Amit Kumar Goswami is a quiet person who likes to steer clear of controversies and arguments. He is a sensitive observer and his pen does the storytelling about what he observes while never being judgemental. His infective emotional intensity makes the reader involved enough to mentally participate in the story he tells. Perhaps he carries the genes of literature in his blood.
Born in 1947 in the family of a very middle-class family of educationists, he grew up in a literary environment. His father was a scholar and a writer who taught Bengali literature in an eminent university as the Head of the Department. His maternal grandfather and an uncle were also renowned professors and authors. He did his master’s degree in English literature. But some other things he has in his genes that he did not inherit. It is his spirit of adventure and undying wanderlust. This prompted him to join the Indian Air Force as a commissioned officer in 1970.
In the IAF he did his duties well, but he never allowed the sensitivity of mind to die off in the rough and tough military environment. The frequent postings all over India allowed him to know people of different states as they are right in their homes. He realised that the joys and sorrows of all are the same despite their cultural and language differences. In the secular environment of the Armed Forces, he participated in Durga Puja, Gurupurav, Christmas and Eid with equal fervour endearing himself to all. On the other hand, his sensitive heart absorbed all the pain and fears while looking after the young family of his friend when the friend never returned home after an air crash. Once he had to do a so-called puja and pose as a Guru to convince a young mother when no one was able to take away the body of her dead child from her lap.
He is a die-hard learner and he learnt varied subjects and excelled wherever his colourful career took him. During the last leg of service, he was deeply into the indigenous substitution of expensive airborne spares and other imported military wares. After retirement, he manufactured bulletproof jackets, sold life insurance and mutual funds, gave consultancy on establishing and running a tourist resort, advised on health through the practice of reiki, molecular Ayurveda and much more. All these immensely enriched his mind.
He communicates well and makes friends easily. He can set the frequency with old and young with equal ease. Perhaps that is why he avoids mentioning his rank of Wing Commander to appear as close to the next-door neighbour as possible. Now right at the ripe old age of 73, he drives around different places of the Himalayas to communicate with nature and God. He also likes to share his rich experience through his writings. “Rear View Mirror” is the first book which he has recently published and many more will follow.
These are some of the glimpses of our conversation
About your birthplace and childhood
Our family has been one of the very old residents of Kolkata. I know that my grandfather and father had their own independent houses to live in. When I was born in 1947, my father was a lecturer of Bengali literature in a college, and my mother was a homemaker. Ours had been a simple middle-class family who could not boast of wealth. But I received a lot of love and affection from my family. By their example, they taught me to live happily with whatever I had and remain peaceful. Through storytelling, my mother instilled honesty and high moral value in me. When I was seven years old, my grandmother, whom I loved dearly, expired. But before that, every evening she used to tell me stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Without being conscious, the stories taught me to be responsible and respectful to elders. My father sowed the seeds of my love for literature at that early age by reading out classical Bengali poetry to me at bed time.
Why did you choose to be an IAF Officer breaking your family tradition?
Children inherit their genes from their mother’s side as well as from their father’s side. I have already talked about my father, who had been a home-bound educationist. But I inherited my love for adventure, tenacity and passion for English literature from my maternal grandfather. Though he, too, had been an educationist and author, his early life had been full of unbelievable adventures. In a story titled “Perseverance Pays” in my book “Rear View Mirror”, I have written about him exclusively. His influence made me interested in action-packed outdoor life. Therefore, when I grew up, I opted to join the IAF, instead of going in for a teaching career.
Your short introduction as an author and Ex IAF officer.
I was not retired out of the IAF on superannuation, but I asked for and took voluntary retirement. My principal aim for seeking early retirement was to help growing children who were at the critical stage of career selection then. Secondly, having earned the pension to cover my basic needs, I wanted to venture out to add more dimensions to my professional life and experience. At the age of 49 years, I retired from the IAF. After that, I have worked at various places on different unconnected but interesting jobs and businesses. In the bargain, I toured many countries in the world. Finally, at around the age of 70 years, I settled down and turned to write fiction as an author. For me, life has been pretty colourful and rewarding.
About your struggles and achievements.
I may admit that I did not have to struggle at any stage of life. As soon as my student life got completed with an M.A. degree under my belt, I was employed in the IAF, a government organisation, where promotions came when due provided one has performed consistently well. Later the service pension had been adequate to maintain my low profile simple life. Within a week of my retirement, I was taken as a partner in a private limited company manufacturing bullet-proof jackets. As an author, I publish my books on a “Self-Publishing” basis. As long I pay for publication, I do not need to struggle. I keep the selling price of my books at the bare minimum level so that people can afford to buy them without a second thought. As a result, neither I make a worthwhile earning from the sale of my books, nor do I depend on it. Writing and publishing books is my current passion. I need to pay from my pocket more often than not to maintain this pursuit.
I reckon, establishing my two children well in their lives has been my most significant achievement in life. As regards my work, I have always worked with a missionary zeal in whichever field I worked in. Small success kept happening now and then, and I never failed in my work. Retiring from each type of work with unblemished records is what makes me satisfied. At my current advanc