Valentine’s Day 2019: Bestselling author Durjoy Datta on Pocketful O’ Stories, love and other things
What makes a good love story? Is it the relationship the couple shares, their chemistry, their good looks or is it just about love and the journey of a couple together? Every year on Valentine’s Day and the prelude to the day of love, there’s speculation on your relationship status, what you gifted each other, where you travelled to and so much more! However, this year the build-up to Valentine’s Day was a slightly different one. We spoke with acclaimed romantic author, Durjoy Datta and asked him about his favourite books, favourite holiday spot, his best work according to him, and the tie-up with ITC to launch perfume gift sets called Yin (for him) and Yang (for her) that also contain a pocketful o’ stories - a collection of short stories with a 250 character limit. Read on to know what Durjoy has to say about all that we were curious about ahead of Valentine’s Day 2019.
1. Your favourite book and what are you reading nowadays?
It’s hard to pick one! Room on the Roof, Midnight’s Children, Namesake, The Red Dragon are all my favourite books. I’m reading There’s Gunpowder In The Air by Manoranjan Byapari.
2. Give a brief history behind Pocketful O’ Stories, how the idea came to be and the journey involved with it.
It was the team of Engage pocket perfumes that came up with the idea. Their pocket perfumes promise 250 sprays and so they thought it would be fun to compile stories that are 250 characters long. I thought it was a great idea! So I came on board and we thought it would be a cute, little project where we ask for people of their unexpected moments of love. I wrote the first 10 stories as a sort of guideline but pretty soon we realized people didn’t need it! They were writing much better than I was. We were deluged with entries. At the end of the month we were sitting on more than 11,000 entries out of which we had to select 250. That was the tough part! So many of the stories made the cut. It took us months to sift and cull through the stories to reach the final 250.
It was a humbling experience for me. Also hugely entertaining. The stories we have published are a treat to read!
3. What can one expect from Pocketful O’ Stories? Which one’s your favourite story from the entire compilation and why?
It is extremely difficult to say which story is my favourite because all the stories in the book leave a different impact on you. However, one story that I remember is by @antar_atreya, “We were playing chess in the leisure period. She played aptly and conquered my queen. With a chuckle and wink she said, ’You lost the queen dude.’ Instinctively I said, ‘My queen is right next to me.’ This unanticipated proposal was the start of our story.”
There are a lot of stories in the book that I like but this is one of the few I remember.
4. Your boy series - The Boy Who Loved and The Boy With A Broken Heart are considered to be some of your best works. Could you tell us your favourite quotes from this book?
I am pleased to hear that. Thank you very much. My favourite quote from the book will be,
“How twisted do you have to be to invent birth and death? One moment you’re just nothingness, air, vacuum and poof . . . suddenly you’re a foetus trapped in a womb, a helpless baby, a confused toddler, an angst-ridden teenager, a depressed young person, a burdened middle-aged person and then you slowly rot to death. Great art never dies but he made us mortal. That’s if men are really God's best creation.”
5. Which TV show have you enjoyed watching the most in the recent past and why?
I really liked Sex Education and Russian Doll.
6. We love your pictures with your daughter on Instagram? Tell us a bit about your favourite moments with her.
Our morning routine is probably one of my favourite moments with her. She wakes up smiling and talking and it’s just sunshine! That’s the time she’s not running around and making us run behind her!
7. How do you come up with a story idea and how long does it usually take you to pen a book?
I start with a central character and a central trait and build the story around that character. It takes me six months to a year to finish writing the book.
8. Your favourite travel destination?
I was in South America this year and I loved being there! Having said that, I really like staying at home. It’s my favourite place.
9. Mountains or beaches and why?
Beaches. The cold becomes inhibiting after a while.