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Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Candid Conversation with ‘Autobiography Of A Paedophile’ Author

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Assam: Autobiography Of A Paedophile is a love story with unexpected twists and turns and the eventual realization that life is a boomerang.

It tells us how our past, present, and future are interconnected.

This is a love story that will make you fall in love again, which will make you cry and laugh at the same time. Most importantly, this is a story that will force you to ask several questions about life and the decisions we take.

It is not incorrect to say that the above sentences summarise the essence of Partha Prawal Goswami’s novel, Autobiography of a Paedophile.


  1. First of all, congratulations on your book.

A: Thank you so much.

  1. So, how did the idea of writing a book come to you?

A: It had been with me since I was a child. I used to enjoy reading comic books a lot. I also used to make up characters, write about them, and occasionally draw them. SOS From Munia and Smack were two books that had a profound impact on me. I can’t remember who wrote what. When I was in Class VII or so, I made up a few characters based on The Famous Five and wrote two or three stories. But, with the demands of my studies and career, the writer in me had to take a back seat. During the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the writer in me resurfaced, and I decided to write something concrete in the form of a book.

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  1. So, tell us more about the book? Why this title? Why this subject matter?

A: The story’s theme struck me in 2005, while I was finishing my graduation. It was a spur of the moment thought. What if a man with a good social reputation is charged with a serious crime? What will his reaction be? How will society respond? I discussed the idea with some of my friends even before I started writing the story. I created a skeleton from the various inputs I received and began giving shape to the idea.

The title, on the other hand, is completely random. I wanted to include the word ‘Paedophle’ in the title. The rest came at random.

Q: But why autobiography? It sounds more like a personal account.

A: I have encountered this question a million times now. Even my editor-cum-publisher asked me this. In fact, a friend even told me that the name sounds more like a marketing gimmick, as no one will be interested in reading the autobiography of a paedophile.

I know that paedophilia is not something to be celebrated. But the name and the story are interconnected. I could only say, “Don’t judge a book by its NAME.”

Q: So, what is the story about?

A: It is a love story. Instead, it is about love stories. Some love stories are like the rainbow, while a few are gray. The novel is a mixture of both.

Q: Still, some input!

A: So, there is one individual who has had a successful career as a journalist. Then something unexpected happens to him, and his life is turned upside down. He is broken into pieces. But he again recollects himself and builds himself from scratch. That’s it.

Q: Is it based on a real person?

A: No, absolutely not. Except for fiction, nothing is real in this story. Well, yes, in some situations, I have stolen from the lives of my friends and acquaintances. I hope they don’t sue me for this. Apart from a few real-life instances, everything else is fiction.

  1. As you said it is based on the life of a journalist, does it reflect your life?

A: No. Not at all. As I am a journalist and I have lived the life, I wanted to shape the protagonist as a journalist. It gave me the leeway to frame the character as I am well-versed with the nuances of a journalist’s life.

  1. What is the relation of Tezpur and your stories? In most of your stories, there is always a reference of Tezpur: why?
  2. I love Tezpur. Though I have lived only for five years there, but the city has had a beautiful impact on my life. It has helped me shape up as a person.
  3. Just like most of your stories, the protagonist is named Raktim. What is this fixation with the name?
  4. I don’t know. The name comes naturally to me whenever I think of a plot of a story. Raktim is an emotion.

Q: How has the response been?

A: Positive and encouraging. Those who have read it have praised it.

Q: Like the name, the cover page is also intriguing. Tell us something about it.

A: Once I was done with the title and the first draft, I started hunting for the cover. I developed an idea and shared it with an illustrator friend. He drew a beautiful piece of art, but somewhere I wasn’t satisfied with it as I felt the art wasn’t depicting the thought I had. Then, in October 2021, while talking to a friend, an idea struck me, and I clicked the photo. And that’s it!

If you look closely, you will see a silhouette of a person looking into the light with his back to the darkness. The darkness on his backside is what we—the readers—see. We see the light only on the edges. This image depicts the reality of our lives when we are in a soup. It is only we who see the light. But most people around us see only our darkness, while only a select few can see the light beyond this darkness.

Q: Interesting. So, what next? Are you writing anything?

A: Yes. I have already started working on my second novel. Hopefully, around Bohag Bihu, I will release it. Then, by this year’s book fair, I have a target to publish my third. Let’s see. I am not counting my chickens yet.

Q: Wish you all the best. In the end, any message for our readers?

A: Keep believing in yourself. Keep honing your skills. Give your best and forget the rest. And yes, always be true to yourself. Just be yourself. Some people will love you, and some will criticise you. Always keep a balance and keep your feet grounded. If your conviction is true, stick to it.

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