FACE TO FACE with Supreeta Singh

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“The act of writing itself is an addiction for me, and I cannot think of a life beyond words.”
Supreeta Singh is young, pretty, and a very successful communication entrepreneur. She began her career as a fearless journalist, to switch over to a photographic NGO, to managing public relations at several leading hotels in Kolkata, to then quit and become completely independent.
Within the first year of founding the Supreeta Singh P.R. Consultancy with a handful of loyal staff in her own flat, Supreeta has rounded up not less than 100 clients of top companies including individuals in the fashion trade, in films and authors of books. The latest feather in her cap is the launch of her debut novel Grace, a rapid fire read on love and relationships. Supreeta spoke to Shoma A.Chatterji about her journey.

How did the adventurous journey begin?

I began my career as a journalist having worked with Drik India and Bangladesh, The Times of India and The Bengal Post. Following that, I became a hotelier and held the position of PR Head in renowned hotels like Swissotel, The Astor, and The Park Hotel, Kolkata. My motto in life is to create success stories for each person and organisation I work with. I aspired to be a writer, and my first book called Grace has been published by Partridge Publication.

Are you single by choice?

Not really. Actually, I have never managed the time to think about marriage at all. I have my share of friends, men and women, and some of them I am quite close to. But marriage has not quite occurred to me till now because I was, and am, too busy finding out what career I wanted to pursue, and once I took the decision, it was a question of running to reach the finishing post.

You are quite a celebrity now, aren’t you?

I am no judge of that, but it is true that in the process of my work, I am always rubbing shoulders with high profile celebrities myself. The publication of the novel Grace has kind of, given my image a boost with the media flooding me with interviews. I was featured in India Today as the leading party planner in the city. Pot Pourri Magazine featured me as a woman of words.
I won the award of ‘Woman with a Voice’ by KolEvents and Hope Foundation on International Women’s Day in 2018. But I take this in my stride and also as a part of my vocation that places high value on a person’s high visibility in the media. So for me, it is a professional requirement that is being fulfilled by others, and I thank them for that.

What is your first novel Grace all about?

It is a novel about the relationships of a single woman, Kavita, revealed over conversations with an old friend Rana. I have chosen an unusual structure. Kavita, the protagonist, engages in several conversations with Rana, an old friend she chances upon after a long time. They begin to talk and over several such sessions over coffee, Kavita opens up on her relationships with different men, each of who become part of her emotional evolution and also, a learning experi- ence unto itself. It is not as if Rana and Kavita fall in love. It is about their conversations that brings out the several relationships with men Kavita went through.

How did the novel proceed once you began the actual function of writing?

The actual process of writing evolved into an understanding that did not demand any concrete answers or any realisation of Kavita to justify herself. I just wanted to let go and remain spontaneous, so that nothing seems forced. The name ‘Grace’ appeared spontaneously too. I look upon it as an act of surrender without trying to analyse the script of life. I did not feel that Kavita needed to justify herself. Love does not necessarily have any rhyme or reason. It just happens and to me, love is Grace.

This switching over from journalism to creative fiction. How do you explain this?

As a journalist, I used to write about a slice of life by collecting smaller but significant stories from all around us. I always knew that I wanted to write more, share more. A novel allows you the space to take your reader through an emotional journey by an intimate connection with the characters and their destinies, and I wanted to explore and establish that personal moment with my readers.

Have you explored creative fiction before this novel?

My poems, short stories and translations have been published on various platforms like Muse India, The Daily Star, Bengal Lights and others publications and portals. But I always wanted to write a novel and Grace is the result of years of dreaming.

What difference do you find between fact and creative fiction writing?

For me, both are equally fun and exciting. When you are writing factual experiences, you need to add a bit of imagination and intuition too so that it becomes an interesting and engaging read. And when you are writing creative fiction, you need to add some factual foundation too so that it’s believable. The act of writing itself is an addiction for me, and I cannot think of a life beyond words.

You keep on saying “love is universal.” How do you explain this vis-à-vis Grace?

Grace has five love stories that Kavita unravels to her friend Rana. Grace is as much my story as it is everyone else’s man or woman. Many of my friends felt they could identify with one of these stories that is supposed to be Kavita’s experience. Never mind how personal and “different” our romantic experiences are, basically, all these experiences are linked in some way or the other. That is why I believe that love is universal. All of us go through the same highs and lows, but under different conditions, time, and place, and with different people. Grace is most certainly a major part of my growing up. The stories have been generously borrowed from my private life.

The structure – Then and Now, is novel. How did you get it and why?

This idea came to be spontaneously. I did not want to place Grace in any particular time frame. The year, time, day etc are not important. What is crucial is the narrative and the journey of Kavita and Rana. The book is written in a conver- sational format, which can happen anywhere and anytime. I would want any reader from any background to be able to relate to the stories. That’s why I kept it to “Now” and “Then” – because the main narrative cuts across the five stories.

What do you think, is the USP of Grace?

Grace is a fast-paced novella and is meant to hook readers from the first page. It is a very temporary book written in a manner to reflect the nature of the relationships and flow of the story. I did not want to make it too complicated because it’s meant to feel like a companion and not a philosophical tome on love. I hope my readers will enjoy it!

Hints on time management you might want to share?

It is difficult, but it all depends on doing what you love to do rather than what you must do, whether you like it or not. PR is not only my source of sustenance, but also gives me immense satisfaction as a creative and professional person. I get to meet so many people, ideate for them and build their brands. I love to create success stories for the companies that I work for. Writing is my life. I cannot see myself doing anything else. Even as a PR professional, I get to write. So it helps me to maintain the balance between the two. And most importantly, it might be a cliché, but we will always find time for what we love to do!


Shoma A. Chatterji

Shoma A. Chatterji is a freelance journalist, film scholar and author. She has authored 17 published titles and won the National Award for Best Writing on Cinema, twice. She won the UNFPA-Laadli Media Award, 2010 for ‘commitment to addressing and analysing gender issues’ among many awards.

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