Bidisha Ghosal: Author Interview

Rape is a sad reality of the world that we currently reside in. They happen often but the accused seldom get punished for the crime. The Rape Trial by Bidisha Ghosal is a book that will tell you what happens when the citizens try to do what the judiciary couldn’t. We at thenotoriousreader were curious to know more about the book as well as the author.

Bidisha Ghosal is the recipient of journalism awards such as the International Press Institute Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting. She moved on from journalism to write her first novel. While working on that, she also became one of the key players in bringing to life the personal journey of the late Dr. Prasanta Banerji, her grandfather, and homeopath extraordinaire, in a lucid book titled The Diaries of a Stubborn Homeopath. Her first novel is immense labor of love, combining her buoyant love for thrillers with an exhausting sense of self-righteousness.

What inspires you to pick up your pen and write?

A compelling story idea.

Can you please give us some more information about your book?

‘The Rape Trial’ begins with the revelation that, many years ago, Rahul Satyabhagi had indeed raped Avni Rambha. Rahul has long since been acquitted and Avni had left the country for her peace of mind. Now, it looks like he’s about to get away with it again. Rhea, Amruta, and Hitaishi are beyond furious. They decide to pull a Larsson on him, kidnap and torture him, and then leave him alive to be found. They feel so righteous about it that they want to do it again. Using their resources, they tear through other rapists that have gone scot-free. Before they know it, copycat
gangs have reared their heads in other parts of the country. Since Rahul is a ‘somebody’ in society, a special police team led by DC Dixit is put together to investigate his attack. Dixit, however, runs into dead-ends because the copycat gangs end up being worthy red herrings. By the time the three girls come under his radar, they have already decided to put a stop to their escapades. Thanks to Rhea’s close connection with Rahul’s family, Dixit closes in on her in particular. Just when she thinks she’s about to get caught, a fourth girl is arrested. Is this girl a new vigilante? Or is she telling the truth that she was only defending herself? More importantly, who cares? It took me more years than I would have liked to write this book, and I’m thrilled to see it hitting the Number One spot on the bestseller lists daily!

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Can you please tell us more about the main characters of the book?

The main rape survivor of my story, the one whose rape plays the driving force of the events, doesn’t actually turn up in the book until the very last page. The story is not about how she survived her trauma. The main protagonists are Rhea, Amruta, and Hitaishi.

Rhea has close ties with Rahul’s family. When Avni had first come out with her accusation, Rhea had supported Rahul’s parents’ claim that he was innocent despite not believing it herself. Her story is that of someone who slowly comes out of the unhealthy pressure to support such a heinous act simply because of family ties.

Hitaishi is the one who’s always angry. She’s always looking for a fight, totally believes that the onus of changing the world lies on her shoulders, and never backs down. Yet, when it comes to getting up and taking action, she needs to be pushed.

Amruta is the quiet one who is more action than talk. As for Rahul, I’m pretty sure we all know someone like him. The guy we’d never suspect because we have this strange idea that rapists ‘look like rapists’. What’s that look again?

Why did you choose to write about this particular topic?

I feel like it chose me. The threat of rape has been an overarching fear in my life from the time I could be made to
understand that I shouldn’t ‘wear this’ or ‘sit like that’. I was taught from a pretty young age that walking on the streets would mean I would get harassed. As I grew up, I heard many more sexist and misogynist things and experienced them as well, so the anger just kept building up. Finally, it burst through in a constructive manner in late 2013. And I had my book.

Why did you choose this particular genre? Will you be trying your hand at any other genre?

I love thrillers, crime, mystery, horror. Horror is my favorite fiction genre. Yes, I would love to write a romance.

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When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?

Never. Never ever expect another book from me.

If not a writer, what would have been the career of your choice?

I would have been a paper quilling artist all along!

Can you tell us about your favorite author/ authors?

Stephen King, because I love horror, and he’s simply the best. Oscar Wilde for his irreverent wit. Growing up I read a lot of Perry Masons, Agatha Christies, Enid Blytons, Nancy Drews, Sydney Sheldons, etc. I also loved Tintin and Asterix & Obelix comics. Actually my choice of books was always very eccentric and scattered. I grew up in my maternal grandparents’ home and they had a library on the ground floor. Nearly every member of the family loved to read, and whenever they were done reading they would put it on one of the shelves. I used to pick up anything and
everything from there, except non-fiction. So I had my pick of my grandmother’s Mills & Boons, my mother’s Daphne du Mauriers, my uncle’s Wilbur Smiths.

What do you like to do when you are not busy writing?

I do a lot of energy healing with a technique called Jin Shin Jyutsu.

Are there any words of wisdom that you would like to share with our reader?

I’m going to repeat what Stephen King has said in ‘On Writing’ – do not sit at your writing desk lightly. Writing good fiction is hard work.

You can check out more about the book by clicking here.

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