We got to read some amazing stories in the Kolkata Lit Meet contest entries. Have a look at the top two entries of the contest.
The Crafty Statesman by Janaki R.
The winning entry of the contest, The Crafty Statesman is a riveting tale of a retired civil servant recollecting his experiences working with his political master. Janaki has won himself a contract from us. Congratulations!
Editor’s note: A civil servant recalls working for a Minister in this rip-roaring story. Politicians are easy targets for poking fun at, but a good satire based on politicians is rare to come by. This story stood out for being able to capture the absurdity of politics in a light-hearted manner. It is well plotted and has characters that remain with the reader. If you are reading this in office or in a public space, be warned, you will succumb to more than a laugh or two.
Read the winning story here.
Juggernaut had a little chat with Janaki about his passion for writing and his winning the contest.
According to you, what could’ve been the deciding factor that trumps your story from all the other entries?
I honestly do not know ☺ I have read the other short story writers on Juggernaut and I have really enjoyed them all.
I suppose it could be the theme that I had chosen. Political satire, while present in the press or in websites such as theunrealtimes.com, is not often made the focus of literature. The theme being a bit out of the ordinary could have tilted the scale in my favour.
What was your inspiration when you started writing ‘The Crafty Statesman’?
It is a political satire and in India we have a very rich history of this genre. The cartoons of R.K. Laxman, the write-ups by V. Gangadhar, G. Sampath, and many more. But the ultimate inspiration remain our politicians themselves. Packaging their antics is really easy. The satirist needs to put in minimal effort.
What is the best time for you to write?
Anytime when my toddler is asleep.
Who is your writing companion when you start writing? You know like coffee, music, etc.
A piping hot cup of tea and the chirping of birds. (Though the latter is rare in the concrete jungle I live in)
What is your favourite genre? Any specific reasons?
Mystery novels. I read to escape reality. (but I write to live with reality)
Any author or authors who have influenced your writing style? How?
RK Narayan. The simplicity of prose made his writings very approachable. But that simplicity was a mask for the profundity that lay beneath. A mere thousand words were enough for him to pack a punch. He was a big influence on me as a kid. And Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. That man’s ability to squeeze out emotions from the reader is unmatched.
The book which is your all time bestseller and the book you believe should be adapted into a movie.
Bestseller would be Pather Panchali. Book to a movie would be none. Moving pictures tends to simplify stories; and that spoils the aura that the author has worked so hard to create.
Honourable mention goes to The First Time by Rudra Narayan
An intriguing tale. He spins a web of words about two boys who set out to fulfill a teenage desire. What is the desire though? That you will know only when you reach the end!
Definitely worth a read.
Read this riveting tale here.