Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary a 5th Year Law student at the Army Institute of Law, Mohali is in the process of publishing my debut novel titled ‘Laiza- Sometimes the end is only a beginning’ which shall be available in the markets from the second week of July and the pre-order has started.
The main themes of the book are feminism, hope, human trafficking, Indo-Nepal relations and self discovery.
We decided to interview Kudrat!
1. Since when are you interested in writing? How often do you write? And how do you go about working on your skills?
I have loved to write ever since I’ve been young but the thought of seriously writing a novel struck me when I was 15 years of age. However back then I couldn’t produce a story that my heart, mind and soul thought was worth it. But I kept trying, since writing a book before graduating High School became a part of my bucket list. But that didn’t happen and all by the end of High School I was left with was an unfinished manuscript and a plethora of articles.
But once I moved into college, I knew that I had to fulfil my dream of becoming an author before I graduated Law and hence, ever since the first year I have been trying to work on a story that could convince all the deciding elements of myself.
Thus, while answering how often do I write, I’d say- In my mind, I am always writing, knitting words to create poems, couplets and stories, but apart from that I usually pen down articles once in every three days.
About working on my skills, I believe that every author has a very distinct way of writing and one can’t really change that whether one is a book old or a dozen of books old, but one can certainly grow. I personally believe that one’s world is till the limits of one’s vocabulary, hence I consistently keep working on my vocabulary to free myself of all restrictions that a lack of it may pose to my thoughts.
I am perpetually working to enhance it as much as I can and also read a lot of non-fiction to have clarity of concepts and an opinion over everything. I believe that I am a writer only because I worship the inherent power of one’s opinions.
2. How did the idea for the book come about?
I believe the main inspiration or idea to write Laiza was the fact that we have a plethora of books about women and their position in the middle east but don’t have a lot of literature about women and their position after disasters in places like Nepal and many docile countries like it.
My father was an officer in the Gorkha Regiment of the Indian Army and I’ve always had house help from Nepal, so I have very strongly felt about Nepalis and their culture ever since the start. Nepal’s culture is strikingly similar to that of India’s and I was very keen on writing about them and their society.
Apart from that, the fact that I have always been a feminist who believes in equality of the sexes, I wanted my debut novel to be women centric where my protagonist is her own hero. So last year while taking a walk, I suddenly had the entire story in my mind from the start to the end and it was the first time when all the three elements of myself gave a green signal to proceed with it.
This is how I got the story which I feel is a culmination of my personal beliefs about various issues that have been talked about and mentioned in the book.
3. How was the experience of writing the book? What was the tough part?
For me writing has always been therapeutic so writing Laiza has been one of the best experiences of my life. There was a lot of research that went behind the story and that is something that helped me understand the ground realities not only as a human being but also as a Law student which I don’t think I would’ve gotten the chance to understand otherwise.
I can say that today, I am intellectually way richer and enriched than the time the idea of Laiza first came to my mind and there is nothing more that can made me happier than this.
Well, writing a book in its entirety is tough, what might take a flash of second to portray in a movie might consume two whole pages of a book. But I believe that the toughest part was probably the ending, I must’ve changed it about thrice, from a very Bollywood one to an extremely realistic one now.
4. What is the book on? What is the central theme?
Laiza is the story of a 19year old girl, who loses her parents to the Earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 and is then forced to move to Kathmandu in order to rehabilitate, with her brother. But in search for greener pastures, she moves to India only to be hired as a lady’s maid by a rich household.
Once in India Laiza is hired, but not as a lady’s maid but as a sex slave and after that her harrowing experiences at the house of horrors begin. It is a story of hope in the face of despair. There isn’t one particular theme but various themes that form the foundation of the story like: Feminism, Human Trafficking, hope, morality, personal loss, friendship, Indo-Nepal relations, Nepal’s culture and self discovery.
5. How was your experience in self-publishing? What’s your advice for future authors?
I had a great experience with my current publishers called NotionPress especially because they went all out to get my book within the stipulated deadline that I had provided them with. I would highly recommend all the budding authors who would want to self-publish to hire them.
However, I initially hired Partridge India Publishing which is a subsidiary of Penguin, but was disappointed with their services and demands to change my manuscript to make it more ‘MORAL’ according to Indian standards.
Owing to this I repudiated the contract with them because I feel that an artist’s creative freedom whose trying to bring awareness about issues that plague our society, Shouldn’t be taken away.
My book is about problems that exist in our society like human trafficking, drugs, discrimination of women which is coupled with fearless writing and I believe that its high time that we learn to call a Spade a Spade and stand for facts and not facades.
But I believe that this is how it was meant to be and in the end all I can say is that, All’s well that ends well.
And if you are wanting to write a book, Stop waiting ! Start now, because there is never really anything called, ’The Right Time.’
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