Kanchana Banerjee’s ‘Nobody’s Child’ explores dark side of humanity

Kanchana Banerjee

Chennai: Repudiating Kanchana Banerjee’s second novel by a top publishing house did not preclude her, it rather gave way to pan out well.

The writer did not have second thoughts to trash the previous version and made up her mind to turnover a new leaf. So, here it goes. Asavri Bhattacharya, a distinguished singer, passes away in a car accident.

Out of the blue, we see a young woman on the streets of Mumbai covered in wounds. Her mind is clearly addled by drugs. She tells Avniel, a TV journalist that she is the famous singer Asavri. As the news spread far and wide, the press and public begin clamouring for answers for the myriad questions. Exploring the other side of fame is Kanchana’s chilling account  Nobody’s Child .

The book begins with a drugged Asavri waking up, a scene that she had watched long back. The singer confides as a television journalist and reveals her identity.

The idea of the story loomed from an ‘agony aunt’ column that Kanchana read years ago. ”It was a letter by a young girl. She’d spoken about having premarital sex to her husband on their honeymoon and he could not accept it. He wanted a divorce. It stayed with me and I knew I would someday write a story on this. With my first version, a plain relationship drama, being rejected, I chose to retain a thin skeleton for my fresh story,” Kanchana narrates.

Every chapter ends with a question that urges the reader to go to the next chapter. ”The book delves into the dark side of humanity; the evil games people play to win at any cost. If one enjoys fast-paced thrillers that keeps one on the edge, then Nobody’s Child  is surely to be picked,” the author, a freelance features writer, adds.

Elaborating about the rejection, Kanchana says, ”I believe, as a reader and a writer, I know in my heart which story I’ve written is the best version of itself. Somewhere in my heart I believed the story could be a lot better and I did that. Asavri remained the same amd Avniel was a banker in the earlier version.”

In her book, the protagonist suffers from Stockholm syndrome as she falls for the man holding her captive. Kanchana did extensive research on it. ”I studied how it happens and when the mind flips as the victim begins to love the captor besides watching videos of long time captive victims that also details the after-effects,” she shares.

Being a writer, Kanchana does not believe in creative slowdown. ”My writing process is very detailed and structured. I flesh out the characters in great details. I do this to get under the skin of the character and know them inside out. I also write out chapter outlines for at least 15 chapters before I start writing the book,” she elaborates.

”Sink yourself in the world of the characters, know the story very well and you will not get stuck,” Kanchana suggests and adds that she is inspired by the world around her. ”We are surrounded by stories and people waiting to become characters in a novel,” she concludes.

Bhavani Prabhakar