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There is a bit of the author in every book one pens: Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

IBNLive.com
Feb 12, 2013 at 02:30pm IST

On a long-haul international flight writer Piya Choudhury tells the one story she hasn't yet told - her own. Loved and indulged by her mother and grandparents, but haunted by the mysterious absence of her father, Piya grows up in Kolkata, a gifted and impetuous child who pursues her studies with the same passion as she does her first few adolescent crushes, until a savage encounter leaves her repulsed. She moves to Mumbai hoping to become a journalist and falls deeply in love with her editor, Abir, but when a controversial story she is working on is stymied, she is forced to choose between the man she loves and her own integrity. Years later, she is settled in New York, married to a renowned artist who helps her find herself creatively. A liberated, successful, and dynamic writer, Piya has everything she's ever wanted, until she is revisited by her past. Sensuous, profound, lyrical and moving, 'Faraway Music' is a story of family, friendship, fame, love and loss - and all that lies in between.

The author, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on her book 'Faraway Music'.

There is a bit of the author in every book one pens: Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

The author, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on her book 'Faraway Music'.

Q. Why did you choose to name the book 'Faraway Music'? Asked by: sandeep

A. 'Faraway Music' is symbolic of a feeling, a longing that I believe exists in everyone's life. The leaving of home, the losing a loved one, the nursing a fractured heart, the aloneness of adult life, the changing of cities and destinies is an intrinsic part of modern day reality. And hence, the title justifies that craving, that wanting to go home in a sense.

Q. Is this Book based on real life of some individual or is it just fictional story? Asked by: kanishk

A. 'Faraway Music' is definitely the book that is closest to my own life. Also, being the first of the four books I have authored, it is colored by my own experiences to an extent. But on the whole it is a fictional account.

Q. Is this Book based on real life of some individual or is it just fictional story? Asked by: kanishk

A. I have been asked this question so many times that I am now quite rehearsed in replying to it. But, the truth is, that every book has a bit of the author in it. It's only natural that as writers we seek into our own lives, the body of experiences that we have gone through, the people who have come and gone, the little nuances they may've brought, the goodbyes that remained unfinished. Having established that, 'Faraway Music' being my first novel, is probably the closest to my own life. Like Piya, I have moved away from my roots in Kolkata, have been a journalist and a PR professional, and have dabbled in two diverse professions before becoming a full time writer. But, that is where as a reader, one should stop drawing inferences on whether I am Piya or not. The joy of reading a book, the highs and lows one goes through turning every single page, the grief, the smiles should be treasured as singularly belonging to the characters in the book. Though honestly, I am flattered each time readers write in saying we saw you in Piya. I feel it is a compliment. A sign that readers can relate to my body of work.

Q. What inspired you to write this book? Asked by: HARLEEN AHLUWALIA

A. Well, I have been wanting to write a book since I was a young girl growing up in Kolkata. But to be more specific, 'Faraway Music' began in Mumbai on the night of July 26 when outside the city was being lashed by torrential rains. As we spent the night in a large Edit Hall, I remember scribbling the story of Piya, penning a chapter of her meeting the man she loved Abir, an editor in a newspaper. The rains in a sense were pivotal to my plot as you will know having read the book. Besides this, of course over the years having lived in so many cities myself and worked in diverse professions, I think I became a medium of stories, some mine, some borrowed. And 'Faraway Music' I guess is a culmination of the sum of those experiences and moments. People who have come and gone...all the things we found back.

Q. Which is your favourite character in the book and why? Asked by: HARLEEN AHLUWALIA

A. My personal favorite character in the book is Karimbhai. I love his simplicity, his stoic fortitude and his inner calm. In a sense Karim bhai is what Mumbai is. A survivor. Besides him, I love David. I think to understand a man like him, an artist, a creative soul, one has to let go of some mental stereotypes and look at the world like a canvas - empty and full of endless possibilities. At all times.

Q. What is your writing schedule like and do you write everyday? Asked by: Anna

A. Well, yes I am quite disciplined and rigorous in my writing regime. I do write everyday when I am writing a novel, sometimes for 14 hours. I can't rest till I complete a chapter. Till I have ended something in a sense. And as soon as I do, I begin thinking about the next line...a beginning always crops up. Inside

Q. What you understand by music? Asked by: anand kumar

A. Having been trained in Hindustani classical music since the age of five under the tutelage of Padmabhushan Smt Girija Devi, to me music is the lifeblood in my veins. Without music my life is sans color almost. I always write to music and someday I want to bring out a compilation of music that I listen to while writing my novels - because each is so diverse and unique in a sense to the book. Also, for this book I collaborated with a musician in Kolkata - Indrajit Dey, a famous composer to create a background score for the novel, titled Piya's Song. You can find it on Youtube by just typing my name.

Q. Your writings do have similarities with ace authors like Arundhati Roy and Amitabah Ghosh. Are you consciously a follower of there style of writing? Asked by: Kushal

A. Well firstly am honored by the sweeping comparison and humbled that you think so highly of me. Yes I love the authors you mentioned. Both. But to answer your question, I think each writer has and must develop his own style. So, mine I'd say is lyrical, sensuous, evocative and soulful.

Q. Do you think the next book would be a sequel (more in the bollywood term) or something else? Asked by: HARLEEN AHLUWALIA

A. I haven't thought of a sequel for 'Faraway Music'. But yes, am planning a sequel for You've Got The Wrong Girl - my lad lit. Honestly, I am not a great believer in sequels. I think in a sense the 'farawayness' of this novel maybe tainted if we probe further. Some things, moments and memories are best left lingering with a kind of throbbing poignancy.

Q. Did you meet anyone like Abir or Tarun when you were a journalist? Asked by: Supreeta Singh

A. Yes for sure. Infact, a dear friend of mine who now happens to be a hot shot editor in Delhi is my inspiration for Tarun Sinha - outrageous flirt, misunderstood by most, and yet a sensitive human being who sacrifices so much to make the people he loves happy. Abir, well, most editors are like him - ambitious, flawed, complex. So in that sense perhaps my path may have crossed with a few - but, sadly there were no sweeping romances:)

Q. Did you consciously try to depict the journey of Piya through an epic mode , just to give it a wider appeal or it was meant to be like that? Asked by: Kushal

A. I don't think I was conscious about anything. I just felt right about the style I have used and the narrative structure just fell into place with my gut instincts about what would work. The idea was to tell the story of a famous writer - her life, in her own words and thus it demanded a wide canvas - multiple cities, myriad characters and in a sense a broad plethora of time.

Q. I'd like to know more about you as a person and how does that reflect in your writing? Asked by: Bhuvaneshwari Joshi

A. I think there is a bit of the author in every book one pens. So, in a sense there is a Piya in me. As there is a Dushyant, a Meera and now an Amitabh Kulashreshtra. Writers are like a medium. A mirror on which a reader sees a reflection - sometimes distant and sometimes too familiar, too close. Having said that, I think I am a bit of a gypsy woman, I love to travel. I write a lot, anytime. I love poetry. I enjoy cooking. I love kids and somewhere in all of this, I am also a bit of a old world romantic:)

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