Proteem Bhaduri spends most days translating brand stories into live experiences, and generally thrashing about in the choppy waters of experiential marketing. When he’s not at his day job, he can be found dabbling in cooking, reading – preferably dark fiction – and writing. Several of his short-stories and poems have been published in online magazines. His story ‘Demons‘ has been picked as the Editor’s Pick of the Week.
Juggernaut had a tete-a-tete with Proteem about his story.
Your story is Editor’s Pick of the Week. Please tell us more about it, and its inspiration.
As I child, I was fed a steady diet of absorbing stories of the supernatural, the wondrous and sometimes, the downright macabre by my grandparents (as, I suspect, most kids from the sub-continent are). I was fascinated by them, even when I had reached the age when I realized they were largely fictional (although sometimes I hoped not). With age came the inevitable realization that the horrors that dwell within us humans are often far worse than any real or imagined evil on the outside.
‘Demons’ is an attempt to see how those lines, between imagined and real horror, can sometimes intersect, with devastating consequences. And having a child as the central protagonist allowed me to evoke some of the wonder that I used to feel hearing tales of faraway, obscure lands where life seemed so different from my own.
Do you have any particular rules or rituals you follow as a writer?
Because I also currently hold down a demanding, full-time job, I consciously gravitate between periods of writing and not writing, but when I do decide to write, I give myself a daily target of words that, barring the direst of circumstances, I make sure I reach or exceed, even if I return from work completely exhausted. Because, really, the only real way to write is to write. You can allow the stories to gestate in your head as long as you want, and procrastinate in the guise of ‘letting it take shape’ (as most writers, including me, are wont to), but it’s only really going to take shape (sometimes, unexpected shape) once you give it words.
What got you interested in becoming a writer? Where do you go for inspiration?
As I mentioned above, I was drawn into the fantastic world of stories pretty early on in life, and discovered books far earlier than most of my friends. These stories were many things to me; they helped me escape when I needed to, to time-travel if I chose to, to immerse myself in the fabric of rich, diverse and unknown cultures when I wished to, and most of all, they helped me realize that reality can be fluid. And in diving deep into those stories, at some point I realized I wanted to tell my own. I write to create alternate realities, to shape imagined destinies, but most of all, I write because some stories knock on the walls of my head demanding to be let out.
What’s that one piece written by you which is your all time favourite?
‘Demons’ and one of my earliest short-stories, ‘Bernie and the Panda’.
Your bestselling authors and books list. Why do they make it to your list?
While, in a crunch, I’d even read the back of a shampoo label, I’m at my happiest reading dark fiction; stories that explore the human condition and the darkness within and without, stories that flirt with the unknown. Given that, it’s fairly obvious that Stephen King is (and probably will be forever) my absolute favorite (and a huge inspiration). His, I believe, is the greatest imagination of our generation. I love all his books, but It, The Stand, Misery, and much of The Dark Tower series are particular favorites. Beyond him, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, and JK Rowling, for their ability to yank you out of your own world into theirs, and to make you fall in love with their characters. And of course, Douglas Adams with his immortal and infinitely funny Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Of the one-off books I’ve enjoyed immensely are Room by Emma Donoghue, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
Any writing tips you’d like to share with fellow writers?
I always say, ‘’If you want to write, READ,’’ because, to me, reading what other people write is the best way to stoke your own imagination, to understand the craft, and to keep your fiction-making motors grinding (as you think how YOU would have handled that plot point or climactic moment differently). Another thing I keep reminding myself is to write with love but edit without remorse. Because, while it hurts to hatchet away at your own words, stories are often at their best when they are lean and mean.
You can read his story ‘Demons’ here.