Rohit Chakraborty was born in Guwahati in November of 1995. He has been writing since the age of eight. As a schoolchild, the terrace of his house, the corner seat of the school library and the last bench in History classes were his favourite writing places. The Magic Tree House series catalysed his love for the written word and the craft as a child. We got in touch with him to know about his style of the written word.
How would you describe your style of writing?
A superficial examination would deem my sentences extremely long and descriptive. It’s quite aspirational, too. To be flamboyant with one’s vocabulary is a rookie error every young writer commits and I try to avoid that. But, yes, I pride myself on my ability to construct scenes and situations with a verisimilitude that is paramount (I’d say that, at least) when you’re writing magic realism or fantasy. There is something quite glorious, with fantasy in particular, because here you are creating an entire population which might borrow from or exist independent of the world you and I inhabit. In my books, the Andrunain world is no different than Roald Dahl’s habit of taking bits and bobs from the human world and twisting it to darkly comic effects. I never thought highly of him outside his books because he was horridly anti-Semitic and kind of a bonehead when he tried justifying his status but this trait in his children’s books was a supreme influence on the Andrunain books. The wizarding world, Narnia, and Middle Earth, they all exist independent of each other, there is no interaction which is necessary by nature. But, the Andrunain world and the human world are gears with their teeth lodged.
With respect to style. as I get older, clarity and coherence assume primary importance. I write in English and am a student of English Literature at University; we’ve been told that the very fact that we’re in a classroom studying writers , irrespective of nationality and race, writing in English is our submission to what is called a “postcolonial hangover”. Now that English is becoming (I don’t want to say “has become”) the lingua franca, it is more a tool than an heirloom or hand-me-down (a subjective association, of course). With this tool, I am beginning to explore the malleability of the language for English itself borrows from a plethora of other languages. Idiosyncrasies of Bengali, Assamese, and Hindi, the three Indian languages I speak, are painstakingly incorporated into names of characters or locations in The Mug of Melancholy and the forthcoming Andrunain books or the eccentricities in the speeches of invented creatures. I have taken horrid liberties with Indian folklore and fables and there are a few sub-plots that will use the cadence of oral storytelling traditions that is a marvellous practice in every Indian household. And there were games we played as children that came with these nonsensical ditties, something like Edward Lear or Sukumar Ray, and what I do is adapt them prosaically.
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