Q&A: Niroop Mahanty, Author of 'Sting in the Tale'

Niroop Mahanty was born in the Steel City of Jamshedpur, and has been educated in Jamshedpur, Delhi, and the US. He is a highly qualified pilot, an advanced level scuba diver, and a Reiki healer. He worked in a respected blue-chip company in a top management position, but he quit his job to give time to his other passions. He had also contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He lives in Jamshedpur and is occupied with the management of two charitable trusts, travelling and advising the management of a flying school. The book Sting in the Tale, is a collection of thirteen stories with a twist at the end of each story, and is his debut in writing.

I chat with the author Niroop Mananty about his book Sting in the Tale, his inspiration for writing the book, his writing process, and much more.

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am from Jamshedpur. I worked as a successful member of the top management team in one of India’s largest and most respected blue chips, but quit my job prior to retirement age to pursue my other passions.

I am a highly qualified pilot, with multi-engine and instrument ratings, and am the only Indian civilian to be trained, tested and licensed to fly a military jet. I am also a scuba diver certified to ‘Advanced’ level, a free fall skydiver, a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do, an active Reiki healer, and play guitar in a Rock band.

I am passionate about the need to return to society, and with my wife, run two charitable trusts. I contested the Parliamentary election in 2014 as an all-expense paid “invited” candidate and came in at a creditable third position. I am presently occupied with the management of the trusts, and advising the management of a flying school.

Which authors and books were your early formative influences?

During school and college days, I read mostly mysteries, westerns, adventure. This included Perry Mason series, Agatha Christie, Alistair MacLean, Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, and a whole lot of books on aviation and flying.

If you could only describe your book Sting in the Tale in five words, what would they be?

An exciting and fun read! (Perfect for journeys!)

'Sting in the Tale', published by Notion Press

Now tell us a little more about the book! What can readers expect?

Sting in the Tale is a short story collection. Readers can look forward to short developed plots with a ‘twist’ at the end of each of the thirteen stories. There are enchanting twists, and after readers have read a few stories, they will try and guess what happens towards the end of those that follow. They would be wrong every time. This magnificent collection of tales covers a wide a range of subjects, and the spread is superbly varied and gripping in detail.

What inspired you to write this short story collection?

I have tried many things with reasonable success, so I figured that why should I not do this? And the reviews of the book have been encouraging.

What was your creative process like behind writing the short stories in this book?

The stories came to me during long walks. Much of my personal expertise/interests gave me the ideas. I’ve tried not to get technical, but several of my interests are obvious.

Which short story is a personal favourite? Why?

I kind of like them all. However, the short stories ‘Village Inc, Empty Places’, and ‘Lost and Never Found’ seem to be the ones that appealed to readers, so I bow to them. The readers are always right!

How have you been coping with the current pandemic and what will be the new normal for you post it?

My wife and I being best friends, the lockdown has not been too taxing, and of course, there is Netflix!

We’ll probably party a lot lot less! Look after our health better in terms of exercise, diet, and rest. I’m getting a lot more time on my guitar. I am also looking forward to playing at a few gigs. And on Flying, and golf (I’m awful at it so I need to work on it!). I would also be spending more time and effort on the charitable trusts which my wife and I operate.

Lastly, are you currently reading anything and do you have any book recommendations for our readers?

I’m reading a bit, whatever I come across. My tastes are eclectic.

The book ‘Sting in the Tale’ is available online and at your nearest bookstore.

From Jammu, J&K; Studied in DPS, Jammu.