It's been 2 years now that GARIAHAT JUNCTION got published!
This is an appreciation post. Also, one of stock taking.
I would like to thank the same wonderful set of people whom I did 2 years ago (who were part of the publication process): Zafar Anjum & Kitaab International for publishing it; Arindam Dasgupta for the beautiful cover art & design; Kunal Basu, Saikat Majumdar & Sumana Roy for the generous blurbs.
The book’s birth was greeted with enthusiasm: special thanks are due to Arunava Sinha for publishing an extract in Scroll; to Malavika R. Banerjee for making it part of a Panel at KLM-2020; to Koral Dasgupta for including it in a ‘Writers-in-Conversation’ online-series at TMYS (with Damyanti Biswas), during the first lockdown in 2020; to Tanuj Solanki for the very first, honest feedback on Goodreads; & three other gifted writers for their sensitive and nuanced reviews -- Anurima Chanda (in The Punch Magazine), Dipika Mukherjee (in Jaggery) & Bhaswati Ghosh (in The Woman Inc.).
But I'm most grateful to those who bought & read the book. A first time fiction writer is a deeply insecure person & nothing encourages her more than when people buy her book to read. In my case, many were extra sweet & send me photos when their copies arrived & little notes about what they thought of the stories – on Facebook & WhatsApp (some of which I incorporated in short videos). They have found a permanent place in my heart!!
I am also thankful to those few - among the many I had gifted the book to - who got back to me with their feedback. I have to mention Prof. Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay (Sanjoyda Ke Valobasi) here: on a quiet February afternoon in 2020, he called me & spent some 30 minutes telling me what he liked about the title story, going to some length talking about its “cinematic quality”. I haven’t had a more flattering half-an-hour in the last 24 months!!
This appreciation post would be incomplete if I didn’t mention a few who have encouraged me as a writer, in their own different ways, in the last 2 years – Asijit Datta, Swaty Mitra, Swapna Bhattacharya, Gerry Roy, Bhagwathi Rao Sandilya, Bratati Raybardhan, Brototi Das Gupta, Srinka Bose, Pinaki De, Debasish Mukherjee, Piu Mahapatra, Runa Chatterjee & Sudeshna Chakraborti.
Last year, I lost a reader – my father – to dementia; and found a new one in my daughter. My best & most devoted reader left me 5 years ago – I miss her every time I write; I cry every time I mention this. Her elder daughter - Nilanjana Ray - stands in for her, steadfast, to support me in all that I do & what I choose not to.

I haven’t been able to write much in the last 24 months; or rather, not been able to write what I planned to -- I’ve written X number of blog posts, Y number of essays, Z number of articles and reviews, totaling to so many thousand words; but a shelved novel remains shelved, a work-in-progress memoir doesn’t seem to progress.
The problem is not always a question of time. Fact is, I’ve been wracked by an overwhelming sense of futility. Whatever I think of writing seems somehow irrelevant & meaningless in the face of what we are facing globally since 2020 – the relentless dance of death and disease, of unbearable pain and suffering, the maddening uncertainty of the times.
I am simply not able to handle writing a ‘book’, to give it the sustained attention it deserves -- can only manage shorter pieces; and sometimes, nothing at all.
So much of what we “do” is intangible work, I’ve realized. It can't be put in a CV or posted on a wall; no certificate or photograph can encapsulate it.
My chief “doing” of the last 2 years has been a profound questioning of & renewed confrontation with the self – both the personal & professional self. I have learnt new things about being a daughter and a mother; come to terms with the kind of work I really want to do & realized what I won’t, even under duress.
Most importantly, I have learnt - in a whole new way - the depth of my insignificance. It inspires me to pursue a project where I can think beyond myself. But it stands in the way of my writing…

I’ve had to be my own chief publicist & PR agent, with GJ – I haven't enjoyed that at all. I’ve done it reluctantly, fitfully, incompetently – not posting anything for months on end in the first year, and almost forgetting the book myself in the second. I’m not up to the relentlessness of the exercise… & I’m not supposed to, either; my chief function as a writer is to write, after all.
But I did enjoy the process of creating this particular video: I was both inside the book & outside of it while conceptualizing it; & I loved the fact that so much of my past & present came together in it, as also many dear ones.
In the long run, it is quite likely that this video will be seen more than the book read.


More power to your pen!
Peter Leyland said…
A very moving piece about your book Ritupurna and the events surrounding it. I think I would read the book rather than watch the video. Thanks for the post
Peter Leyland said…
*Rituparna - my apologies
Ruth Leigh said…
A lot of hard times from the sound of it, and well done on getting the book out
Umberto Tosi said…
Congratulations on your fine book and your perseverence!

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