Mrinalini Mitra, a young painter, poet, and pianist, has been recognised for her rhetorical abilities and her views on contemporary issues. Her poignant comprehension of human wants and failings transcend her art works and flow into her writings. Her paintings and poems depict depth and an understanding of the complexities of emotions and relationships that belie her age.
At a tender age of 17 she has deftly carved out a beautifully written story on the grandparent-grandchild relationship, which is truly inspiring. In today’s troubled times this book reaffirms belief in life and its value systems.
Now, let’s take a sneak peak into the mind of the young penman.
- When did you start writing fiction?
Belief is not the first book I have written, but the only I have had the courage to get published. I can’t even remember when I started writing fiction! I was eleven when I wrote my first book. It was called Bucks Street it was a family drama and revolved mostly around the life of a newly married couple.
- Is there any particular reason you have set your story outside India, with non-Indian characters?
Belief is more than just a family drama that highlights the issues related to weak kinship bonds that crack under the impact of modern lifestyle, but it also focuses the innate quality of a human to love. The story did not fit within the cultural boundaries of India, where the strengthening of kinship ties is given great importance. Yet, I believe the Indian audience will appreciate and understand the fragility of human relationships.
- There are questions in the book about what intelligence and faith are. Do you think these concepts are open to interpretation, or do you believe that your book will provide others with set definitions?
There is a part of the book where Emily and Mason discuss intelligence and faith and how the two are related. Mason explains to young Emily ‘An intelligent man lives in the moment and then changes in the next, a faithful man will live tomorrow like he lived today, with little change’. He seems to have an idea of what intelligence and faith mean, whereas Emily is still trying to find their meanings. In that sense, the book offers both a definition of what intelligence and faith are and the idea that those definitions are open to interpretation.
- Writing a book is something to be proud of in itself, but are there any parts of your book that you are particularly proud of?
I am most proud of those parts of the book that highlight the varied belief systems of the different characters. There are parts where Mason is fondly remembering the differences between Martha, his wife, and his belief system. Belief emphasizes the importance of finding one’s own beliefs and values and accepting those of others.
- Did any parts of your own life influence your book? Were any characters based off people you know?
I can identify certain people in my life who share particular characteristics with the characters found in my book. Apart from the conversations between Mason and Emily, which are inspired by my conversations with my father, I can’t say that any particular incidences from my life have influenced the book. My fascination and love for philosophy inspired ‘Belief’.
- How difficult was it to write a book while keeping up with your studies? How did you manage your time?
It’s actually funny, but the idea for the story of Belief came to me while I was preparing for my class 10 boards. It wasn’t easy to find a balance between my studies and my passion for writing. Even though I had the story part-by-part clearly structured in my head, it was difficult to put my thoughts in writing. There were days when I could write several pages, there were days when I couldn’t get more than a sentence right, and then there were days when I couldn’t find the time to write at all. I wrote most of the parts in my summer break, and the rest I was able to finish in the break that followed the board exams.
- What do you believe your readers will take away from your book?
Belief is a story about relationships. I would like to think of it as a love story, actually! It explores different kinds of ‘love’ and soon shows how they are all alike. At the same time it shows characters experiencing ‘loss’ in different and distinct ways, but then shows how the pain of all these characters is alike. I believe the readers will take away the lessons that these characters have endured, found and forgotten!
- Do you have future plans regarding writing?
I have already started working on another story. I couldn’t live without writing even if I tried to! It’s how I express what I see around myself and what I don’t but I wish I could.
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Belief is available at all leading bookstores including Amazon.in: http://amzn.to/2chS8Vr