An Interview With | Avik Gangopadhyay | The literature todayOctober 9, 2019
Interview: It was great to come across your book Avik. So please tell me a little bit more about yourself.
Author Avik: Thank you. Nice to be connected.
Well, I am an Indian author, based in Kolkata, having 30 published books in English and Bengali. My uncommon treatment and interdisciplinary approach to Aesthetics and Theories of Literature, Language and Criticism, Death of Languages, not-so-discussed historical issues, Philosophical and religious ‘ISMS’, Indological studies, Editorial endeavour in 6 books of poems and short stories – received wide and unique critical attention in India and abroad.
My first book “Quest for Uncertainty” was published in the year 2000.
My works on Language Death, Diaspora and Trauma Literature, The Transcreative Psyche, Demystifying the Aryan Invasion Myth, Evolution of Aestheticism have earned me appreciation from Edinburgh University (Scotland, UK), Henrich Heine University (Germany), Sorbonne University (France), Indo Canadian Diaspora Confederation (Canada), Centre for Revitalization of Endangered Languages (NY, Canada), Asia-Europe Foundation (Singapore), Library of Poetry (USA), Raad O Barendra Bhasha Shongskriti Chorcha Porishad (Bangladesh), Varendra Research Society (Bangladesh) & Varada Sidhhi Peetham (India). I am a post-Graduate in English Language and Literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. I also take additional interest in Sanskrit, French and German Languages.
My post and opinion editorials are flavoured by my interest in the fields of psychology, philosophy, history, eastern & western classical music, fine arts, ideational treasures of antiquity & postmodernism, surface in Daily Observer, Daily Mail, The Japan Times, The Connexion, Le Visage, Pembroke Observer, National Post, The Bangladesh Post & The India Observer.
As an Expert, I answer queries on T. S. Eliot and about the first half of 20th Century in three websites across the globe. I am lucky that my works have been exceptionally reviewed in The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Statesman, Anandabazar Patrika, Saptahik Bartaman, Boier Desh, Ekdin, 365 Robi, Ei Shomoy, Daily Observer (Bangladesh), The Bangladesh Post (Bangladesh), The Connexion (France), Le Visage ( France) and other leading literary columns of newspapers and e-journals.
As a person, I have never been centered on such winning of recognition or accomplishments surfacing in public. A private person by nature, I swim through my own inner journey.
My interest in Indian and Western classical music initiated my association with playing sitar and keyboard in my teens but it was interdisciplinary studies that consumed my focus. My long association with psychology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, history, popular science, comparative religion, treasures of antiquity, photography and documentation had shaped both my creative and critical psyche. Voracious as a library lover, I enjoy scoring music, enjoy anything which touches the realm of fineness in human expressions…
A voyager at heart, my thirst of being wonder-dipped takes me to places less visited, be it through travelling or be it to newer dimensions in my spheres of thoughts and knowledge.
I live in Kolkata along with my family. My life bloomed under the guidance of my Father late Prof. Manab Gangopadhyay (noted academician, litterateur, critic and philosopher) and Mother Smt. Sriparna Gangopadhyay (celebrated classical dancer and singer of Tagore songs). Married to Smt. Swati Gangopadhyay, a vocalist, who adorably renders light classical songs, the family awaits another potential bloom in our son, Aaloy Gangopadhyay, a singer, a budding Spell Bee Wiz and writer of travelogues.
Interview: That is really very interesting. So what made you write your book dealing with such complex issues?
Author Avik: I have been a published author for two decades. The “critic, columnist and academic” label has been there as a known tag with me both at home and abroad. But this is my first collection of stories. The sacred and enigmatic space of learning played cynosure all through my life. My literature revolves keeping a very close proximity to History and evolution.
With a perseverance of an archaeologist and subtle sensitivity of a poet – my laborious effort of coherent recording gives birth to my unique creations. As a critic has mentioned of me- “…he is a Historian of Literature and Literati of the Minds.”
Interview: When it comes to the fight between the head and the heart, people normally says the heart always wins but you have portrayed a totally different scenario altogether. We would want you to throw a little more light on that part.
Author Avik: At the kernel, my craft encompasses the spectrum of mysterious human mind. Aspects and behaviour of Time through human history add hues to it. My focus is on the human instinct, with and without inhibition and time-specific cultural endowment.
True, it is different, because the eight stories of my collection are eight entries into consciousness, eight spots of Time, where Blood whispers. Before head and heart, the instinct replies. Lust is the issue of the blood. The human collective unconscious consists of the primeval instinct, the archetypes. Love in Siesta captures that mysterious human consciousness, aspects and behavior of Time. Such treatments often factor my stories as ‘One of its kind’.
