became a service photographer. Despite the demanding nature of his work and his postings across India, he kept his passions alive. He posts his pictures on his blog http://news-nonnews.blogspot.com. Pradipta also writes short stories and light essays in Oriya.

His first work in English is a novel about pressures in a modern family. “Under One Roof” talks about an upper middle class housewife who is possessive but suspicious of her husband of many years. Arpita is also jealous of her husband and develops feelings that border on paranoia.

“Under One Roof is the journey of life in a family,” says Panda. “Living in some of the biggest cities made me come in contact with various types of families- joint, nuclear, micro unit and live in relationships that can not be called families in the strict sense. However, I found that none of them were perfect. There were problems in each system.”

Though he maintains the characters and events in his novel are fictional, he admits each character was inspired by some one he met at some place.

Excerpts of the book, which is available in the market, can be found on the blog http://underoneroofafiction.blogspot.com.

RISHIKeSH BAHADUR DESAI