About Biswajit Banerji:
Biswajit is a prolific humorist and author of hundreds of bestsellers – all in his dreams. In reality, Happimess is his debut book.
His satirical ramblings, poetry and travel – writing have been published accidentally in several literary journals, periodicals and websites. For a living, he serves in a senior position in a leading public sector steel unit.
Kindly brief us about your debut book.
In a nutshell, my book HAPPIMESS humorously explores the extraordinary in the ordinary. The stories in the book revolve around ordinary happenings that you and I face everyday in our lives. What makes the stories unique is the manner in which the characters get caught-up in messy situations. When they frantically try to get out, things become more messy and extraordinarily complicated. The fun lies in the comical twists and turns and the hilarious way the situations are handled.
The book introduction is a short-story in itself and interestingly explains the concept of the work. To keep things relatable, I have picked up the subjects from our daily life – faulty home-appliances, how office colleagues take advantage of their strange diseases, nosy insurance agents, the practice of haggling, risk-taking, irritating neighbours, a farewell speech gone wrong and the like.
The humour in the stories can definitely make the readers chuckle, giggle and laugh out loud. While as a subtle satire, the book constantly pokes fun at individual and social peculiarities and delivers larger social messages.
How did “Happimess” happen? Could you describe the journey?
For someone who has an engineering background and works in the steel industry, writing quality humour and satire has been a big ask. I would say my steady love for the humour genre has seen me through really. I have been writing humour, both in English as well as Hindi for quite some time. Several of my pieces got published in popular Hindi magazines like Kadambini, Sarita and Navneet as well. In this course, one of my english pieces got published in a selected short-humour anthology brought out by a popular UK website. This actually sowed in my mind the idea of writing a book-length humour collection. I’m happy that the book, along with its catchy cover, has come out really well and feels excellent in the hands, courtesy “The Book Bakers”, the dynamic Literary Agency my and Publisher, Locksley Hall.
The title is indeed catchy and mysterious. What is Happimess according to you?
I am pleased that you like the punny title. It is peppy, one that conveys the overall funny essence of the book. HAPPIMESS is nothing but the relief and grudging happiness one feels after successfully slipping out of a terribly messy situation. The stories in the book narrate situations where the characters slide from one irritating mess to another, finally getting out only by some smart thinking or stroke of luck. So the title of the book symbolically captures the dilemmas the stories narrate and the comic response of the protagonists.
How much research and efforts were required on your part to complete this book.
This is a short book but a lot of thought has gone into it. This is an age of mostly shallow humour that does not really set you thinking. We can feel it when we come across the kind of jokes and memes that hit us everyday on social media platforms. I did not want my book to be another book of well-written jokes. So my effort went mainly into carefully insulating my writing subject and style from the present trend and dishing out what could be termed as good and clean humour. I have been successful to an extent so that several reviewers have written how they have read out the book-episodes to their families and laughed out loud together.
The tone of the language used in the book also deserves a mention here. After careful thought, I chose one that is mockingly serious and hides well the most comic, flippant and absurd premises in the book.
Which writers inspire you most?
The list of authors I admire is rather long. But still if I am to name a few, I’d pick P G Wodehouse, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Hemingway and William Golding – all masters of their trade. I am also a great fan of Hindi satirists like Harishankar Parsai and Sharad Joshi for their delightful wit and sharp observations on social issues.
How would you like to inspire the creative people wishing to make their career in the field of literature?
Frankly speaking, to think of making a career in literature ought to be a long shot. Chetan and Amish are glorious exceptions rather than rules. If you do have a creative bent and a genuine knack for writing, take a plunge. Keep checking for feedback by submitting your writing to relevant forums. But always remember to have an alternate support system to fall back on, a day-job for instance. Don’t write if you are not damn serious about your craft. Write for the love of it and with passion. If the writing demands research, do it as thoroughly as you can. If it requires imagination, imagine hard with all the creativity you have and try to bring absolutely unique things to the table. If you feel low, remind yourself that you are not the first writer on the planet and most others have passed through where you are today. And please do read a lot because what suddenly strikes us as something unique and groundbreaking may be an old and stale idea after all.