Interview : Tatjana Debeljački vs. Tanni Bose ( India ), December 2016
Can you tell us something about your home town and growing up?
I was born and brought up in the Steel City of Rourkala, Odizha, since my father worked as an engineer at SAIL. My parents hail from Kolkata, West Bengal. I am married to the Panda family in Odizha. So basically I am multi-cultured. My bringing up was in the SAIL colony which had influenced my nature, talents and dealings. I have a broader outlook about life and am very positive about life; I read a lot and like travelling. I have a passion for pet animals, especially dogs. Athletics was my extracurricular interest in the school and college days and I could represent Odizha state in the National level Athletics.
I had a clear vision about my life from my early childhood. I was very vocal, extrovert and outgoing from my kindergarten days. I was very keen in participating in any school activities, be it literary or extracurricular. I was a natural competitor and had an inclination to become a leader from my high school onwards. Being the elder sibling where my father has only two daughters, I was his smart ‘boy’ who was the mover of the family. However, I never felt any limitation as a girl child. My parents were very supportive and open to my interests and always stood by my side to grow independently. I have many relatives and good friends who helped me throughout my life to achieve all my laurels.
Growing up in a conservative Bengalee family would not have been this productive, had it not been for the iron will of my parents and the wise guidance of my grandma. My grandma was a well-educated person who had meticulously brought up all her children by providing them quality education. My father inherited all that virtues from her. Though my mother belongs to a very orthodox family, she was very supportive to all our needs when it mattered modern education. It was very easy for me to grow with them.
When did you publish your first book and how did the success follow later?
My first book “Dawn and Dusk” was published in 2012. It is a collection of poems. Well life had taken several turns in my life. My upbringing was one. My marriage was another. I had no such plans for marriage, but it took me to a non-Bengalee family. The next twist happened when my husband got appointment as a Maths teacher in Bhutan. Hence I followed him only to become an English teacher under the Ministry of Education of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The intuition to write began quite accidently when I saw a puppy sleeping comfortably in the work station of my colleague. That was a real turning point in my life and career. Bhutan has enriched me immensely and I began enjoying writing poetry and realized that I was actually in romance with words. Hence the birth of Dawn and Dusk. Since then I could publish two more poetry books apart from publishing a number of works in national and International levels. One of my poems from the first book is translated into Spanish and is published in a Spanish magazine, Azahar.
In fact writing was not choice of interest in the beginning. Like any other student, I used to write in college magazines and other periodicals of the educational institutions. However, my engagement with Bhutan Education system has turned everything upside down. Bhutan is an enchanting country and the ‘Happy People’ of Bhutan motivated the author in me. If it was not for Bhutan, I don’t think I would have taken writing this serious. The captivating beauty of Bhutan has helped me immensely to write most of my early poems. The places are tranquil and has the unique picturesque beauty, which is already lost by many parts of the world.
So basically, I owe a lot to Bhutan for my success.
The true purpose of art is to uplift humankind, inspire reverence and mortality, and instill in people’s hearts a true sense of beauty?
Nature in its pure form is poetry and all that makes nature complete. Poetry is a form of literature that can support humanity. I have used this form of literature as an art to paint nature in its full beauty. I was also able to use poems to inspire the youth, fight terrorism, show case the rich culture of the nation and point my figures at much injustice in the world. Poetry is a spontaneous flow of feelings hence it is immortal and possesses strong power to fight mortality. As per mythology, God created the beautiful earth before creating man. So man resides in this beautiful nature to savour the true essence of the natural environment and all its associates.
Through the poetry medium, I have tried my level best to glorify the beauty of nature and all the essence of its vivid culture.
Writing poetry with specific philosophy behind it and romantic, amorous feelings or existence?
Though I am a very jovial and easy going person, I like writing poems on varied topics. Pain in life gives pleasure more meaning and depth. Life is full of ups and downs, however fluctuations in life happens because of intense competition that gives rise to difference in opinion, contrast in the way of thinking and inner feelings of mind.
I don’t plan any topic, nor do any preparations for the writings. What comes in my mind, I just start to jot down. I used to pass it to some of my good friends, who used to give me a lot of positive criticism and encouragement.
