Piya Gajbe in Conversation with Prof Shiv Sethi

Q 1. How did you start your career in writing?

Ans. I started my journey as a writer much recently. Having said that, writing came as an easier mode of expression to me since my school and college days.  I used to pen down articles and short stories for college magazines and it led me to explore myself in the literary world. I began writing columns for newspapers and shifted soon to various online portals. Earlier my writings were non-fiction, articles, and observations around me. Gradually, I started writing short stories and now writing fiction gives me a sense of freedom and satisfaction. I have won various short-story contests and the joy of story-telling never seems to leave me.

Q 2. Who has been a great influence on you in the world of writing?

Ans. I am glad that I was introduced to the charm of reading at a young age. Though I write in English, it’s the vernacular literature which has influenced me more. Having spent a larger part of my growing up years in Kolkata, the treasure of Bengali literature which has been gifted by Rabindra Nath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, and Sharat Chandra Chartrejee made an impact on my mind. Similarly, I have read a lot of Marathi literature, Shivaji Sawant is one of my favourite Marathi authors. As a child, I enjoyed reading Ruskin Bond and Enid Blyton. The writings of Anne Frank, Leo Tolstoy, O’ Henry charmed the reader in me.

Q 3. As you were enjoying writing short stories, what made you write a novel?

Ans. Short stories gave me instant satisfaction. However, like every other author, I too aspired to write a complete book. A story from scratch till the end, which should reach out to people. Short stories allowed me to experiment with various genres while writing a book was an experience of creating a whole new world. I won’t undermine the pleasure of short stories, but writing a book gives you a larger scope of creativity and expansion of your ideas.

Q 4. Your debut novel ‘When Fate Kicks’ is a journey of the protagonist. What role do you feel fate plays in man’s life?

Ans. I used to be a person who never followed the horoscope or believed in the role of destiny. My perception was that life is all about what you do. However, with time I realised sometimes, even if you put a lot of efforts, some things are not meant to be. It doesn’t mean that your efforts are faltered or you have a lack of will. It simply means that somewhere life has other plans for you. Here, the role of fate comes in, as it can throw in surprising situations and how you deal with it is a skill.

Q 5. You are also an Advocate. How has this affected your writing and a schedule?

Ans. I am an Advocate, a writer and along with it, I am a mother too. In all these years, I have learned to balance both the roles. I cannot compartmentalize the roles, as each role overlaps the other at some or the other point. As an advocate, I have seen grim realities of life, dreams being shattered because of unavoidable circumstances. I find stories in them, to give the message through them. As a mother, I feel children should be introduced to wholesome literature. Writing comes to me as rejuvenation and gives wings to my imagination.

Q 6. In this digital age, the habit of reading paperback is declining. What do you think is the future of society as readers are inclined to e-books?

Ans. I think Paperback isn’t losing its charm. It is just that people are getting used to carrying the world in a compact form in their pockets. Reading a book in its physical form, the smell of the paper, the rustle as we turn each page and add to it the charm of keeping a memoir as a bookmark in between the pages, is an experience in itself.  Online reading can give you literature, but not pleasure. With Kindle in your bag, you can carry thousands of books at a time. But, there are many readers, who still prefer paperbacks, for the sheer experience of it.

Q 7. ‘ When Fate Kicks’ is all about Gautam or are there people around your main protagonist?

Ans. ‘When Fate Kicks’ is the journey of Gautam, in which he has some co-travelers. Gautam is the axis of the story, and at each turn, some characters get introduced. They influence his life, dreams, success as well as his failure. Every character in the book has a significant role to play in the life of Gautam.

Q 8. Your personal opinion about Gautam as a character.

Ans. Gautam is my first character, whom I have created and nourished, both with my inspiration from some real-life incidents as well as imagination. He is a combination of reality and imagination. In his book Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster has described flat and round characters. Flat characters do not change, while round characters are like Emma in Jane Austin’s Emma. Gautam is a round character. He has the flexibility not only in his body but in mind too, to adapt to new circumstances and situations.

Q 9. Is the chief protagonist Gautam purely a fictional character or any real person you have been inspired by?

Ans. Sometimes you come across a person and feel that the story of his life should be told, because, it carries a message which you want to deliver to the people. However, it’s a work of fiction, though inspired by some real incidents and person. A writer is always inspired by the reality which he sees around himself. This book contains both reality and figments of my imagination.

Q 10. Having read the book, I can say that it is a clean book sans any sexuality. Why so?

Ans. My intention to write this book was to spread a message of perseverance and hope to the reader. A story of a man’s life which is inspiring and interesting at the same time. The story didn’t demand any kind of sexuality. Also, I want that this book should be read by parents as well as wards too because it carries a message for everyone.  Even if my book brings a change in the life of a single reader, it would’ve served its purpose.

Q 11. Your experiences while writing this book.

Ans. My experience while writing this book has been very enriching both on the personal and professional front. When I conceived the thought of writing a book, it was an innocent thought of writing a story which touched my heart. But with each chapter, I got more involved. At the personal level, I learned a lot about myself, how to push my limits and I was touched by the generous support of my family all through the journey. On the professional front, it was an experience which exposed me to various nuances and technicalities of writing, meeting new people, fellow authors, and friends.

Q 12. With so many books being released every day, do you feel it’s a saturation point in the literary world?

Ans. The tragic reality of today is that we have more writers and less number of readers. Every writer has a story to tell and to grab the attention span of the reader is a challenge. However, good books shall always find their audience. Readers can sense if the book is having some substance in it or not. A good plot and perfect narration will always win the hearts, irrespective of the competition.


Q 13. What message would you like to convey to the communities of the budding authors?

Ans. For the budding authors, my only message is try to learn, read as much as possible. Try to find stories in the real world around you. While non-fiction gives you facts and knowledge and profound thinking, it’s easier to spread the message through fiction. Try to incorporate some socially relevant message in your writings. Authors should give voice to the voiceless through their stories.

Title: When Fate Kicks
Author: Piya Gajbe
Publication: Notionpress

About the Author

Piya Gajbe is a Nagpur based Advocate by profession but by  her heart and soul she has always been a writer. She contributes her columns in the most popular Newspapers like The Hitavada. She has also been recently inducted in the Editorial Board of an eminent Literary Journal “The Quest” A Journal of the Postgraduate Department of English Dev Samaj College For Women, Ferozepur. Her upcoming Novel When Fate Kicks is creating ripples in the world of Words.

About the Interviewer

Prof Shiv Sethi is an internationally  acclaimed columnist, Literary Critic and Book Reviewer. He has reviewed the works of the most famous authors like Khushwant Singh, Khadija Mastur,Phidalia Toi, Greta Rana, Melisa Harrison,Farouk Gulsara, TCA Srinivasa Raghvan, Khalil Gibran, Albert Camus, Kafka, Satre and so  from all across the world. The Reviwer is these day busy in reviewing the lates book “My Seditious  Heart” by Arundhati Roy. 

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