Author Interview of Sujith Balakrishnan for ‘The Chronicle Of Golgotha Days’.

#AuthorInterview

1. Introduce yourself for your readers.

Well, I am born and brought up in the northern part of Kerala, Palakkad – a district blessed with mountains, rivers, greeneries, paddy fields and Palmyra’s. After my engineering graduation, I moved to Muscat in 1999 and then to Dubai after three years, where I have been living for the past 18 years. Literature and Films had been my ardent passion from childhood days. My entry into the field of thoughtful writing started in the late twenties, and the oeuvre consists of nearly forty short stories, a novel and a couple of unpublished novels and screenplays.

I am a late starter in the arena of writing which started budding from the early twenties and became intense in my late twenties. For me, writing is a kind of compulsion which instigates me to do it for attaining some unexplainable pleasure and the void of not writing makes me feel as if I am loosing something treasured from my life.

The ardent aspiration for writing came inside me when I moved to Muscat in 1999. Due to the nature of the work, the only thing which could satisfy my artistic appetite was to read and write. These are the subliming and intense moments which makes me nudge and nudge in life to crawl forward.

2. What/Who inspired you to write this story?

The event that had been my inspiration for the novel occurred in 1996, when I was a second year engineering student. The incident gained media attention due to the nature of the assailants and the under age of the victim. More over this was the first incident of this nature ever happened in Kerala.

Like anyone, the incident shocked me and haunted me reading the umpteen cosmetic stories being published in various yellow newspapers. The sad part in such incidents, when a high profile politician is involved is that it become a political crime and two groups takes the sides of the victim and the assailant. Ultimately the stronger candidate with the political clout wins influencing the Medias through debates and listing out all their fallacies and convincing it as the truth in front of the public by the justification army.

I never had a clue that I will publish a novel after 22 years past that event. What instigated me to initiate this novel 7 years back was when I accidentally saw the interview of the victim’s father stating “Our generation is going to end here”? The whole family was ostracized, alienated and mocked by the whole society depriving them of all the justice. After going through all these sufferings, a father who claims their family tree will end here is a shame to all of us, the so called civilized society.

I started writing the novel from 2011 and it took a long time to find a clear voice to present the voice of the protagonist. The point of view was changed so many times till it reached to the form which is currently published.

3. Since you’re staying in Dubai now, why did you choose to publish your book in India?

Even though the reading and selling of books is in par with any other area, Sharjah and Dubai is still a budding market in the field of Publishing. This is one of the reason I have chosen an Indian publisher.

4. How was your journey of writing ‘The Chronicle of Golgotha Days’?

Plotting the novel and finding a clear voice for the protagonist was the most draining process. In between, I have decided to keep it aside many at times like my other unfinished works.

Spending seven years for a novel that too with such intense incidents was strenuous and excruciating discomfort. When I finished the manuscript of my Novel, it gave me a sense of depression and a weak mind. I extended the thought of going to a therapist to come out from the dilemma. I have dealt to answer the queries of the society, law, judiciary when all blame the culprit instead of supporting her. This is utter ruthlessness.

I made a bike trip of over 5 days to all the anonymous location where she was taken. I can’t express the poignant feelings of that trip in few words but it was after that trip I finally pinned the novel.

The novel ending is bit dark which is the reality as the true inspired characters are living in an anonymous location, waiting for justice.

5. As you’ve already mentioned that this work of fiction is inspired by true events, I’d like to ask how the real Abhaya is doing now. Did she get the justice she deserved?

The novel is an independent inspiration of the real event. I would like to stress again, my novel is inspired from the true events but not a clear cut reproduction of the occurred incidents. But one thing I can endorse that what the victim would have suffered would be much worse than what I have portrayed through the novel.

As stated in my Novel Epilogue, Justice is still mile and miles away and truthfully what justice can we furnish her after 22 years of that cruel incident shattering all her dreams and life.

6. How difficult was it for you to fit yourself in Abhaya’s shoes to pen down such vivid descriptions of her Golgotha Days?

To achieve clarity of the protagonist’s voice was quite tedious and depressing to discover. It was initially written in a third person omniscient point of view, but when I returned back reading the novel it looked boring and fake. By that time I already reached half way through. The novel was then rewritten in the first point of view with a clear and simple tone.

The most depressing journey in writing the novel was the intermittent blocks I suffered in between writing process. Taking almost 7 years to complete a novel is a quiet long stint which could have done in a year if it was done without blocks.

7. What message do you want to spread through your book?

The perspective of the society towards crime should change as there is a constant push from the political masters to make any crime “a political crime” when politicians are involved. This eases their crime by getting a massive political support which could shield all the opposition.

Moreover, the reactions and opinions of the public towards the victim is so depressing which should be changed. It’s a casual statement as I believe it is never going change.

What I have tried to spread through the book is obviously every reader should understand the intensity of the tormenting moments such unfortunate victims go through and what justice the so called civilized society give them in return.

Thankyou

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