Please introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m Pankaj Giri. I hail from Gangtok, Sikkim. I studied in Tashi Namgyal Academy, Gangtok till 12th standard. After that I pursued Computer Engineering in MVJ College of Engineering, Bangalore. My school days came and went without notice as I was a very quiet, introverted guy. But in college I opened up a bit with friends, and I still remember the minor escapades which I was a part of. Some of which are even documented in my debut book, Friendship Love and Killer Escapades (FLAKE). After college I landed a decent job in Perot Systems which has now been taken over by Dell. I changed a couple of software companies and was well settled in Bangalore until my father’s untimely demise turned my life upside down.
I had never, even in my dreams, thought of becoming an author. Although I had penned an article or two in my school magazine, I had lost touch with writing since then. A software engineer needs momentary pastimes to protect themselves from burnout. I found mine in satire articles in Cricinfo website. The doses of laughter used to soothe me like a balm in challenging times. Then one day, out of the blue, I thought of creating a blog. I wrote a couple of articles on Fictional Cricket – describing a match between fictional teams created from a list of my favourite cricketers. Some of my Facebook friends liked it and appreciated my writing.
Then, based on the reference of my friend Naman, I got an opportunity to write for popular cricket website HoldingWilley.com. I tried to emulate the satire articles I had grown fond of in Cricinfo and probably did a decent job. One day I got a call from Apoorv, one of my closest friends, asking me if I wanted to write a book loosely based on some of our campus escapades. He said he had read few of my satire articles and said my writing skills were good enough to write a novel. I ignored his suggestion as a book was something beyond my vision at that moment. A year later, when I was at the lowest phase of my life, he reiterated his offer. Hesitantly, I began writing, Apoorv helping me with ideas pertaining to the plotting and characterization, and soon I found myself drowning in the ocean of fascination. The rest, as you know, is history.
What challenges did you face in your life? How did you overcome?
I faced some minor challenges in all phases of my life. First, in college, I had to face the unwanted company of an obnoxious roommate. In corporate life, it was an evil, unreasonable boss. The first challenge was difficult, but I think God had gifted me with a huge reservoir of patience at that time, so I waited patiently, and circumstances transpired in such a way that I happened to move away from him soon. The second challenge with the boss was even more painful. I did succumb to my emotions more than once and even suffered from physical and mental illnesses. But I learnt from my experience… that you shouldn’t bottle up your emotions and pain. You should express them, without caring about the consequences, as it flushes them out of your system and prevents serious health issues.
Finally, my father’s unexpected demise was the biggest shock of all. We were distraught as the pillar of support of my family had been uprooted mercilessly by the hands of Fate. I say Fate instead of God because I taught myself a philosophy at that time. Rather than blaming the Almighty for bad happenings or failures in life, it’s better to blame Fate instead. And when you achieve success and good things happen you should express your gratitude to God. Since my mother would be alone in Gangtok, me and my sister (who was undergoing software training in I-Gate Pune), decided to relocate to Gangtok. I joined a government job whereas my sister got admitted to a private company. Both our current jobs are inferior compared to the marvelous career that was in store for us in Bangalore. But, slowly but surely, we adjusted to life in our hometown. I immersed myself in writing FLAKE and, coincidentally, my government job became a blessing in disguise as I could devote more time to writing. And I also got married to my wonderful wife a couple of years after the disastrous incident. Now, as I’m writing my second book, the future looks brighter.
So, I think any person should always hang on to the loose thread of hope Life provides at every dark phase. Time heals the pain and helps us forget even the most depressing events in our lives. I’m still young and have a lot to learn in Life. The subsequent dark phase, which hopefully doesn’t come soon, might affect me in almost the same way like the previous ones did. It’s always easy to advice others, but when darkness falls on you, it sweeps you along with its wave of agony. But still, I have realized that we should always try to find the hidden ray of hope, divert our minds from negative thoughts, have faith in Time, and just cling on to Life. And keep searching for things which make you happy (music, movies, hobbies) as they will really help you cross the dark phase. Life is never perfect, but keep on flowing with the stream of Life it as that’s what we have come here to do.
What are your future plans?
FLAKE was written from my heart. Neither I had read good novels, apart from Chetan Bhagat and few other Indian commercial authors, nor I had nurtured my writing skills properly. And I happened to be misguided by reading a certain book which was loaded with flowery words. Thereafter, I committed a huge blunder of sprinkling my narrative with big words in the false impression that publishers would be impressed by them. But it was not to be. And, due to the ever growing itch of getting published and the frustration arising from multiple rejections, I happened to opt for a small publisher. Although I still thank the publisher for helping me step into the literary industry, the distribution and promotion was almost non-existent, which pushed me down the cliff of disappointment. Also, I received some harsh reviews for FLAKE which helped shed light on the glaring deficiencies in my writing.
Anyway, I have learnt from my mistakes now. I have proceeded to read classic books by literary writers and have gained a lot of knowledge about language, narration, dialogues, and general writing skills. Now, I’m halfway through my second novel which is a solitary endeavor. This time I’ll take no chances and will edit it comprehensively (by maybe even hiring an editor) before submitting it to publishers/agents.
I have developed a raging desire to be published by one of the top notch publishers so that I don’t have to bug people for reading my book like I had to do for FLAKE. Hopefully it transpires, fingers crossed.
If you would like, you can share your feedback about VID.
“I think it’s a great initiative that you have started, and I’m glad to be to contribute to your website. These stories give hope to people, which is a necessity in these times riddled with negativity. I enjoyed answering your simple yet deep questions. Thank you.”
Thank you for sharing your story, VID Team wishes you all the very best for your bright future.