Quick take - Chitra Banerjee

Quick take - Chitra Banerjee

Quick take - Chitra Banerjee

Born in Kolkata in 1956, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni received her early education in her home town before moving to the US for her higher studies.

This PhD holder in English from the University of California, Berkeley, is an award-winning author and poet, who also writes for children and young adults. Her works have been published in over 50 magazines, and have been translated into 29 languages. The books she’s well-known for are The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, Queen of Dreams, One Amazing Thing, The Palace of Illusions, Oleander Girl and Before We Visit the Goddess, some of which have been made into movies and television serials, and adapted into plays. She’s also the recipient of several prestigious awards.

Apart from her career as writer, she also serves on the advisory board of two organisations — Maitri, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Daya, in Houston — that help South Asian women dealing with domestic abuse. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Houston, and lives in Houston with her family. Excerpts from an

What describes you best — poet or author?


When did you realise your passion for writing?

Three years after immigrating to America.

What book do you wish you had written?

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.

Do you have a regular writing routine?

Yes, three hours each morning, except on the days I teach.

Your current read...

Thomas Friedman’s Thank You for Being Late.

As a child, which book was your best?

Lord of the Rings.

If your life was a book, what would the title be?
The Princess Diaries!

Your idea of happiness?
Cuddling up in a quilt and
watching a movie with
my family.
Your greatest fear?

Illness of near and dear ones.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Be more generous.
If you could change one thing about this world, what would it be?

No more violence.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My books.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would that be?

A dolphin. They are so beautiful, smart & friendly.
What do you do to unwind?

Eat chocolate!
Ideal place to holiday...

Your favourite occupation...

Your most marked characteristic...

The quality you most like in people...

Your favourite authors...

Tagore, Margaret Atwood, Mahasweta Devi.
Your heroes in real life?

Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela.
What is your present state of mind?

Happy & peaceful.
Your favourite motto?

“I am still learning” — Michelangelo.
Life in two words?
Beautiful & surprising.
Your most cherished dream...
Winning a Nobel. My mother always wanted that for me.