Thursday, January 23, 2014

"I Believe In The Power Of Light That Dispels Darkness And Overcomes Fear"

Vivek Banerjee is a pediatrician by choice and a writer by chance. His debut novel The Long Road, which was well received by the readers, was published by Cedar- an imprint of PustakMahal in December 2010. He has contributed short stories to Chicken Soup for Indian Doctor’s Soul (Westland), Shades of Love (Grapevine India), Kaleidoscope (Parlance publishers) and Shades of Sin (APK Publishers) and

He blogs at

You can mail him at

To read the full review of The Other Side, click here.

Congratulations Vivek on the superb response to ‘The Other Side’. Reading it was a wonderfully ‘scary’ delight, and we would like to know more about you, your life and your books.

In case you find any question offensive, you can choose to ignore it. I apologize in advance for such instances.

Let’s begin with knowing more about you, your education, career and family life.

I was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and grew up in different cities. My dad worked for Northern railways and the regular transfers and postings resulted in frequent changes of school and many sets of friends who I am still in touch with. I am a trained Pediatrician and have a successful practice. My wife Sonia is an Obstetrician. My son is training to be a Computer Engineer in Bangalore and my daughter is in school.

Medical diagnosis and writing stories are like chalk and cheese. How did the amalgamation of the two happen?

No I don’t think so. Many well-known writers have been doctors from the field of medicine. Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, Taslima Nasreen and A J Cronin come to my mind. Not that I am comparing myself to the greats. But yes, a Doctor is privy to many things like birth, death, sickness and raw human emotions. He/ She is in a position to observe the myriad colours life from very close. So the doctor can be a very effective writer when it comes to portraying human feeling or emotions.

You have featured in quite a number of books. Tell us about them.

The Long Road, a novel about young doctors was my debut novel. It did get a fair share of critical acclaim and is very close to my heart. I have also written for various anthologies like Shades of Love, Shades of Sin, Carnival and Kaleidoscope. I won the best story award for The Hunter, my contribution to Kaleidoscope. I am also a part of Chicken Soup for Indian Doctor’s Soul.

What has been your most satisfying story till date, which you have penned down? Also, which story do you feel could have been written in a better manner?

I always feel that I could have done much better when I read any of my stories later. But I am very sentimental about The Long Road. Out of the short stories, I would rate Ayesha, which was published in Carnival, as my best. I am also fond of my stories in Shades of Sin.

Talking about ‘The Other Side’, how was the entire process of writing this book? How easy or difficult is it to write a book with a co-writer?

It was a breeze. I have loved ghost stories ever since I was a kid. I grew up reading Satyajit Ray and Leela Majumdar in Bangla. The influence of these greats shaped my stories for this book. As for my co-writer Faraaz Kazi, he is like a younger brother or a favourite nephew. I am almost twice his age but we get along fine. I found it very easy to work with him.

Which is your favourite story in ‘The Other Side’?

The Long Weekend is my favourite. I loved the planchette part and the twist in the end. And the two protagonists, Sachin and Shikha, are almost real to me. It seems that I have known them for years. I am also partial to The Muse Comes Calling.

Do you personally believe in ghosts? Are any of the stories in ‘The Other Side’ inspired by paranormal happenings that you might have experienced?

The honest answer would be that I do not believe in ghosts. But I believe in the power of darkness, the power of fear and above all in the power of light that dispels darkness and overcomes fear.

What are your other hobbies besides writing? Also, what are your upcoming books this year?

I love reading, listening to music, travelling and photography. Bird photography seems to be my latest passion. As for further writing, there are no definite plans as of now. The Other Side is a bestseller and I am a part of a classy anthology like Carnival, so I can say providence has been kind to me. But yes, I do dream about writing a block- buster novel.

What message would you like to share with your readers?

Dear readers, love me or hate me, but please don’t ignore me. And do buy my books by the dozen.

There are many aspiring writers eager to tell their stories to the world. What would be your advice to these new and aspiring storytellers?

Do not write for an audience. Write for yourself! If name and fame has to come, it will. If it does not, at the least, nobody can take the rapture of creativity, the ecstasy of writing and the power to shape the destiny of the characters’ you create away from you.

Thanks a lot Vivek for your time. Wishing you all the best for your future.

This interview is in association with The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit