Sunday, October 1, 2017




OPA How long have you been writing Poetry? We would like to know the early stories about your growing up as a poet or writer in general. Who are your favorite Poets? What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? Had they inspired you a lot, do you believe in inspiration as a guiding force behind writings at all?

TANNI BOSE: The first brainwave to write poetry was kindled in me in the early spring in 2011, when I noticed a small puppy; sleeping comfortably on the work station of my colleague in the resource room. It was indeed a marvelous sight to be acknowledged.  My unconscious mind delivered a small poem on this very sight even without my consciousness. That has given me the idea that I have a mission to contribute something to the cause of the society in which I live through this media. Hence I have started it as a serious business.

Though I was born and brought up in a conservative Indian family, my parents held a very open approach about the status of girls in the society and the importance of education. Two daughters in the family with no sons to inherit the family lineage was not at all an issue for my father, and he whole heartedly supported me in all my endeavours right from my kindergarten days. So I find my parents as my first and early inspiration to begin a journey of life the way I wanted to groom it. All through my school and college days I was versatile in extra-curricular and leadership activities. The strong support of my father has given me the strong foundation for the talents that groomed in me all these years.

If I speak about the growth of a poet in me; I am deeply indebted to my husband who constantly inspired me to achieve the impossible. He is my manager in my entire writing career. I too have a few intimate friends who really stood firm with me all these years as a literary critic and ardent support in this endeavour. The working environment in the institute where I worked those years was highly inspiring to begin a writing career. As an educationist; I found the students most inspiring to find suitable plots for many of my poems. The pristine environment of the Himalayan Kingdom Bhutan has indeed stirred me a lot.

My all time favourite poet is William Wordsworth; his poems are strong, marvelous and spectacular. His poems are lively and are immortal. As far as reading is concerned, I am very choosy about the books I read; however I read all sort of books. Novels, poems, travelogue, short stories, autobiographies; a few to name. The books on great personalities like Swami Vivekananda has really inspired me a lot. Inspiration is a spur for me but not the sole guiding force. However, I do believe in the inspiration that I gain from different sources.

OPA What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What was the biggest compliment? Did that change how or what you write?  What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?

TANNI BOSE: So far in my writing career I haven’t come across such severe negative criticism. However, I do have received a lot or positive feedbacks from many corners. One of the areas that I have received a lot of feedback was on the use of punctuation marks. I have also received a lot of support in refining the works in the initial years to improve more from the lenses of reader’s perspective from these feedbacks.

The dimension of the complements were from a number of quarters. I have cherished some of them very dearly. The complements that I received from Dr. Jamil Qualander from Pakistan who has already adopted me as his daughter is a great reward for me. I was really humbled when a Spanish magazine “Azhare” translated one of my poems into Spanish and published in one of their issues. These are truly inspiring and motivating. As I have mentioned earlier, an average Indian woman has to play multiple role to survive in their conservative society. So fighting all odds when I was able to achieve these complements from some of the eminent personalities of the world, I was really excited.

I am not sure if my writing style has changed or not. That has to be assessed through the viewpoint of the readers. Nevertheless, I have always tried my level best to live up to the expectation of my readers. One of my aspirations is to complete a novel by the end of this year.

I was baffled when a reader asked me about my intense passion to write more poems on death. I am an independent soul and am not afraid of death. It is true that most people are scared of death. My only aspiration is to see my son grow old enough to sustain himself. It is true that I like to write more on death because only death is permanent.

OPA What is your favorite poem you have ever written? Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?

What a funny word!
Feels cavernous but cramped,
Why? I reflect,
The answer I get
When I observe a puppy,
Answering my disbelief
Resting on a cozy transitory bed
“Learn from me”, it says
Learn that reliance pays.

From my first book.  I love this poem as my first child and it has made me a writer, rather a poetess. It has always told me to “Learn from me” since “Reliance pays”. I trusted in my ability to write since then. Every time I reflect on my writings, I recall that small puppy. That is why we always cherish our childhood when we were free, fearless, brave, and plucky. As grownups we have many limitations; created by family, society, country, community etc.

As per my readers and critics, my poems have improved and matured over the years, but I can’t specify any change in my writing style. I started writing as a casual time pass; but it turned out to be my passion very soon. I don’t plan to write a poem but it normally happens to come out automatically. Strong emotions are more suitable plots for writing anything. I have written many poems on a variety of social issues as well.

OPA What has been your favorite part of being a poet or and author? What has been your least favorite?

TANNI BOSE: Everybody likes to be in the limelight; be it in writing, politics, career or family life. Writing has given me opportunity to attend many international literary festivals. This has provided me ample opportunity to meet and interact with very eminent personalities of the world. It has also provided me a number of friends from all over the world. I can never forget the hospitality of the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur Palace in my life.

I hate flattery and avoid people who praise me meaninglessly. I am a person who is down to earth and avoid the vanity that surrounds celebrities. A warm hug or a genuine appreciation is most welcome for me. I hate people making hollow promises that cannot be fulfilled. India is a rich country where everyone should get equal opportunities. I am totally against violence against women and religious discrimination.  

OPA Did you get to quit your day job and become a writer and/or author, or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?

TANNI BOSE: Teaching is my first passion and I love my students. I became a teacher by choice and enjoy it from the core of my heart. So I have never considered quitting my job to pursue a writing career. I know it very well that the two are full time occupations; as of now I have no plans to quit my career to become a full time writer. I have a full time job as an educationist at an International School. I started writing for fun but at the moment it is a serious passion for me. I would like to concentrate more on my writing career if situation permits me; however, I do have family commitments.

OPA Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do? What genre are you most looking forward to explore during your writing career? Why?

TANNI BOSE: I love listening to good music. Interior decoration is another area that I love to do during my free time. I have a very strong obsession for pet dogs. During my school and college days I was a good athlete and I could even represent my state Odizha in the Nationals in 1992, in Athletic Meet. I have a natural instinct for counseling children, and am confident that if opportunity comes; I would like to join politics. I feel India needs a lot of upright personalities for shouldering the leadership role in politics; particularly the participation of women in politics is too meager.

I feel proud to see that many women have come forward in recent years to take up leading roles in politics in India and they are doing very well. I really salute them. 

As of now, I have concentrated writing poetry; but my ambition is to write novels. At present I am working on a novel and is expected to complete it as soon as possible. I feel that writing poetry is the highest form of literature, which is read by a few. Novels are mass media for writers. Through novels a writer can reach the masses and it also gives platform for participating more actively in the literary circle.

OPA: Do you think literature or poetry is essential in our life? If so why? How does it relate to the general history of mankind?

TANNI BOSE: Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. If feelings are not expressed openly, humanity will become doomed and de-motivated. History is written through all forms of literature works. Hence poetry as a form of literature has a major role to play in every society. Life becomes meaningless without a rhythm. Poems have become immortal mainly because of its aesthetic beauty and rhythm. If literature or poetry is removed from life we will become mere skeletons. Literature is the flesh and soft skin that gives beauty to human life.

History in general was written by winners. So it was written as per the whims and fancies of them. However, human history through literature writings are straight and plain; it reveals more truths and facts. That is why it is essential to have more poems and novels on contemporary issues. These works will become history in the future. I am confident that our writers are bold, upright and straight forward to focus their pen on any issues that occur in our society.

OPA Our readers would like to know your own personal experience regarding the importance of literature and poetry in your life.

TANNI BOSE: From time immemorial, people were curious to know all about the world and the happenings in the world. Languages must have developed to fulfill this desire. Earlier it was vocal interaction between people; however, in course of time written scripts started to develop in different parts of the world. Hence, literature is very important for communication. Without literature, the world would have been doomed as an isolated location. Personally I feel that literature has in fact given rise to all the civilizations of the world, be it ancient or the modern ones.

Language is a form of mobility; literature is the vehicle for language to travel. If we analyze the history of the world, we will come across a number of ballads which has handed down the valiant stories of the heroes to the present day people in the form of poetry. Poetry is a strong medium in literature which can express ideas much more powerful than other forms of writing.

I have focused my attention to a number of social issues through poetry, apart from praising the nature and all that is available in the nature. Hence, for me poetry is the heart of literature.

OPA Do you think people in general bother about literature in general?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

TANNI BOSE: As a matter of fact, everyone cries about the influence of visual media and modern gadgets as a cause of deteriorating standard of language and literature. But in my opinion, the modern forms of media have in fact accelerated the pace of development in literature. I strongly believe that people are very concerned about literature these days. The number of participants that attend the literary festivals, the quality of presentations they make and the enthusiasm at which they organize these festivals all underline the fact that people really bother about literature.

Consumerism has overtaken the society as a windfall. But common man is still aware about the importance of literature and all aspects related to literature. Now it has become easier to communicate through modern media of communication. Therefore, any development that takes place in the word of literature is easily available to all the general public instantly. I also believe that consumerism has given opportunity for many budding writers to explore the vast possibilities of the literature by publishing their works online.

Average man is always concerned about the day-to-day happenings of the world in general and other areas in particular. With modern education penetrating every nook and corner of the world, serious literature has a better scope than in the past.

OPA If humanity tries to understand tradition and modernism; do you think literature can play a pivotal role in obtaining understanding?  If so, how? Again, how can an individual writer relate himself or herself with the tradition and modernism?

