Hello there, peeps! Hope you’re all having a decent week considering the not so wonderful things happening around the world.
Well, today’s post is not about food or a recipe. It is about a book. Nope. We amateur (read: wannabe) cooks are not (at least yet) coming out with a cookbook. That is still sometime and some more experience away. This post is about a book a dear friend of mine is releasing soon. I couldn’t think of a better way to boast about how cool my friend is. After all, he’s going to be famous! 😉
So meet Saionton Basu, the author behind the upcoming book “Seven Attempts”. Saionton is a lawyer based in London, a father to an extremely mischievous 3 year old boy, a blogger, a fellow foodie, an avid fan of a certain Bollywood actor (I have received strict instructions not to divulge further) and of course a soon to be author.
A leading UK Asian Newspaper, Asian Lite had to say this about the book: “Seven Attempts looks at the lives of aspirants for the civil services examinations in India and how one among them escaped that fixation and settled in London. It is not an immigrant tale nor is it a look at the South Asian diaspora in London.” Saionton says “it is more an intrusion into the personal spaces of the seven ordinary protagonists leading a not so ordinary life.”
Each of the seven protagonists are fighting a battle, some against themselves, some against iron clad systems and yet others against the most competitive exam known to mankind (at least in India), the UPSC. How these battles intersect and crisscross is the raison d’etre of Seven Attempts and Saionton brings across an earthy feel to each setting. The characters are real and will make you want to be part of their lives. A simple story told beautifully. Anyone who knows the system knows well that the odds of a seat at the elite IAS table is five times tougher than drawing a starting pair in a game of poker.
Asian Lite goes on to say the following which I totally endorse: “It will leave you in guffawing splits, deep contemplation and in hidden tears equally. It will make you root for the protagonists each in their own way.”
Here is an excerpt of a short interview with the author himself. Drumroll please!
Aditi: What is the book’s genre/category?
Saionton: This book to me is really about hope, aspiration and fortitude. It just so happens that these qualities find fruition in a fictional context. To attempt to do in a non-fiction context would be flirting with philosophy and jurisprudence – not my strongest suite.
A: Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.
S: Well, one sentence may be too short, especially considering I have written an entire book! But essentially, it’s a deep dive into seven years of seven protagonists, each trying to find meaning and give wing to aspiration all within the overarching backdrop of the Indian civil services examination. Anyone familiar with the system knows what really goes into it. So I would say it is basically a chronicle of anecdotes that I have observed spun into a story.
A: Describe what your ideal writing space looks like?
S: At the head of the dining table, which overlooks the river Thames and close to the kitchen. It’s pretty chaotic!
A: Tell me briefly, what led up to the book?
S: Until about the age of twenty-two, I had lived my life in India. The backdrop of the book, in many ways, reflects my experiences gained in those years. I used to write smaller articles for newspapers and maintained a blog for many years and this was just a natural progression to record some of my impressions of a particularly vexed issue.
A: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
S: It will happen when it has to. Any other tips could be considered illegal or immoral, depending on the law of the land!
A: So a little rapid fire: Favorite movie?
S: There cannot be just one – so in no particular order – DDLJ, Chupke Chupke, One Fine Day.
A: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
S: Geography is unimportant as long as all my family and close friends could be on the same latitude and longitude crossing.
A: Any pet peeves?
S: Too many to spell out, but insincere and shallow people.
A: Your biggest critic?
S: My wife, Garima, from a writing perspective. To comment on any other aspect is beyond my pay grade.
A: Favorite food?
S: Again cannot be any one, but at gunpoint – Achari Tangri Kabab, Dal Makhni and Plain Naan.
A: So is there a lot of reference to food in your book?
S: Again food occupies a central role in my life. One of my enduring passions is exploring new cuisines. So, food has crept into several places in the book. Also, I need copious quantities of A-grade food to keep me going while writing.
A: What’s next?
S: Currently the screenplay of Seven Attempts is being made by a studio and I’m really excited about that. I’ll keep you posted when it’s ready to share.
So my foodie friends, do keep a look out for Saionton Basu’s Seven Attempts! I’m sure you’ll love reading it as much as I did (tch.. tch ..friends get to read a copy even before it releases 🙂 ).
It will be available for purchase on Amazon from 1 August 2016 or before. Mark your calendars! And as always, thank you for being such a wonderful audience. Until the CeeBees see you again, have a wonderful weekend.