As the writing progressed, I started getting lots of plots from around the world. Slowly I realized how powerful is this medium to do a lot for the good of the world. I am trying it in my humble way.
Life has taught me a lot of lessons. It is a basket of assortments. It has sweet nectar, harmful ingredients and deadly poison. But if carefully handled, we need all these to have a real life. I am not choosy in selecting any particular topic. But basically I like romance.
Stories that create compositions full of sensuality, sometimes disturbing but always full of charm have the feelings of pain and pleasure?
All my writing works are focused on some specific issues. I have strong conviction about love and romance. Death is one of my favourite topics because only death is real and sure. It is the permanent disappearance of life and all its traces from this world. At least that is my philosophy of life.
Through my poems, I have tried to focus a lot of contemporary issues. I strongly believe that this medium is powerful enough to fight a lot against many injustice in the communities.
So basically, I don’t write to hurt anyone, but I try my level best to help as many people as can be who are in distress.
Contemplation on consciousness of life?
I am well aware of life. If I contemplate, I have very strong conviction about life and all the essentials of it. I am deeply moved about the possibility of looking at life in a different perspective. If we are too much preoccupied, we ignore many things in life. I let loose my mind to contemplate on anything that comes across my area of interest. This eventually gives rise to imagination, which often comes out as my poems. I am deeply indebted to all my readers who have encouraged me enough to grow positively. So far I have no regrets. I am not scared of taking risk.
What can you tell us about your work, prizes, journeys and friendships?
For me work is worship. I adore my profession. My students are my assets. They motivate me to perform better. So their achievements are my rewards and awards. When they flourish in life I get contented. I am fortunate to have lots of good friends. Travelling was always a pleasure and passion for me. I know that I am a novice in writing and haven’t made any such laurels in life as awards. However, I was very fortunate to have represented Bhutan as an official delegate in several international literary festivals. I am so happy to know that my works are already translated to Spanish and was published in Spain. It gives me immense pleasure to see my works regularly appearing in many national and international forums. Recently I was appointed as the country director of World Institute of Peace, India Branch.
Recently I am honoured with “Member of the Higher Commission of the World Parliament of Literature”(SLING).
More than the laurels, I am truly honoured by the great acceptance I received from my readers. The Spanish translation is a treasure.
Sufi Festival at Jaipur and Poetic Prism 2016 at Vijayawada were truly enriching. I enjoyed a lot being a part of all this mega events.
Do you think you have outwitted the expectations?
I don’t have great expectations about life. I would like to face life as it comes. Hence there is no question about outwitting any expectation. Life is lived only once so I don’t make calculations about future though I plan for short and long term goals. If I can achieve my targets I contemplate. If not I review it and restructure if all over. I was deeply involved in athletics during school/college days, and my friends expected me to be in sports and games. But destiny had a different view over me. I reached the enchanting Bhutan, where I was a dutiful teacher, a family lady for my little son and a good home maker, till I fell in love with poetry. Nothing was preplanned. It happened as a smooth flow, maybe a river can be dammed for a certain period. But ultimately it overflows or bursts. Hence I have no calculations about being smart or over active.
How do you manage all that with so much work that you do? Do you have time for yourself? What inspires you ?
Hope is my inspiration. I do what I am doing with a lot of enthusiasm. I just enjoy what I do. With so much work I still find time for friends and my family, and for entertainment. I like reading and I listen to music and watch good movies. I also enjoy talking with likeminded people. I have never felt that I have a dearth of time. It is often challenging to manage so many things at a go. I am qualified to take examination for Cambridge, which I have done twice this year.
What are your plans for the future creative work?
As of now, I wish to complete my novel. My next poetry collection would be ready for publication in another two months. I have invitations to a few interesting literary festivals. I have to work closely with Pentasi B as a country director. But above all I have to concentrate on my career. I have assignments with Cambridge as their certified examiner.
My immediate interest is to complete my novel. I am getting ready with my fourth poem collection for publication. I have to attend to the literary programmes in my school as well. I am committed to enact one or two plays of Shakespeare in my school annual literary festival. I am also looking for a good publisher for my novel.
Tanni Bose career in a few years?
