Author Interview: Dr Shyamali Sen (Datta) talks about her book ‘Story of a Lone Lady Traveller in India’
The author talks about what motivated her to pen her experience as a solo woman traveller across India
Congratulations on the upcoming release of ‘Story of a Lone Lady Traveller in India’. Tell us something about your book. Some highlights.
Thank you. Being inspired by my friends and especially by my husband, a good friend of mine also, I humbly narrate my experience as a solo traveller. During my journey, I encountered so many common people in my country who are basically good and honest, always helpful and cooperated with me in all aspects. I should mention the helping attitude of staffs in all government run bungalows, like TRH at Hampi, the surroundings, the nearby historical places, especially in full moon were some of the magical moments in my life.
You are a traveller. What are the countries and states of India you have been to? What places did you find the most memorable among them?
I have travelled through all the states and regions of India, starting from Leh-Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh to Andaman & Nicobar Islands both alone, with groups and with family as a leisure and also during work tours, e.g. conferences and as a medical college teacher examiner.
Narrate a memorable incident from this book which you have written about.
During my Araku Valley tour, a railway employee, seeing me as a lonely lady traveller, accompanied me down a hill area to board a bus back to Vizag from the highway because the sun was about to set and darkness was approaching. This kind of help I got everywhere from common people.
What kind of books inspire you as a writer? Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite writers in Bengali are Sunil Gangopadhyay, Buddadev Guha , Nabanita Dev Sen and Michel Pauline in English
Why did you want to write about your experiences? Who inspired you to become a writer? What triggered you to come into writing?
In the course of conversations at get-togethers, I sometimes narrated my experiences as a solo traveller in India, my sweet memories, which I wanted to share. During many such situations, my friends insisted that I pen my experiences so that it reaches others, especially women who dream of travelling, alone.
Tell us something about yourself and your background.
I am Dr Shyamali Sen (Datta). Born in 1956 in Kolkata, I studied in Beltala Girls School, Kolkata. Then I took admission in Kolkata Medical College for MBBS in 1972. In 1984, after completing graduation and post-graduation (MD in paediatric medicine), I joined West Bengal Health Services and served across West Bengal for 20 years, with many years in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. Thereafter I became a teacher professor, teaching in West Bengal as well as other states of India. From childhood, I was a voracious reader.
Do you have other books planned after this? What are they about?
Being in the medical profession I encountered so many people, mostly common people, their life, their sorrow, their enjoyment with small things. This has encouraged me to tell their story in the future.