Bureaucrat Rashmi Kamal releases her debut novel, The Philanderer
Dr Rashmi Kamal, Executive Director, West Bengal industrial development corporation, recently released her first work of fiction, The Philanderer, at the Oxford Bookstore, Park Street. Eminent painter Jogen Chowdhary and Chairman of Poetry Academy, Subodh Sarkar, graced the occasion with their presence and engaged in a brief discussion over the topic of the book. The talk session was moderated by Sufia Khatoon.
Kamal’s debut novel centres around the story of Reva, a medical student from Patna, who has high aspirations but loses track of her life goals amidst emotional turmoil caused by an unhappy relationship. The rest of the narrative focuses on Reva’s journey, through various tumultuous relationships, she enters into, seeking solace from the betrayal she faced at Neil’s hands.
While the novel follows Reva’s trajectory, it also engages in reliving comic incidents from Patna Medical College, an institution Kamal herself visited. “The story starts from the medical college in Patna and ends in Kolkata, which is my workplace. I have tried to capture the details, as much as possible, keeping the sights and sounds of the place intact. But the incidents are partly true and partly dramatised,” suggests Kamal.
Kamal has tried to etch out characters, much in the likeness of those, whom she had seen and observed during her college days. Although the work is a result of her last few years, literature is something which she was always very passionate about. “I always wanted to be a writer, as I liked expressing my feelings through words. Ever since I was a child, I used to write small poems and I was looking for a subject for my debut novel, for a very long time,” smiles Kamal, who especially likes reading Gulzar’s poetry and Salman Rushdie’s novels.
“I used to work on the novel after my office hours and sometimes I stayed up the entire night to write a couple of pages,” she reveals. “But I did not feel any fatigue or tiredness. Instead, I found it similar to meditation,” she is quick to add.
The book also has descriptions of Kolkata, as seen in contemporary times. Kamal herself hails from Bhagalpur, and has given a description of Kolkata, from a starnger’s point of view who has grown to love the city. “Despite all the drawbacks which you might see here, Kolkata is still a very vibrant city and it has a soul. It is my second home now and I have described it in a majestic way,” informs Kamal, who has already started working on her new book, which is based on the story of a ghostwriter, in the backdrop of a political romance.