Born in the magnificent and chic township maintained by the ‘Steel Authority of India’ in Kulti, West Bengal, Aritra Chakraborty had a fulfilling childhood. She did her schooling from Assembly of God Church. During her graduation, she moved to Kolkata. After completing her B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calcutta, she shifted to Surat, Gujarat, and started working with Reliance Industries Limited. Since the later part of 2012, she has been in Mumbai, where she stays with her husband.
Though a techie by profession, Aritra has always been in love with words. Hence, writing comes naturally to her. She has a website—www.talestotell.online—where she pours her thoughts and voices her protests. She is a regular blogger and loves travelling. And she is an avid reader. Fiction appeals to her more than any other genre, as the characters become a part of life. Her love for fiction and her passion for conveying her thoughts drove Aritra to write her first novel, Introspection—an evocative journey of a young couple, which leaves us with many questions and appeals to society to alter its parochial norms. It was published conventionally by Wordit Art Fund, and the manuscript was amongst the chosen few out of five thousand odd entries.
The book was launched on 11 December 2017, and the event was graced by eminent personalities like Mahesh Bhatt, Dino Morea and Bikramjeet Kanwarpal. Introspection has received great reviews.
TBE: Tell us a little about your story and the story world you’ve created.
Aritra Chakraborty: This story is about a young girl called Erawati and her transition from a protected teenager to a victim of human trafficking, forced into prostitution. “Eos of the Infernal” is about her emotional journey, her struggles and her metamorphosis. The story has many shades, while it showcases the hostility in the life of a prostitute, it is also about the peace and sweetness of teenage romance. It is about relationships, love, betrayal and has a very dramatic end.
There are essentially two worlds, juxtaposed with each other. On one side, we see the beautiful hill station of Coonoor and Erawati’ s haven, with her parents, friends and her budding teenage romance. On the other side, we see the hostility and pains in the life of prostitutes in Kamathipura. There is insecurity, tragic traumas hidden behind layers of makeup and loneliness in the chaos.
TBE: How did you come up with the title ‘Eos of the Infernal’ and what is the significance of the title?
Aritra Chakraborty: “Eos of the infernal” came up after loads of deliberation, I wanted something that signified hope and enlightenment amidst adversities.
Eos means the Greek goddess of dawn, she signifies hope. The title means “ray of hope in the infernal”
TBE: What made you want to write a novel, particularly on subject of human trafficking? What is the inspiration for your book?
Aritra Chakraborty: I like writing fictional tales around sensitive topics. I believe fiction brings the characters very close to the readers, making them relatable and message can be conveyed with ease. My first book “Introspection” talks about the bourgeoisie, through the tale of a young couple. “Eos of the Infernal” talks about human trafficking, physical and mental health issues of prostitutes through the story of a relatable and likable girl.
While in college, I had seen a young girl dressed a bit hideously standing outside the premises. On inquiring I came to know that she is a prostitute. I immediately had a feeling of disdain. However, as candles got added to my birthday cake, I learnt to empathize more and felt I owed an apology to the community as I had no idea of who she was, and what was her side of the story.
TBE: Chameli (Erawati Iyer) is very resilient and strong woman. Did you model her after anyone specific? Tell us a little about what makes her tick.
Aritra Chakraborty: She is resilient & strong, but she is vulnerable and empathetic as well. I have made her very humane, a woman I want to look up to. There is no one specific person, but probably a delectable mixture of the women I adore and respect, including myself. As I believe everything starts from “me” and the way I see the world is essentially a reflection. Erawati is not perfect, none of us are meant to be. But she is real, honest and she is courageous to accept herself in totality. Her qualities are also attributed to her parents and the upbringing they rendered.
TBE: You write some very difficult scenes in your book and while you never shy away from the darker elements, you chose not to be overly graphic or explicit in your descriptions of abuse or violence (something I appreciated). Was this a conscious decision?
Aritra Chakraborty: Thank you for the appreciation. Absolutely it was a conscious decision, my intent is never to scare my readers. As a person, I get anxious easily and I keep that in mind while writing my books. While I may want to convey a true picture, I choose to be subtle yet impacting. While sketching some scenes, I had cried. Wrote, deleted multiple times and finally was able to depict the way I wanted it.
TBE: In many ways ‘Eos of the Infernal’ is an uplifting story that inspires hope, but it also highlights a social system with negative qualities. What do you hope is the main message that readers come away with after reading this book?
Aritra Chakraborty: The society is made up of people, and we all are flawed and hence the society. The intent of this book and my first book is to show a mirror to ourselves. “Eos of the Infernal” urges us to look beyond and not judge people by their outward appearances. We never know what makes a common girl, a prostitute but we are quick to judge. This book will probably make us think twice before drawing conclusions about people, prostitutes or otherwise.
TBE: What resources do you use to research your book? Was the research difficult to find material for the story? How long did it take to finish the novel?
Aritra Chakraborty: I had gone through numerous write-ups, YouTube videos and had even visited Kamathipura to do my research. It was difficult but extremely enlightening to talk to these women and discuss with them their lives and what brought them to the brothels. I have made a video of those interactions and placed that in my YouTube Channel.
It took around a year to complete the writing. However, after that editing etc. took more time.
TBE: How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Aritra Chakraborty: Publishing experience with Leadstart has been smooth, generally the communication has been seamless. People are helpful and can be reached out whenever required.
TBE: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your book with readers?
Aritra Chakraborty: The book has been loved by everyone who has read it so far. So, if you haven’t, you must grab your copy, I am sure you would love the book.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Aritra Chakraborty: I am working on my third book, it’s about the ethos of an urban couple and side effects of living in silos. But I have just started working on it.