It’s Christmas Eve. The cheer is in the air. And we, at Bookhad, are having so much fun! (Yes, seriously, the book group is active with lots of incoherent jibber jabber.) So, to continue this series, we have a person who beautifies this world by both, being who he is and as a part of his job. By profession, he is an Industrial Designer playing with usability as an art. A designer who very generously sent the Bookhad admins a Christmas gift with the interview answers. So, we thank him at the outset, and present to you Utsav Das.
Reader Bio: Utsav is a person who is easily influenced; moreover, he is a person who can easily influence. He is a Bengali by birth, and having lived in Mumbai, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Trichy, he has acquired an innate sense of knowing and understanding people through their being–crossing the barriers of language, culture and religion. He says, “Life has been awfully quick and full of beautiful experiences; experiences through meeting beautiful people, experiences through reading and sharing.” Utsav used to be an avid reader until he was 17, after which, his focus shifted more towards sports and public speaking. But during that period, he says he indulged a lot in books which dealt with history, philosophy, and cultural relevance. He says that he hasn’t yet got back to the same groove of reading for 6 odd years now, but he relishes the times he would smile, laugh and tear up while unable to stop himself from turning pages.
Utsav, who/what inspired you to read?
My father. I never saw him read anything but a newspaper. And yet, almost once every month, he’d buy me a classic. I guess the first book he bought me was Great Expectations. A little too complex for a 5 year old, and yet, he kept stacking classics at home with the hope that I’d read them someday. And I did.
Second in line came Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That book’s gripping nature is what made me believe that books weren’t for leisure. It was about passion. It was indulgence of a great degree. I was 10. My friend’s uncle had sent it to him from London. Luckily, my friend hated reading. 🙂
If you had to write a travel diary about a city in India, which city would you choose?
Well, for me, a travel diary can be written about almost any city in India due to the unique vibrancy that exists in them. So, the deciding factor for me would be the amount of time I spent and how well I understood the layers of the city. That is why my answer would be Leh. Rich history leading to the days of the Silk Route, mixing of the Tibetan, Islamic and Hindu cultures in the daily lifestyle, the raw natural beauty still untouched by commercialism and the peace of mind I attain at those heights; make the city ideal for me to analyse, understand and express about.
According to you, should children be told fairy tales or you’d rather have them read more of “real-life” inspired prose?
Who said fairy tales weren’t real-life inspired? I remember someone telling me that most fairy tales we know today are euphemistic adaptations of the stories told in the Bavarian-German folklore inspired by real-life Barbarian Tribe narrations.
And I firmly believe that a person cannot write about what he has not already seen. The write up is always a beautiful blend and mix of small little real elements that finally constitute imagination. Why should any child be kept away from learning how to imagine?
What are you currently reading?
My resolution for this year was that I would read again. Like before. It has been the same resolution for the past two years. I always start a book, I get disappointed, and I don’t continue. So I decided I would be reading comics again to develop my patience with safer options. 🙂 Currently, I’m reading Ravanayan – the 7 book comic series which is about Ravan’s perspective to the saga. Doesn’t make him the hero, just a play of choices.
The last book I read was The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakurni.
Which, according to you, is:
Best book you’ve read this year:
Please refer to my failed resolution.
Worst book you’ve read this year:
My attempt at Inferno.
Book that you resolved to read this year, but did not:
To Kill a Mockingbird
Most overrated writer:
Chetan “Bhaisaab” Bhagat
Most underrated writer:
I love all writers, except “Bhaisaab”. But I think it would be Martin Amis.
Best book-movie adaptation:
The Kite Runner
Worst book-movie adaptation:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Voldemort’s face made me laugh. The book gave me a dark feel.
Suppose you had to set a password to the common room of your house in Hogwarts, what would the password be?
Voldemort. It was time the students of my house would get over their fear of saying a stupid anagram out loud. 🙂
“Who is bald and out of his head
A bunch of loonies he led
Wears a dirty black gown
Sports a snake like a circus clown
He might as well be dead
Kill him 7 times and you’ll learn from us
He is a wuss who’d die with an Expelliarmus
Taking his name you shouldn’t fear
‘Cause none of your scars would sear
Say it aloud with the heart at your center
Or you won’t be allowed to enter.”
If you were a poem, what verse would you be?
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And -which is more -you’ll be a Man my son!
– Rudyard Kipling
What genre is your personal story and which actor would play it?
My personal story belongs to the genre of Philosophical Science Non-Fiction. (Movies like Mr. Nobody, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Inception might be close, but not as good.) Matthew Perry would play my character.
Give one word/phrase for:
- Djinns: Spirits
- Fight Club: Male-breasts
- Paulo Coelho: Influencer
- Travel Writing: Moleskin
- Short Stories: O’Henry
- Romeo and Juliet: Void
- Bookshelves: Five
- Smell of old books: Engineering
- Bookhad: Startup
A quote that you would like to part with…
I believe death is only a door. When it closes, another opens. If I cared to imagine a heaven, I would imagine a door opening and behind it, I would find him there. – Sonmi451
If you want to read more from and of Utsav, he occasionally blogs at Daskaput. Do let us know in the comments what you think, and watch this space for some more interviews.