Author’s Background: Author, Sreeparna Sen is currently living in Kolkata, the City of Joy! Sreeparna is a Banker by profession and finds her solace in writing. A Computer Engineer by education, she is a voracious reader. She has authored the book, Tales of Wizardencil and co-authored a few anthologies like Hawk’s Nest, Macabre Tales, Blood Runs Cold, Route 13 – Highway to Hell, Love in Trying Times, Airavata, Sweek Flash Fiction Book Part 2 & 4, and Sharing Lipstick. Well, all these books by Author Sreeparna Sen are celebrated with great ratings as well as some truly positive reviews across all the platforms, where the books are listed.
Neel Preet: Firstly, Congratulations on your book, “Tilottama At A Glance” Well, can you please share your experience about making your work come into the form of book!
As you know the book was born from some blogs I had written earlier. So it was the year 2020, suddenly the country was under lockdown and for a change, I did not have to go to the office every day. So I decided to take up the blogging A2Z challenge. It was a sudden decision to get registered and on March 31st, I was brainstorming about the topic when the idea of journaling the uniqueness of my city Kolkata came to me. However, the idea to turn it into a book came much later, around last year in October when Ukiyoto Publishing accepted my manuscript.
Neel Preet: What inspired you to write this book? What was the impetus behind this work of yours?
I was born and brought up in the city of Kolkata. Having spent more than 30 years in this land, today I am one with the quirkiness of this unique city. I wanted to share those stories with the world. From that idea, the concept of the book germinated.
Neel Preet: Your book title, ‘Tilottama At A Glance’ is bit unique! Therefore, can you please explain the reasons for going with this book title!
Sreeparna Sen: Yes, I know, after the book was released I have faced this question umpteen times. In ancient mythology, Tilottama is an apsara, who enchanted even the Gods. The word Tilottama is used to describe someone whose every bit(til) is beautiful(uttam). We often equate Kolkata with Tilottama which is beautiful in all forms. Even the famous Bengali poet Jibananda Das described Kolkata as Tilottama in his poem. I took the title from that idea.
This book is about at a glance how the city would feel to the readers hence the title Tilottama At A Glance.
Neel Preet: Well, there are already many travel books, so can you please explain how is this book different from the other books of the same genres?
Sreeparna Sen: First difference is that it is not exactly a travel book. This modern travel literature aims to take her readers on a journey through the hearts and minds of the Kolkatans, riding the highs and lows of the emotional roller coaster, that the community life in Kolkata encourages and fosters. Through this book, I hope to share a glimpse of the essence of Kolkata, the city where I grew up.
Neel Preet: Can you please explain us in your version, that how this book will appeal to the readers of the present day!
Sreeparna Sen: It is a journey through the streets, markets, monuments, and bridges of Kolkata but unlike as a traveler one gets to look beyond the obvious, into the soul of the city. Strolling across the pages one will hop on to trams, yellow taxis, and tanga, and will get encouraged to devour mammoth quantities of street food like a true blue Kolkatan. This book celebrates the uniqueness of the city of joy with all its fun and wit imbibed.
Neel Preet: Next, I want you to tell us about some of those writers, who inspired you!
I love to read. So if I want to list there are various writers whom I admire and who have had a prominent effect on my writing journey. But if I have to name one inspiration, it is my grandfather Manjil Sen who was a prominent Bengali writer. He is a national award winner and worked with the likes of Satyajit Ray and others. So I have grown up amidst books and writing has been a natural inclination due to the constant presence of him in my life. He left us for the better abode in 2016, but I hope someday I can make him proud with my writing.
Neel Preet: Is there any message that you would like to convey to your readers? Or any piece of advice, which you would like to give to the readers out there!
Sreeparna Sen: It should be the other way round. I would love to know what the readers are thinking and advise new authors like me.
But yes, I have an appeal to the readers. The books are fruits of much labour, and readers’ feedback is the greatest gift an author can get. So never shy away from sharing reviews even if it is just a line saying you liked it or disliked it. Each word from the readers means a lot to the writers.
Neel Preet: Are there any other books being worked by you? Please let us know about your future projects.
Sreeparna Sen: Currently I am focusing on my blog and short stories. But I plan to bring out a second part to this book. Another book with core of Kolkata, more of its quirkiness and some unique colloquial anecdotes.
Neel Preet: Thank you so much for answering all my questions. All the very best to you for the future and your book too!
Sreeparna Sen: It was a pleasure to talk about my book. Wishing you all the best for your magazine.