Interview: I see Avik! So have you ever been in true love?
Author Avik: It is an untended quest on my part… I always wavered between to love and to be loved; and there is perhaps everything in the ‘to love and be loved’ perception. Love is short and it takes too much of a strength to dare ‘true love’ as forgetting plays the natural human balm to both pleasure and pain.
Interview: How difficult it gets in situations where you feel both your head and heart is giving you mixed signals and how do you usually deal with such situations?
Author Avik: It depends on how one approaches love. I am conscious about it. Love sometimes comes to life as a dream, at the same time electrocutes one up into a reality from a nightmare. But the greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
Interview: As I read in your book, you have a very unique opinion on lust which was quite interesting. So I would like to know have you ever been in a situation where you felt the rush of the blood and lust overpowering your love.
Author Avik: Not really, fortunately I have not been in any such dilemma. My choice of themes show that I cannot be by any chance linked with most of my themes. Here are eight stories that intend to capture Time framed by the evolution of human instinct with shades of changing socio-psychic rationale where man-woman relation remains in the pivot—be it in the enlightened dawn after primitivism, or eight thousand years before, or in five thousand B.C., or centuries later in 12th century A.D. or even in the run of the life of contemporaneity. As an objective artist, I cannot be there. I created the characters and situation in a time scale and let them ripe.
Interview: So coming back to your writing, how did that happen? What I mean is how did you come across writing?
Author Avik: I started writing a suspense crime drama when I was around 8 years of age but it was primarily with imitating my father, a novelist of repute, who used to sit and write at regular hours that initiated me into everything.
While writing scripts for Calcutta All India Radio Talks for 2 years I breathed an air of confidence and gradual appreciation led me through.
Interview: Did you always wish to write a book someday while growing up or being an author?
Author Avik: Yes, that was very much there from my childhood. My first venture has been “Quest for Uncertainty”- a collection of critical essays on world literature. The theme of ‘Uncertainty’ as an attitude towards life expressed in art and literature tempted me to work on some texts, theories and authors. My father and some of my close ones encouraged me that it would become an interesting book…it was a difficult topic to encompass texts and authors across the globe of my choice and reading and finally I could win over an unwilling publisher. The title “Quest for Uncertainty” was not a spontaneous one too…a thought-out title as it reveals the quintessence of both the search for the theme and my approach for the same. After its publication there was no looking back.
Interview: What genres of books usually interests you and why?
Author Avik: With regards to both reading and writing interdisciplinary approach to Aesthetics and Theories of Literature, Language and Criticism, Death of Languages, not-so-discussed historical issues, Philosophical and religious ‘ISMS’, Indological studies, psychology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, history, popular science, comparative religion, treasures of antiquity interest me immensely.
As I have mentioned earlier, I enjoy anything that touches the realm of fineness in human expressions. I am a voyager at heart, my thirst of being wonder-dipped takes me to places less visited, be it through travelling or be it to newer dimensions in my spheres of ideas, thoughts and knowledge.
Interview: So do you have any plan on your next book? If yes, please tell us a bit about it.
Author Avik: O yes, presently I am nearing completion of a book on the Glimpses of Indian Languages. I am also completing a novel set on two thousand years before Christian era.
Interview: These days the youngsters are usually very confused when it comes to love and commitment. They are as much afraid to love as to commit. So what suggestions would you like to give to them while dealing with such situations?
Author Avik: Very true. Drifting apart is the go of the day. Distancing from familial responsibilities and remaining intoxicated to career and ambition are compelling a generation to encounter a different world of relationship. They have to find their own answers as individual psyche is so unique. Man-woman relationship has undertaken a sea-change. Usually I refrain from floating opinions but as history proceeds through challenge and response, and psychological outcome of relationships and choices of freedom are unpredictable, one has to ponder over levels of considerations. To consider Love as a situation is difficult to deal with.
Interview: What was the reactions of your near and loved ones on your books and how much did they encourage you during the whole journey of writing and publishing books?
Author Avik: There is a coterie of readers apart of my late father, my mother, wife and son who kindle my motivation in this sojourn. With some books the circle increases, with some books it shrinks, but with the present title, Love in Siesta, the tempo is most encouraging. I have a steady readership, otherwise there wouldn’t be 30 titles surviving.
Interview: It was so great to have this conversation with you Avik. Thank you for giving us the chance to read your book. Any last message you would like to give to us or your readers?
Author Avik: Thank you so much. For young writers, I would like to say that please don’t stop reading…an informed writer is a phenomenon by himself/herself. And to the readers, I have a plea: readers have to grow, be mature…they too have a duty to elevate their tastes…that too has a process…one has to undergo this journey.