A lot of great personalities have inspired me through their words of wisdom. I have many dreams for future but I don’t wish to live in dreams. At present I have to inspire my students to perform well not only in studies but also in life. I have to get my son Siddhant to cross over his crucial juncture of his choice of life. I would also like to get settled somewhere in Delhi. I have plans to take a management degree to steer a school as its head. I wish to attend a few Cambridge assignments in the North East. In the meantime, I would like to have a few immersion programmes for my student s with a few schools in Bhutan. May be to foster Indio-Bhutan Friendship stronger. For me Bhutan is a soul mate. I wish my students learn first-hand experience about the philosophy of Gross National Happiness nurtured by the fourth king of Bhutan.
Is there anything that you could pinpoint and tell us about yourself between the dream and reality?
I have no plans to change my teaching career in recent future. However, I wish to take up some management posts in future I am confident that I can manage an institution as a principal. I would also like to join some more NGOs. More important at the moment is the future career of my son Siddhant as mentioned earlier. My husband would join me soon here at Delhi. I have commitments to my parents and parents-in-law. A few marriages in the family is in pipeline.
Further, I am learning driving, and is experiencing the intricacies of driving in Delhi. Doing something for the girls of India is also in my agenda. Though I haven’t got a good start-up, I wish to set-up an NGO for the less fortunate girls.
Have you achieved everything you have ever wanted to and if you could live your life again would you be an artist again?
What I have achieved in life is not pre planned. Though I had dreams to chaise I have never tried to run behind success. As I have mentioned earlier, I was a very good athlete in my school days. I still love games and sports. I don’t think I have achieved much in life. What I have done in life is only a tip of an iceberg. I still feel I have so much to move ahead. But if I am given another life, I wish to redo this life all over once again because this life has given me immense happiness and satisfaction. Whatever I have done was all my passion. So I have no worries. My novel should hit the stands by mid 2017 and the next poetry book somewhere in May.
Is there anything you would like to say that you think is important and that I haven’t asked you?
Present day world is filled with youth problems. Terrorism has become an everyday event. People have lost humanity. Through the writing medium the writers should try to focus and pinpoint these issues. Writers can do a lot to influence the youth. Our country needs many more Vivekanandas and Mahatmas. I don’t aspire a long life. But I wish to have a wonderful and worthy life. I wish to encourage our youth to give up drug abuse and terrorism. I want the men to respect the women. Our country has a rich cultural heritage.
It was a great pleasure talking to you and you are always welcome to our house “Diogen pro culture” magazine.
Mrs. Tanni Bose works as an educator in Aravali International School, Faridabad now. She was an English Teacher at Tendruk Higher Secondary School of the Royal Government of Bhutan hails from Kolkata, West Bengal. She was born and brought up in the steel city of Rourkela, since her father was a SAIL employee there.
Writing was always a passion for Mrs. Tanni. However, 2008 became a defining year in her life since she could publish a few of her works in the school magazine and made a self-discovery that she was indeed in romance with literature. It formally bloomed in 2012 when her first anthology “Dawn and Dusk” was published. Her readers, including critics confessed that a new breeze in poetry writing is here to blow to soothe and to ruffle too, of course. Her passion for reading and writing assured her a berth in the Writers Association of Bhutan and the Edu Talk where she thinks aloud to make the readers ponder, delight and at times wrinkle their brows. Her writing in facebook and her blog “A Grain of Faith” are being followed by many. Her articles in “Student Digest and Norzam Speaks” both publications in Bhutan are well taken by readers at large. She also contributes regularly in the international journal by Ciberwitnet.com “TajMahal Review”
She has represented Bhutan as an official delegate in the SAARC Literary festivals in Thimphu, Bhutan in 2013. She was a delegate in the FOSWAL Literary Festivals at Agra and Jaipur in 2015 and in Delhi in 2016 February as well.
“Floating Stones” is her second work of poems, ringing the inescapable paradox of existential pulls and pushes. The poetess here is swayed by multiple senses and sensibilities, reflected in these poems.
Her third Book “The Molested Clay” is also ready for printing.
Writing apart, Mrs. Bose loves reading, music and her students. Love given reciprocates. After all – books support her; music heals her aches and her students adore her. Life then becomes poetry to her.