Paramita Satpathy’s writing is like her – deep thinking, strong, rebellious, and soft-spoken. Her words don’t bite hard, but they manage to enter your system and linger long after the book has been read, or the performance has been heard. A Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer originally from Odisha, Paramita straddles the worlds of Odia writing, English translations, happy domesticity, and her work as an officer in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) with enviable ease. It is a testament to her poetic spirit that these worlds don’t clash in her head, they come together and inform her writing in imperceptible ways.
For this episode of Chai Lines, I caught up with her on the sidelines of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival. She opened up about growing up in a household where the library was precious and ever full. The influence of her mother, the eminent Odia poet and Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Pratibha Satpathy, naturally moulded her personality and approach to literature. She believes that translations of her works help expand their audience, and with that, the chance to understand the idiosyncrasies of Odia culture. She reminisces about the women in her family, relatives long gone who made indelible impressions on her through their actions and words. Paramita thinks of herself as a mother to many women – those she writes about, reads about, or creates – and finds meaning in her role as a writer in effecting a more just world. She talks about what that world would look like, and how she hopes women would be there.
It is a warm, intellectually satisfying conversation with a brilliant artist and a clearly wonderful person.
Listen in for more…
Written by Shruti Sharada.