27 October, 2020

Room For Words

His working day—his surroundings, his routine, the conditions that allow him to write

Sandipan Chatterjee
Room For Words
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Here, the novelist Amit Chaudhuri describes his working day—his surroundings, his routine, the conditions that allow him to write. His first major work of non-fiction, Calcutta: Two Years in the City, will be published by Penguin next year.

I write in a red spiral-bound student’s notebook that I got used to when I was in Oxford; I always have back-up supplies of these. I wrote my first two novels in Indian account registers, then switched to the notebooks, and now have a sense of how many hundred words they accommodate to the page. I still use cheap English biros. As I type with one finger, I won’t approach a computer until I’m laboriously typing out the final draft and revising it as I do so. A regime is imposed on my day—not by writing, but music; the latter is like a sport, in that you can neither be a musician nor a sportsman without rigorous practice. Morning and early afternoon are spent doing riyaaz; the rest of the day is given to writing. In the evenings, I must watch hbo or dine...

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