Roy Cherian Cherukarayil, the author of the collection of short stories ‘Pearl From Every Oyster’ believes that a writer’s responsibility is to spot human emotional vibrations and present them to the readers.
Aditi: Please introduce yourself to your readers.
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: I am Roy Cherian Cherukarayil. Some call me Cherry.
I was born in the pristine village of Vakathanam, Kerala in India. I grew up in Chennai, Tamil Nadu in India. I have several artistic pursuits and writing forms a major part of it. I finished my B.E in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai and thereafter completed a Work Integrated Masters in Software Systems from BITS Pilani. I was a manufacturing engineer for 12.5 years with an Indian engineering giant and thereafter with a software giant for the next 15 years. I am with this company till date.
Although I have been writing informally since childhood, I started posting my poems and musings on my blog Cherry’s World (https://cherryspace.blogspot.com/) since 2009. I have been writing for the Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte Ltd, contributing poems, short stories and articles for their Woman’s Era and Alive magazines since 2011. I have also been writing stories for children in the Children’s Magazine since 2013 and the Children’s Tree Magazine this year.
My first book ‘Indelible Eternal Etchings’, a book of romantic poems, was published in 2017. My second book ‘A Pearl From Every Oyster’, a collection of short stories, was published in December 2017.
My blog has also, posts on my other avocations like singing, photography, cartooning, sketching, painting and trysts with my guitar.
Aditi: You are a manufacturing engineer and a software engineer by profession – how did you get to writing?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: Engineering, Medicine, Chartered Accountancy, or Civil Services were the juicy professions that parents had in mind when I was a child. I used to hear this almost every week at home although they saw me writing. I don’t blame them as the path to becoming an accomplished writer is not a path of roses. I was a responsible student although I cannot claim that I was the best. It was only a matter of time that writing came out in full swing because the embers were always there inside.
Aditi: Do you like writing stories or poetry more?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: Poetry comes out when I sense that my mind is going through a turbulent phase. I have a great love for it. But what really satisfies me is seeing more people read and get influenced with my work. I think in that way, stories help me to reach people better especially in India where poetry does not have a great readership. I believe I can articulate emotional aspects well from the feedback I got. I am really looking forward to seeing my books come out as movies that will get people to sit back and think. So there is a deep love for both.
Aditi: You write poems on your blog. Tell the readers a little about it.
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: I try to influence my friends and readers through my poems. The objective is the get them to understand the unique power of poetry and that way to get more people to read it. I write these in very simple language so that the reach is more. I write on all subjects and especially more on romance and relationships. Most of the pieces that have got published in Woman’s Era and Alive magazines are romantic poems. My poems also pick up the minute vibrations of life that is otherwise lost in the fleeting glimpse of time.
The Book Cover
Aditi: How did you choose the title ‘Pearl From Every Oyster’ for your book?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: We humans prefer to have a smooth life, devoid of risks and turbulence. But life is never given to us as a smooth and sweet package. There will be troughs for sure. A pearl is born out of a lot of struggle within an oyster. If our life was always smooth we would never get to see other perspectives of life and pick up valuable lessons. Most of the stories you will see inside this book has a struggle that the character goes through and a realisation that he picks up at the end. Many times I have spotted the most valuable diamonds in my life only when I was sitting on dust heaps.
Aditi: Why did you choose to write short stories?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: This is my first story book and I wanted to penetrate the readership base. A novel as a first story book has a risk that readers may not go beyond a few pages if the story is not absorbing, but short stories give them another chance to flip down further, pick up another story and try. Besides, I had been getting intense reviews on some of these pieces when they were on my blog a few years back and so I was really confident that they would make an impact.
Aditi: Is writing short stories for children different from those for adults? Which do you enjoy more?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: As of now I enjoy writing for adults because the adult magazines have a good word limit for us to really expand our presentation. Besides, my book has stories where I had enough space to express my thoughts well. Children’s magazines have a challenging word limit and they expect you to bring in suspense, thrill, lessons, etc in that space. Still I have been successful and my selection count has been good. When I bring out my own story book for children I will keep a little higher word limit and give them a dream world inside it.
Aditi: Do you think writing short stories is more difficult than writing a full-length novel?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: A full-length novel is much more difficult as it needs research and a good way to blend all the characters. It should have an absorbing narration so that the reader will not keep the book down. Being able to sustain that over 300 pages is something.
Aditi: How many of these stories are takes from what you have experienced in your life?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: 13 of the 22 are my own experiences and within these I have added some fictional spice too. The other 9 are taken from the lives of my friends and colleagues.
Aditi: Do each of these stories come with a moral?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: Most of them come with a strong moral. A few are left for the reader to take the lessons that appears very feeble. Again I did notice that it depends on the reader to discern and pick such lessons that lie in different layers.
Aditi: Tell the readers about your favourite story from this collection.
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: There are stories that get tears out of me even now when I read a few lines from them. These are apart from that of my Dad and Mom, because anyone will have an emotional bond (although both these stories on my parents have very good takeaways). They are -1. Meeting a Superior Human 2. The Girl Who Made Me Sing and 3. Austen’s 5000 metres.
Aditi: Is it easier to write when you have experienced something yourself or if it is totally a work of fiction?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: Personal experiences help us to bring out the intensity better. That is why I really go to a police station or to a mortuary to get the feel of the environment when I am writing a fiction based on these that I have not experienced .We have to get ourselves soaked in it.
Aditi: Do you want to tell your readers anything?
Roy Cherian Cherukarayil: We are now in a fast paced world where human emotions are given little value. This is because everything is being made available to us ready. We just have to pay. Family visits have come down, we have stopped exchanging greeting cards, conversations within the house between parents and children and between husband and wife, have all come down as gadgets take the time. That is where a writer like me has a great responsibility to spot those emotional vibrations and present it to the readers. A human needs those emotions to remain human and to spot and empathise such vibrations in others. So I would advise my readers to be conscious about this. My next few books which will be novels will be based on human emotions.