…Ofcourse! Words Matter!
And here’s my next favourite, Atreyee Chakraborty who is a strong believer of “Pen is mightier than the sword”, an extreme “Foochkaa lover”, frugal, introvert, ailurophile and beholds an immense love for Poetries.
I remember precisely when I first met her in Bangalore. She was a content writer working in a startup. On asking about her education, I was quite surprised. She had pursued English as a Major in her college. In India, mostly I have come across friends, who have pursued literature out of the desire to become teacher but she dared to take up a difficult role and success followed throughout her journey.
Me: What worked as your inspiration during your childhood?
I remember how I used to get fascinated by nature during childhood. Watching sunrise with my grand-mom, feeding crows, rain, winter — all these natural phenomena kept me happy as a child. I was also inspired by stories that my mom used to tell me. I wasn’t a competitive type A personality. I have always enjoyed the slow-paced life where I could enjoy it with family and friends.
Me: Oh I truly miss those golden childhood days. I believe you have an inborn trait of being a story-teller. Is that when you felt your love for literature?
Yeah! I was probably 7/8 years old when I started reading story books. I used to lose myself in them. Being a sensitive and emotional child, the fantasies and fiction never failed to move me. I still get tears in my eyes when I read Selfish Giant. To a great extent, my mom worked as a catalyst when it comes to my love for literature. The way she used to narrate the stories was out of the world. Also, my mom was a writer. She used to write poems and recite them. I have probably inherited this.
Me: Aah! that reminds me of days when I used to visit Kolkata Book Fair with dad every year. Tell me is there any incident behind choosing the career of becoming a “content writer”?
Honestly speaking, I chose this profession out of my financial need. My father left his job when I was nine. And since then, my mom taught me the value of money. One day she gave me a Re.1/- coin and told me that every penny matters. And from then on, I never really wasted money. I always had this pressure that somehow, I had to find a job and look after my family. When my sister was born, this pressure got magnified.
At that time, the only profession I could choose without investing any money into the expensive professional courses was content writing. So, I became a content writer. Many people asked me why I chose content writing in spite of studying in a Bengali Medium school. It was a daring decision to take up English Literature when I was in college. No one supported me. But I listened to my gut and did it. Today, wherever I am, it’s because of the subject I chose.
Me: And I can gauge it was not a cake walk. Even in this patriarchal Indian society, girls like you always prove that even after having a simple background, we can do wonders if we have the zeal. You have already empowered your younger sister! Tell me how did you grab this opportunity since people find a scarcity in this domain?
Actually, the more you grow in one field, your opportunities will be bigger but lesser. I guess it applies to all other fields too. However, the remuneration of content writers is very low in India. Even though nothing can really work without a copy or content, we writers are paid a negligible amount. Since, there is no special skill that one needs to acquire to become a content writer, the number of writers is huge as compared to the job opportunities. Hence, yes, there is a scarcity of jobs in this field.
Me: I’m sure you have faced gender discrimination. We all do how hard we try to portray there doesn’t exist any. How did you handle it?
I have had issues with male bosses before. I always felt I couldn’t approach them as freely as a guy could. My friendliness was often misinterpreted by male colleagues for which I resorted to silence. As a result, I made very few friends at workplaces.
Me: Misconstruing a female’s friendliness is the most common problem prevailing everywhere. Tell me apart from your mother, what else contributed the most behind your success?
Although I do not really consider myself to be fully ‘successful’ as I am nowhere close to my goal. But my journey so far has been a learning experience. I never stopped trying. Even though I failed many times, got rejected, felt depressed, I kept trying.
Me: And that’s the mantra why you’re soaring high today! You know everyday I come across several students who don’t have the clarity of thoughts. They keep on shifting domains based on what is “hot” or “trending”, not if they hold any love for it. And in that way they can’t sustain longer. What will be your advice to them from your experiences?
This new generation is more fueled by instant gratification. They lack patience. They want success right now, and if they do not get it, they switch to something else. Maybe, this is the reason why, these days success do not last. To achieve a long-term success, one needs a lot of patience, dedication and perseverance which the current generation lacks immensely.
Another thing I would like to add is, do not blindly follow the trends. True that it is important to keep oneself updated, it is not absolutely necessary to do what every other person is doing. Do what you feel passionate about. Then work will not feel like work.
Me: After completing graduation, what roads can one choose if they study literature?
As soon as I completed graduation, I started preparing for competitive exams. But after 2–3 months of studying, I realized that it wasn’t my cup of tea. Although I never had a knack for writing, (even though I loved literature, I hated writing), I tried my luck. I went for an interview seeing an ad on the newspaper and cracked it. That’s how I got my first job. It was this constant pressure of earning to look after my family that pushed me into this career. I would suggest, if you really do not love, love, love writing, do not choose this profession.
There are other opportunities too for the students of literature. They can always go ahead for further studies, complete their Masters, B.Ed and become a teacher. Whereas others can try their hands into fiction or poetry writing and become a published writer. One can also choose UX writing which is a part of copywriting. So, yes, there are opportunities if you want to explore this field.
Me: That’s some cool advice! Folks check out her poetries here.