Moitrayee Bhaduri is a writer with 14 years of experience working as content specialist and people manager with some of the leading organizations in the IT sector. An alumnus of IBM India, Moitrayee loves interacting with people and mentoring new writers. She was instrumental in starting book clubs and newsletters in most of the organizations she worked with.
Moitrayee has a Master of Arts in History from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and a Bachelor of Arts in History Honours from Loreto College, Calcutta University. She also has a certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.
Moitrayee is passionate about creative writing and music. She lives in Mumbai, India, with her husband. The Sinister Silence is her first novel.
Vinita Kinra: Welcome to Global Asian Times, Moitrayee. Tell us something about yourself that not many people are aware of.
Moitrayee Bhaduri: Thank you for the warm welcome Vinita! It’s my pleasure to be here. Not many people know that as a student, my dream was to join the Indian Police Service and serve my country.
Vinita Kinra: What draws you to the magical world of writing and what does the art of weaving words do for you on a personal level?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: I loved writing poems as a kid. My mother writes for literary magazines and I guess I was inspired by her to start writing. The best part of writing is that it lets me be! I can express myself freely and don’t need to weigh my words before uttering them. It is extremely gratifying.
Vinita Kinra: What sparked off the idea for your book, The Sinister Silence?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: I have been drawn to mystery novels right from childhood. Besides, I always believed in raising my voice against crime and injustice. So ever since I decided to be an author, I wanted to write a crime thriller. My experience in the field of IT enthused me to center The Sinister Silence around the software industry.
Vinita Kinra: How much of your books are autobiographical where characters reflect your personal experiences?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: This is my first book and it is a work of fiction. However, some characters have been inspired from my interactions with people personally and professionally over the last decade. My protagonist, private detective Mili Ray, for instance, is a courageous, no-nonsense ex-super cop. She was created after a lot of research and her character has traits that I admire in people.
Vinita Kinra: Did you have a support group like family, friends or colleagues who believed in your passion for writing?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: Absolutely! I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive family and friend circle. I was able to overcome numerous disappointments and frustrations primarily because my support system trusted me and believed in my dream.
Vinita Kinra: Does the journey of seeing an idea develop and flourish into a full-fledged book teach you something about yourself or make you a better person in any way?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: Oh yes, certainly. It is my creation – something I can call my own and that is a wonderful feeling. The book has helped me evolve as a person and made me more observant and patient.
Vinita Kinra: Which is the one character from your book that you enjoyed creating the most and why?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: There a quite a few. But if I had to pick one – I would pick detective Mili Ray. There are different shades to her character – she is not a superwoman. While Mili Ray has a knack for solving complex murder cases and had been a tough cop, she is also a compassionate lady and people love her. She has bad habits too. Despite being short tempered, she is witty and logical. She is extremely passionate about what she does in life and fighting against injustice tops the list.
Vinita Kinra: How important is the commercial side of writing and promoting your books as opposed to the sheer joy of the creative art of expression?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: When you create something you love, you want to share it with others. That multiples your happiness. So promoting the creation is necessary so that it reaches people – some will appreciate it, others might not. Either way, it will help the author in the long run – to stay motivated and grounded. While the commercial aspect is important, the joy of satiating your creative needs is far more invigorating.
Vinita Kinra: In your personal context, is writing about escaping the reality or embracing it?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: A combination of both, I would say. At times, writing is all about easing your tensions and escaping the reality. At other times, it is a responsibility – to embrace reality, speak your mind, and make a difference. However, each time, the journey is fresh and enjoyable.
Vinita Kinra: If you could summon the genie, which author from the past or present would you like to become and why?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: Agatha Christie – by all means. She could weave magic with her storytelling prowess. All her books are captivating and keep the reader hooked till the last page. To attain that level of perfection is every writer’s dream.
Vinita Kinra: Writing is a craft that requires extended periods of alone time for creative juices to flow. How do you combat this isolation?
Moitrayee Bhaduri: Actually, I quite enjoy the isolation. It helps me build plots and write scenes faster. On the other hand, I love spending time with family and friends. These days I have realized that the more you interact with people, the better you sketch your characters. The best part is that they don’t realize they might feature in my next book. So being an author is great fun!
Vinita Kinra: Our readers would like to sample an excerpt from your book.
Mumbai, 4 July 2014
The weather continued to worsen. Traffic had come to a standstill. The waterlogged streets and the power cut added to the misery of the Mumbai suburb. Saahil was tired of driving at a snail’s pace. The last two hours had been worse than post-lunch office meetings! Finally, Saahil saw a blink of hope when two police officers sporting fluorescent raincoats started clearing the traffic knots. Saahil was about to accelerate, but instead slowed down his olive-green SUV at the adjacent bus stop. He spotted a familiar face there.
“Hey…you’re all drenched. Get in, get in!” Saahil opened the front door of the car to allow his acquaintance to step in.
“Thanks,” gulped the familiar face.
“You ought to be home, killer day today. Get in fast!”
“Hey, thanks a lot, Saahil,” smiled the co-passenger and stepped in beside Saahil, quickly squeezing out the excess water from the black windcheater.
“No worries!” smiled back Saahil. Uttering these two words had become a habit, thanks to the last ten years in the Information Technology industry.
“Rather I should thank you! I was getting bored of driving alone,” Saahil added.
Saahil’s watch beeped. 10 p.m.
“Ah, missed it again,” he said, blowing the horn in frustration.
“Huh?” the co-passenger reacted.
“My favourite sitcom. I miss all the episodes. I wish we could be programmed to leave office at 6 p.m. every day!”
There was no reaction from the listener. Saahil drove on slowly, trying his best to meander through the pothole-filled dark streets. His co-passenger was unusually quiet. The silence within the car made Saahil uncomfortable.
Ten minutes later, Saahil felt an acute pain on his left arm. His eyes got droopy and he struggled to keep them open. He turned towards his co-traveller with a confused look on his face. The person smiled and said, “Relax Saahil. It will not hurt. Trust me.”
There was pin drop silence… a sinister silence.
In the wee hours the next morning – 5th of July 2014 – Saahil Kerkar lay in a pool of blood inside his car near the Blue Lime Residential Complex on Yarawada Road, Mumbai.
There was no trace of the person accompanying him.
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.