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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spotlight on Monika Pant and Anindita Chatterjee

We are proud to introduce Monika Pant and Anindita Chatterjee, two contributors to our upcoming anthology on motherhood and loss, "Joy, Interrupted."

Monika Pant contributed the piece, “Run” and can be reached by email at mpant65@gmail.com  She can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/monika.pant3 and on twitter @mpant65

What is your piece about?

"'Run'","It is the story of a mother who is being carried into the ocean and into sudden death. The waves wash over her and more than striving to survive, she watches helplessly as her children are being pulled away by the relentless waves of the Tsunami and that of death. She remembers her life with her family and those little joys and sorrows which she will nevermore experience. She would give anything to save her children, but, alas, death does not barter one life for another.

Who are you?

I am a short story writer and poet living in India. My stories have been published in 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' series and my poems in various anthologies. I also have been writing English Grammar and Literature books being used in schools after I left teaching English to senior students in a reputed school for more than 15 years. I left a flourishing career to be able to write full-time and am now in the process of completing  three novels, one is a memoir based on my experiences as a cancer survivor, one is a historical based in the times of the Nawabs of Lucknow in the 18th century and another is the story of a woman who is attempts to unshackle herself in the contricting society in India.

Where have you been published?

My articles, stories and poems have been published online as well as in print. Story published in Platform Magazine, ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Armed Forces Soul’, ‘A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul’, ‘Teacher’s Soul’, ‘Father’s Soul’ and ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Mothers’ Soul’. Forthcoming titles of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series will feature some as well.  

Recently written a series of English Grammar textbooks for classes I to VIII ‘Grammar Room’, which is being used in some schools from the session 2009-10.  Also written another grammar series for classes I to V, ‘Grammatica’ which is to be used from the next session.   Currently writing a series of literature readers and workbooks by Vision Publications, Lucknow.  Essay published in ‘Spirituality in School Education’, published by New Book Society of India.  I won the first prize in ‘Scribbles’ category in a writing competition conducted by Platform Magazine in the July- August 2008 issue.  Poems published in ‘A fancy Realm’ an anthology taken out by JKC College, Guntur in November, 2011.  Poems to be published in ‘Joy Interrupted’, an anthology of poems to be released in November, 2012 and ‘Indus Valley’ another anthology to be released on 7th April, 2012.

Who inspired your work and why did you contribute it to our anthology?

My mother.  I feel the need to connect with people who have loved and lost.

What other representations of motherhood have inspired you?

The Mother, The Good Earth both by Pearl S Buck and Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandya. And of course, John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. There are many more real life stories.so many characters living and breathing within me, plots thicken, tales in different lands and different moods brush against each other...how to disentangle and write a coherent story? Is it time for a saga, I wonder.

Anindita Chatterjee contributed “Anirvan: The Deathless One” and can be reached at bluehighways071@gmail.com

What is your piece about?

The short story ""Anirvan: The Deathless One"" revolves around the hope and despair of a young urban couple. The woman wakes up to the shocking realisation of her miscarriage in a hospital ward. She reflects on her life and the intensity of the catastrophe. The story begins with a personal tragedy but ends on a note of hope and promise. The catastrophe brings the couple closer.

Who are you?

I am an Assistant Professor teaching English Literature in a Government College in Kolkata, India. Having done my Doctorate on ""Poetry of Madness"". My favourite activities include reading writing, travelling and photography. Currently I am working on a novel about two women belonging to two different age groups finding hope and friendship in each other. I often write poems as well, many of them have been published.   I love teaching my students and seeing them bloom from buds into beautiful flowers.

What have you published?

My critical research papers have been published. My poems have been published in leading English dailies of Kolkata, India. Recently one of my poems entitled ""My Fancy"" was published in ""Oasis"", a literary journal of India. My jointly co-edited book on ""Critical Perspectives in Indo- Anglican Poetry"" is on the verge of publication from Anthem Press, New Delhi, India in April 2012.

I have published several non-fictional work. I was always interested in fictional work. The short story is based partly on personal experience and when I came across the fact that such an anthology was going to be published I felt an instinctive  urge to share.   Writing can be therapeutic at times and it is a form of communication which often soothes and tranquilizes the mind.

Why did you submit your piece to our anthology?

I submitted the story in August 2011 within the deadline. When I received the acceptance letter I was elated. I have sent my signed contract form as well.

What other representations of motherhood do you like?

“Difficult Daughters” by Manju Kapur is one of my favourite novels on motherhood. Poignantly written it recounts the journey of a young woman to her roots in search of her mother's past. Rituporno Ghosh's ""Unishe April"" is a wonderful movie on mother-daughter bonding.

What else would you like to share?

I shall be glad if my story touches your heart. It is not a simple piece of fiction, it is based on personal trauma and hence the words are marked with personal emotion and pain.   It has been my way of transcending the loss. Like the conclusion of the story, I too hope that the future shall bring new promise and hope for us.

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