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Authors

QUALITY BOOKS WITH INDIAN THEMES

Our Authors

Debus-picture-from-3rd-book

Debu Majumdar

Born in India, Debu Majumdar received a doctorate degree in physics from SUNY at Stony Brook. His book From the Ganges to the Snake River was first published by Idaho State University and then by Caxton Press in 2000; it interweaves Indian culture with North-West American reality. He has published 4 children’s books: Viku and the Elephant (2011), Viku to the Rescue (2012), Viku and the Ivory Thieves (2013), and Viku Goes to School (2014). His first novel, Sacred River: A Himalayan Journey, is available on Kindle. He lives with his wife in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

A Reflection:

 My life is a little bit of a fairy tale. I am not the one who loved words from age five and started writing stories as a child. I was born in India and if a person grew up in India, especially in the late 50s and early 60s – post partition India with its Hindu-Muslim riots – pursuing the arts was not encouraged. You couldn’t afford to nourish your right brain. Adults would tell us, “Do you want to starve when you grow up?” Starving stories of painters and writers are romantic but not appreciated in India if a family has any brains. You would like to read about those famous people’s lives only when the artists are dead.  

And, especially, if you find yourself liking math and you can solve geometry problems, you quickly suppress your right brain. You go to science. If you are one of the best, you go to physics. Then whatever artistic inclination you had, you obliterate those impulses and study only science – nothing else. That’s what I did.

I earned a master’s degree in physics with specialization in nuclear physics from the University of Calcutta. Then I came to Philadelphia for graduate studies in physics. But life is stranger than fiction. Those suppressed desires of my brain showed up. The fight between the right brain and left brain became prominent and my right brain started to get the upper hand. I started writing short stories. The first story I wrote was about an old, lonely woman in a retirement home. That reflected my discovery of sadness in affluent America.

I stopped writing again because of the nagging concern of finding my professional place.  I had more important things to do. I must get degrees, and strive for the most respectable job possible! Where was the time for nurturing expressions of sensibility? Art? That could wait. I went on to become a physicist. I received an M.S. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and a Ph.D. from SUNY at Stony Brook in 1969. While doing research in physics, I also earned an M.S. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Then came the realities of getting a job and settling down. And I got married. So there went the artistic feelings again. Twenty more years passed by! I didn’t touch a dictionary during these years. I didn’t have to – scientific writing didn’t require one.

But somehow, somewhere within me, the idea was alive – that non-rational thought and a contradiction to science. There must have been a constant fight within me between the emotional part and the logical part. Unconsciously, the struggle between my left-brain and my right brain had continued for several decades. I put my outside energy to studying science, and writing scientific papers, but my inside desire to write stories kept brewing in the background – until I came to Idaho. Then I decided to be a writer. I thought I had studied for two decades to become a physicist; I must devote at least a decade to be a writer. I started to take literature courses at Idaho State University and read classic novels.

Beginning writing is usually autobiographical. Mine is no exception. I love reading travelogues and wanted to write about a journey we made to India. Then I discovered an amazing truth about writing. I thought I’d write about the tribulations of the journey and what the group found. I wrote a couple of hundred pages. Then I realized I was writing about other people—their thoughts and emotions, but I was not willing to reveal anything about myself. Why should I tell the world my inner thoughts? I wanted to be an observer with a telescope in my hand piercing into the hearts and minds of others. I was hiding myself from the journey. And the result? The writing was no good. I recognized that myself. The reader could certainly feel it. The lesson I learned was that a writer, actually all artists, must make himself or herself free. If you think, ‘I shouldn’t write this because of what my neighbor, or my mother, or my daughter would think of me,’ then you can never be a good writer. One must have the boldness to write what is within oneself – without reservation, without inhibition, and to see things as one finds them, not as they should be.

Then I started to write about my experience in Idaho. That became the book “From the Ganges to the Snake River,” from a river in India to a river in Idaho, from one culture to another culture. This allowed me to discover Idaho and interweave Indian culture with Idaho reality, and shuttle between the past and the present. That book was published in 2000; Sacred River is my first foray into novel writing.

After many years as a scientist, I became a writer.

Steve Watts

Born in San Francisco in 1932, Steve Watts spent a large part of his youth in Texas on a ranch and later, in Alaska as a fisherman. Idaho Falls was his home since 1957. He had been a police officer, a detective, criminal investigator and polygraph specialist. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Steve’s compassion for the victims of crime and his pursuit of justice affected and changed the lives of many people from every walk of life. He was a painter, builder, inventor, author and story teller. He was also a columnist for the newspaper Post Register. His first book, “Better an Honest Scoundrel: Chronicles of a Western Lawman,” was published in 2003. “Lemhi Overhang,” his second book, tells fictionalized stories based on his experiences. He passed away on May 9, 2015.

Watts Stephen
Watts Stephen

Steve Watts

Born in San Francisco in 1932, Steve Watts spent a large part of his youth in Texas on a ranch and later, in Alaska as a fisherman. Idaho Falls was his home since 1957. He had been a police officer, a detective, criminal investigator and polygraph specialist. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Steve’s compassion for the victims of crime and his pursuit of justice affected and changed the lives of many people from every walk of life. He was a painter, builder, inventor, author and story teller. He was also a columnist for the newspaper Post Register. His first book, “Better an Honest Scoundrel: Chronicles of a Western Lawman,” was published in 2003. “Lemhi Overhang,” his second book, tells fictionalized stories based on his experiences. He passed away on May 9, 2015.