Poulomi Sengupta is an ordinary middle-class Indian girl, who voices her opinion, as a storyteller, trying to create a positive change.
She is an alumna of IIT Kharagpur.
Presently working and residing in Mumbai, an author, and a bibliophile, she loves her share of kickboxing and a colorful dose of oil painting to brighten the apparently mundane life.
- Tell us something about your book.
The novel is a love story.
While a female perspective is given, the male counterpart is equally strong and vocal.
Though descriptive and yet conversational storyline, the essence of the novel takes on the present condition of colleges, education system and how an average middle-class student stumbles through the various ups and downs during the commencement of the adult life.
- “The Last Bloom” is an interesting name for a story. What made you chose it?
I choose the name to signify the importance of the higher education in the young adult life.
If thought profoundly, we realize that college is the threshold where we cross the adolescence and enter the mature world. It is like the ultimate blooming of a flower into its ambience.
I chose this name to encapsulate the journey of two young adults in their college lives- how the environment, the conversations, the emotions and the ambience of the places impacts the maturity, thought process and realizations of Priya and Vivek.
- We have seen a lot of stories that are based on college life, but yours was different in a way that the focus was on the impact of politics on the students. Why did you choose to focus on this?
Because it is a problem that nearly every college going middle-class boy or girl faces but we do nothing about the problem except complain.
It is high time that we do something about the political scenarios in the higher educational institutes which mar the learning environment. If the students are engulfed by the politics, boycotts and so-called movements, it takes away from them their precious time to study. Not all students aspire to have political careers, yet they spend valuable time in such pursuits.
It is important to utilize the college days in meaningful pursuit along with enjoyment.
Also, the politics in the educational system has been the prime factor of brain drain from India. Many talented students leave the country for better educational environment and work opportunities. To ensure the brain gain and consequently the development of the economy of the country, it is a mandate to improve the quality of education that is provided in the schools and colleges of India, especially the government institutions.
- The book also briefly touches upon getting admission for someone who has studied in different board or language, what are the things that can be done to ensure all students get equal opportunities?
To be very honest, in a country like India where there are 22 major languages and about 720 dialects, English is very much the lingua franca.
To ensure equal opportunities, it is important that a student must be well conversant in English and a major Indian language.
There is nothing more painful than a situation when a student is knowledgeable and yet unable to express himself due to language constraint.
- I really liked the character development in your book, was this planned or did the characters just grew with the story?
Thank you very much.
Most of the characters evolved with the progress of the storyline.
When I began writing, I thought I would control the pen. To my surprise, the pen controlled my hand. The characters unfolded themselves as I wrote the novel, especially Vivek’s character. I had put in a lot of thought while writing the conversations of Vivek and Priya but as I began writing the conversations, it turned out better than I could imagine.
- Nowadays we see a lot of young adult books, but most of them have the same generic story line, how can someone who wants to write in this genre carve a niche for themselves?
Originality is the key to success.
It is best to write something different and something incredibly original.
Anyone can carve a niche provided the person has a good storyline, depth of characters and meaningful dialogues because the audience has also evolved with time.
The audience wants something substantial yet aesthetic.
- Tell us something about your publishing journey.
It took me 4 years to write the novel and a full year for editing and proofreading.
So totally, 5 years. First, I created a matrix for the primary, secondary and tertiary characters and the plots. Dialogue creation was the later stage and description came in the last stage.
After completion of the manuscript, I sent the novel manuscript to few publishers.
I felt it would be difficult to publish because the storyline is unconventional.
I am glad that Leadstart considered it worthy, believed in the storyline and that it could create an impact on the audience of the country.
In fact, the first time I went to Crosswords to see the novel in the racks was exhilarating!
I am glad it is doing well.
- Which are some of the books that inspire you?
‘A Princess Remembers’ by Maharani Gayatri Devi -A vivid and colorful account of the life of an extraordinary woman, epitome of grace and elegance, her transition of lifestyle from the Pre-independence lavish one to the post independent mean position, her struggles, how she dealt with her victories as well as personal losses.
‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ by Oscar Wilde- amazingly well crafted, beautiful flowing language –appreciating the beauty yet pinching the duplicity of a character.
And of course ‘The Mahabharata’.
- How can the readers get in touch with you?
I am available on Twitter and Facebook.