Editor’s Pick of the Week: Adab

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Juggernaut’s Editor’s Pick of the Week is Adab, by Mandira Pattnaik.

Adab is the story of a child who grows into a woman, and escapes as domestic help only to find her past casting a long shadow over her dreams.

Read the story here .

Mandira Pattnaik is a compulsive weaver of short stories from the mundane to the scrupulously plotted. Growing up across the country in multiple socio-economic environs has shaped her writing as seen through the lens of a perpetual outsider. With education in Economics and service background in social sectors, her stories both kindle and inspire.


Your story is Editor’s Pick of the Week. Please tell us more about it, and its inspiration.

‘ADAB’ is a plot-driven racy story where emotions run amok. Abject poverty of the Sunderbans Delta, perennially lashed by the scathing Gangetic tides, powers the cogs of human trafficking. Adab, a child-woman from the place, has a right to life, a right to a home; she has a right to dream. The choices she makes will decide the course her life will take.


Do you have any particular rules or rituals you follow as a writer?

Frankly, no rule is the cardinal rule. As creative people, I suppose, we all follow our instincts. But for the first draft I prefer to put pen to paper and write in the long form, adding random thoughts over a period of time.


What got you interested in becoming a writer? Where do you go for inspiration?

Sounds clichéd, but truth is that I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I contributed, and was at one time, the Student Editor of my School Magazine in Lucknow. Some of my pieces of that time got published—once even in the Times of India! Over the years however, career and work took precedence (as is often the case for most of us), until the creative juices forced me into a full-time writer.

Anything and everything is inspiring. From the most mundane to the economic, political, speculative, intriguing, escapist—I compulsively weave stories around any or all of them!


What’s that one piece written by you which is your all time favourite?

‘ADAB’ is very close to my heart. But so are most of the others. Each one of them has a bit of me; each has something that I personally experienced. Honestly, I can hardly single out one as my all time favourite.


Have you ever had to make difficult choices like the one in your story?

I think each of us has to, at some point or other. The choices that we make chart the course of our lives. Whether we celebrate or regret them, we are the better and stronger for them.


Your best-selling authors and books list. Why do they make it to your list?

I absolutely read whatever I can lay my hands on. I grew up reading the Classics—Anna Sewell’s ‘Black Beauty’ and Emily Bronte’s only novel ‘Wuthering Heights’ are particular favourites. I loved (and still do) Agatha Christie; they’re truly unputdownable! For non-fiction, I am enamoured by the writing styles of Paul Samuelson and Stephen Hawking, who had such mastery over their subjects that they transformed serious theories to simple lucid narratives. Closer home, who can forget R.K. Narayan? His ‘Malgudi Days’ and ‘Grandmother’s Tales’ are masterpieces. Also Ruskin Bond—an artist who paints with words!


Any writing tips you’d like to share with fellow writers?

As I said, there are no rules. There’s no alternative to putting in the hours. Write and rewrite, until one day, many days later, you return to a piece, and you’re mesmerized by your own creation!


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