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Interview: Meet The Medical Student Who Authored Her First Book At 22

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In an exclusive interview with Godhuli Barat, 22-year-old Priyasha Bagchi shared how the book “The Alchemist” inspired her to write her own idea, and transform it into a book. A medical student with an extreme passion for literature, Bagchi is relentless in her pursuit of knowledge.

Godhuli Barat (GB): What inspired you to write this book?

Priyasha Bagchi (PB): I remember wanting to be a writer ever since I was 13 years old. At that time, I had read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and I was enchanted by his master storytelling. It was simple yet profound.

The story struck a chord with me and I realised that I wanted to tell stories too. The very thought of being able to share something of myself to the world, thrilled me. I conceived the idea for my story when I was 17.

One night, I had an epiphany… It was an image of a couple standing at the edge of the world, watching the Aurora Borealis. That image has become the cover of my book.

The cover of Priyasha Bagchi’s book. Photo credit: the writer.

GB: When writing this book, what was your first thought? Does the title hold any special significance for you?

PB: I was fascinated by the mathematical concept of parallel lines. When two lines cross once, their paths diverge, and they never meet again. Parallel lines never touch, but they run together till infinity—never meeting yet staying together.

There was a philosophical beauty about this mathematical concept, which I extrapolated to the realm of romance. Hence, the title, “The Road to Infinity: A Story of Two Parallel Lines”.

GB: As a medical student, what made you discover your passion for literature?

PB: Ever since I learnt how to read, stories have been my refuge, my escape from reality. I could live as many lives as I wanted to go faraway destinations, whether they existed on the map or in a fantasy world. Above all, I could be any character I wanted to be.

I have always been fascinated by the magic of stories and the art of storytelling. From early on, I knew that I had to write stories regardless of the profession I chose.

GB: What challenges did you face while putting your words into your thoughts?

PB: I did not start writing the story until I got into my dream institute: Lady Hardinge Medical College. I was 19 when I began fleshing out the story I long intended to write. Balancing academic commitments and a passion for literature was a tight ropewalk.

There were times when I felt I was doing a disservice to both.

However, I stopped worrying much the day I realised that I need not choose between the two. I can just have it all, instead! There was no need to compromise on either. The writing process took almost a year and a half and then began the hunt for suitable publishers.

Priyasha Bagchi is a first-time author. Her book is called “The Road to Infinity: A Story of Two Parallel Lines”.

This turned out to be much harder than expected since a lot of publishing houses were not accepting book proposals due to constraints imposed by the pandemic. Things were even harder for a first-time author.

Finally, after much deliberation, we chose to go ahead with Blue Rose Publishers and the manuscript saw the light of the day.

GB: Your father is a senior journalist. Did this influence you while writing this book?

PB: My father was not aware that I had been writing a story until the very end! My mother was the only person I had shared my idea with. She was the first reader and played a pivotal role by reviewing my work and giving suggestions for improvement.

I told my father about my intentions once the manuscript was complete. He helped me edit the draft.

GB: What are your plans for future books? What was your first reaction to seeing your book published? Any message for the readers?

PB: I have not planned anything yet! Right now, I am just happy to see my debut novel being well-received. I was over the moon when my book was finally published, after three long years of struggle.

About the author: Priyasha Bagchi balances her many interests: writing, debating, reading, watching sports, and, of course, binge-watching Netflix! Presently, she is pursuing an MBBS degree at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi.

Featured image is for representational purposes only.
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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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