• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

An interview with Retired Indian Airforce Officer, Eminent Writer, Journalist Shyamal Bhattacharya

Eminent writer, Journalist, Retired IAF officer and a Polyglot of repute Shyamal Bhattacharya, born in Agartala. He has published 36 books so far, which includes Four Novels, Eight Story collections and two books for children. Besides Bengali, he knows Hindi, English, Punjabi, Assamese, Dogri, and Rajasthani.

He started his career with Indian Air Force as Aircraft Controller (1981- 2001). He represented the country at the Beijing International Bookfair in 2010. Hindi Literary Magazine ‘Parasmani’(2015) and commercial monthly ‘True Media’(2019) have published special issue on him. In Bengali a special issue was published by ‘Srot’(2016) literary magazine from Tripura.

Q : When did you look at the literary world?

Ans. I think from the previous birth,…actually the storytelling of my Maternal Grandparent, uncles and frank interaction with my mother’s/parents experience, their sorrow, their simplicity and life long fight against all the inevitables conglomerated with my story reading habit since childhood triggered me to be an author. When I was in 8th-9th grade, Paltuda-Ramaprasad Dutta, and Bengali teacher Mrinmoy Dutt’s of Netaji Subhash Vidyaniketan encouraged me to read and enter the world of reading outside of my school syllabus book. My first rhyme was published in the ‘Sandesh’ edited by Satyajit Ray, Leela Majumder and Nalini Das in 1978. The first short story “Sonar Dhwas” won first prize in a state-wide inter-school competition in Tripura.

Q: The beginning of your writing and the current time – now what do you feel the change in the world of writing?

Ans: Yes, many changes have taken place; it takes much less time to get reference services due to internet. With the help of social media, I get to know about news and reviews of many books quickly and I sometimes enjoy the writings of the youth on Facebook. There are many variations in the medium of publication; the role of ‘Shruti’ is becoming popular in new forms along with literary lessons.

Q : Apart from Bengali, which language do you enjoy writing the most?

Ans: Hindi and Punjabi.

Q: Do you have any plans in promoting the North-eastern States of India in the near future?

Ans: There is no plan, there is aspiration; I have worked on the folklore and folklore of Mizo and Bongcher workshops organised by Sahitya Akademi,.I like Assamese, I don’t know whether I will get time to work on it!

Q: Would you share the unforgettable experiences of your life?

Ans: Kindly go through my novels and stories, almost all of these are based on my personal experiences mingled with my way of positive thinking. If anybody reads, I can guarantee, he or she will enjoy, as there is a powerful and mysterious force in human nature, a kind of mental engineering in the form of a concept called imaging. It consists of vivid picturing, in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where it releases great untapped energies. Interaction with my readers in various ‘Meet the author’ program arranged by NBT, SahityaAkademi and few other state academy of letters, libraries and universities made me confident about this great untapped energies! These experiences are also unforgettable for me which I cannot share with everybody.

Q: Specially, you are from the North-eastern States of India’s Tripura, how will you define success?

Ans.: You may belong to any place, the definition of success remains same. I don’t intend to define “Success” as it is an abstract and relative term. Rather as a writer I debunk all the Myths of Success, like i) Set your Career goals, ii) Prepare and plan for achieving goals,iii)Learn from mistakes, iv) Identify Success factors, Understand yourself and bridge the gap, and v) Use people skills to build career. Specially, the first myth of setting long-gestation goals is so ineffective, you may be wondering why this myth is so popular. One of the reasons is due to, what psychologists call, the confirmation bias. When we read biographies of successful people or listen to their interviews, they ascribe their success to having a goal. For instance, believing that success is all about having a goal they look back at their lives and selectively notice the evidence which tends to support the conclusion that they had a goal at the beginning, I have also told to so many in various interviews that since childhood I wanted to become a soldier, then a teacher, and journalist and a writer and bla …bla …bla…, while ignoring evidence that those goals got evolved over a period of time.

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