Welcome to Wandering Soul of Sikkim!
Biswas Timshina is a young author and an aspiring actor from Gangtok. A collection of short stories named Naive and Beautiful is the first book penned by Biswas. Anita Sharma of Wandering Soul of Sikkim talked with Biswas about him, his book and his acting career, for our Young Achiever Series.
Here’s the excerpts of the conversation:
Biswas Timshina (BT): I was never a reader. Logic and Flat Earth Society, that’s how I would like to describe my relationship with books. The only time I bought books was during the start of each school session. I would say that I was fortunate to have studied in Holy Cross School where our language teachers like Verghese Sir, Nima Ma’am, Deepa Ma’am, Sunita Ma’am and Younita Ma’am made stories so interesting for us. I was fascinated by stories they told but I was never drawn into reading a book.
I still am a lazy reader but I’ve certainly developed a liking towards reading
WSOS: Why do you write? Is writing your passion?
BT: I say this often that if I had gone to a better engineering college, I wouldn’t have become a writer. Since my college was busy sucking my passion for engineering out of my system, I developed a new passion. We weren’t allowed to keep cell phones or laptops in our hostel so my father suggested that I keep a diary. I started by writing about the monotony of my college life; wake up at 6, stand in line outside the toilet, stand in line outside the bathroom, stand in line outside the mess, stand outside the class for being late… you get the gist. Soon I got bored documenting my life so I went rogue with my writing. What started as an escape from boredom, turned into my passion.
WSOS: Naïve and Beautiful is your debut. How does it feel?
BT: ‘Naïve and Beautiful’ is a collection of short stories that I’d written during my college days. It was written by a very raw and unfiltered me who didn’t care about the rules or if people would like it or not. So when I published it, it was just for me, my family and friends. I didn’t even do a book release. It was more like a bullet point in my resume. But the book was liked by many and I had to increase the orders with the publishers (they were extremely happy about it). So the response that it garnered really uplifted my spirit and I started taking myself seriously as a writer.
WSOS: Have you always wanted to be a writer? And was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?
BT: Like I said before, I’d never thought that I’d be a writer. Even when I started writing my diary, I never thought that I would take it up as a profession. It was when Ravinder Singh chose my story ‘Bigger than a Bee Sting’ for an anthology published by Penguin titled ‘Tell me a Story’ did I start taking it seriously.
WSOS: What inspires you to write?
BT: People. People inspire me. So many layers, so many shades, so many stories. Sometimes I just travel in a train or a bus or the metro, put my headphones on with no music playing and I look around, listen to people’s conversations, watch their body language and weave a story around them. Some might say that it is creepy and I totally agree with them but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
WSOS: Do you have any advice for the yet-to-be- published writers reading this?
BT: Aspiring writers can learn a lot from my life…specifically what not to do. Like, don’t be a lazy reader like me, read as much as you can. And if you are going to publish, market it well, do a book release, make the world know that you are releasing a book. And third and most important, don’t go around staring at people, you might get imprisoned.
WSOS: Can you please tell me something about you acting career?
BT: I don’t have an acting career as such. Of course, I love acting. This is one profession where you can change your form like that of Mystique from X-Men and who wouldn’t want that. But on a serious note, I was a horrible actor during my school days. It was recently, during the acting workshop of Pahuna, where I was assisting our acting coach Veena Mehta (former teacher at NSD), did I realize that I was an able actor. As an assistant, my work was to practice lines with the actors from the film during which she noticed that I was able to understand characters and their emotions. So she instilled the confidence in me to face the camera and since then I’ve always cast myself as a character in whatever I create. ‘Whatever I create’ is the phrase to concentrate on. The day I get offered to act on someone else’s project shall I proclaim that i have an acting career? Till then, I am satisfied being described as a writer.
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More in the Series : YOUNG AUTHOR: An Interview with Pankaj Giri