(The Pratibha Ray Foundation Trust has instituted the First Akshaya Chandra Ray Memorial Award in memory of eminent engineer Late Akshaya Chandra Ray, the founder of renowned publishing House Adya Prakashani, Bhubaneswar)
On behalf of Odisha News-Times, Ashok Palit interviewed Swagatika Swain to know about her feelings and journey in the field of literature
Congratulations! You are the recipient of the “First Akshaya Chandra Ray Memorial Award” ( instituted by the Pratibha Ray Foundation Trust )for your Odia novel “Drohakala”. Tell us about this experience.
It is a life-changing experience, a glorifying milestone in my literary journey. When you get a recognition from the laureate of Indian literature, Gyanpitha awardee Dr. Pratibha Ray, it says the rest. Life has become pompous and my pen too.
When and how did you start writing?
From a very early age, I had an opportunity to read many storybooks. Libraries of all the educational institutions, I have studied in were my favorite attractions. Besides I was blessed with a childhood of freedom at my “Mamu ghara” at Cuttack; unparalleled love, passionate care sans any restrictions and prohibitions, with an opportunity to navigate among nature and people. I guess these were the fundamental reasons shaping my writings later.
Which among your writings is your best creation and why?
Well, that is an irony, I would say. All the novels and stories I have written, I felt were the best only while they have been written and published. But later I rather feel they are not. So I think time has the best answer here. Let’s see what comes out of a prolonged readership over the coming years.
Which are the themes you focus on in your writings?
. Tales of the untold, about the soiled feet standing beyond the last doorstep. And of course about the serene nature and bliss all around.
What are your favorite passions outside of literature?
Singing.. . Spending hours in Starlite, trying songs recorded over there. And yes… listening to Jagjit Singh all the time alone.
What is the most important aspect of your award-winning novel “Drohakala” that you cherish?
In “DROHAKALA “ I have tried to carve the story of a girl, the unending grief she grapples with shake due to the shackles of tradition and the prevailing captive feudalism. It is the saga of her endeavor to protest against it. It reveals her simple belief in the public systems and administration for help and its failure. However, the important aspect of the novel I would cherish is the solitary, fearless decision of the protagonist Shimuli taken at the climax.