TANNI BOSE: Tradition is a culture inherited; whereas modernism is instilled in the system by itself. Hence, tradition and modernism are not two water tight compartments; rather they are the two sides of the same coin. We cannot have a coin with a single face. Modernism is important in the fast developing world. It is the age of digitalization and cash less society.

So I strongly believe that literature should play a pivotal role in enhancing strong bond between tradition and modernism. While doing so the only caution required is to control fanatics. Bhutan as an independent sovereign kingdom has shown to the world a different developmental philosophy – the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. (GNH) In that country they have harmoniously tailor made the modern concepts of life without losing the rich cultural traditions of the country.

In my writings, I have often tried to bring harmony among the communities and to make links with tradition and modernism. Young generation; be it in the past or in the modern age are molded through right education. What we have lost could have happened because of the selfish motives of a handful of individuals. However, the general beliefs and faiths haven’t changed much even with the influx of all the modern gadgets.

As an individual, we can contribute immensely to change the society. What we need is a strong will power. Transition has happened at all times in the history. People are always adaptable. It all depends on how we as writers present the ideas to the readers. In my opinion, I can connect tradition with modernism through writing medium. 

OPA Do you think society is a factor in shaping you as a poet, or your poetry altogether?

TANNI BOSE: We are social animals. All our words and deeds are shaped by the society. Nobody is a born criminal. It is the surroundings and the situation that has created many drunkards and addicts in the world.

I strongly believe that it was the society that I lived in; kindled the light in me to write. I got a lot of positive energy and progressive thoughts from the friends I interacted with and the society I lived in. many of my poems reflect a strong influence of my society.

As a matter of fact; if I am given another chance to be reborn on this earth, I would still prefer my present parents, family, friends and the society in which I lived. Our lives are closely linked to many other souls whom we come in contact with.

OPA We would like to know about any influences that has inspired your poetry and writings.

TANNI BOSE: The pristine environment, the lovely people, the good natured pet animals that I encountered and the warm friendship of my close friends were all factors that have inspired me to begin a career in writing. I am not ignoring the fact that poetry was in me; but I believe that it got kindled mainly because of the influences of the above mentioned situation and people.

Nature is a miracle in itself. It has a lot of treasure still to be explored. Poetry is a vast ocean which has no boundaries. I feel I as an infant who is touching a few drops of it from the shore.

Sometime earlier I have mentioned about death as a favourite topic for my writing because I have experienced the real pain and tenderness of death several times. It has really inspired me to write about it. Another all time favourite topic is love. Without a compassionate heart and a passionate temperament, I don’t think I would have written so many poems.

OPA We would also like to know; how do you relate the present literary trends with the literary heritage of your country? 

TANNI BOSE: India is an ancient country which was the cradle of many early civilizations. The Sages and Hermits who lived in this country had immensely contributed to the Indian literature in the form of mythology, anthropology, medicine, ballads, and so on. The famous epics  “Ramanaya” and “Mahabharata” written my Sage Valmiki are very good examples of the literary heritage of India. Veda Vyasa, Kalidasa, are all famous in their own ways to contribute to the world of literature in their times. India had numerous kings in the past who were the patrons of art and literature.

Therefore, we had a very easy transition from ancient literature to modern literature without losing any link.

OPA Do you believe that all writers are the product of their nationality? Is it an incentive or an obstacle in becoming an international writer?

TANNI BOSE: Literature has no nationality. It is omnipresent. What influence the writers are the immediate surroundings and the basic structure of the society. Writers are born in every society, and in any nationality. Hence they are not mere product of any nationality. As an Indian I have never felt any hindrance to become an international writer. India has wholeheartedly embraced many international languages; and English is one among them.

OPA What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?

TANNI BOSE: Compassionate, outgoing, fearless, extrovert, bold, enthusiastic and kindhearted.

OPA   Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?

YOUR NAME: Basic problems in the society are not inborn. It is created by a few unscrupulous opportunists for their vested interest. Our society needs to come out of the clutches of these opportunists to refine themselves. People in India are talented, and India is a rich country with abundant resources. It is the prime responsibility of every citizens of a country to contribute positively for the intellectual development of the masses. Only an educated community can refine the society. I would like to urge all the citizens of the world to fight the scrooge of illiteracy with all their might. I would like to encourage all our youths to hold their heads high all the times. We need to save our younger generation from the clutches of consumerism and bring more spiritually in them.

And lastly I would like to urge all men to respect ant protect the women. They are the mothers, sisters and daughters of the society. Crime against the women is a crime against humanity.

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. 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 “Taj Mahal 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   At Delhi in 2016 February ,and  Jaipur in October 2016  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 published by Authors Press. Her upcoming novel and poetry book is ready to publish.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.

The editorial staff of this project: Stacia Lynn Reynolds and Deborah Brooks Langford; sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support. 


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