Interview With Eminent Author and Engineering Expert Sabarna Roy "Critically Acclaimed Best Selling Author"
In our brand new initiative to inspire poets, writers and aspiring authors around the world, today Odist Magazine is featuring its first author interview with Eminent Author and Engineering Expert Sabarna Roy (Author Sabarna Roy) who is Critically Acclaimed Best Selling Author of the year 2021. He is an amazing writer, speaker, and leader. You will learn so many things from him if you are an aspiring writer. It’s going to be a long post but you should not skip this. So, let’s start!
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About The Author: Sabarna Roy
Sabarna Roy is a trained Civil Engineer and graduated with a First Class Honours Civil Engineering Degree from Jadavpur University in 1988. He is presently working as Senior Vice President and is in the 26th year of his employment with Electrosteel Group.
A civil engineer by profession, Roy spends his time on books, music, movies and international television series, when he is not writing or at work in an engineering-manufacturing organization in Kolkata. With no love for pets or gardening (although he loves forests and wildlife) or socializing, and a lot of time for introspection and deep (and not-so-deep!) thinking, Roy’s works reflect his views on the global order and individuals striving to find their place in it.
Sabarna Roy is engaged in giving leadership to Business Development, Applications Technology and certain key Strategies in the Electrosteel Group.
He has been visiting national and international conferences to talk on various matters concerning ecology and the environment. He is a firm believer in Paris Climate Accord and believes in lowering the Carbon Footprint in the industry to reverse the climate change effects on the planet.
He is an active participant in the multifarious activities of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, Confederation of Indian Industries, Central Board of Irrigation and Power, Indian Geographical Committee of International Water Resources Association, Society for Near Surface Geophysics, Calcutta Business School, Engage India, and JIS Group of Institutions.
Sabarna Roy is an author of critically acclaimed bestselling literary fiction of eight published books. They are: Pentacles; Frosted Glass; Abyss; Winter Poems; Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018; Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020; Fractured Mosaic, and A Marriage, an Affair, and a Friendship.
His literary works have been published by Leadstart Inkstate, Mumbai.
Sabarna Roy has three technical books to his name, titled: (i) Articles on Ductile Iron Pipelines and Framework Agreement Methodology, (ii) Technological Trends in Water Sector for a Sustainable Solution, and (iii) Emerging Environmental Technologies and Policies.
Some Facts About The Author:
He is a Goodreads author with a present rating of 4.05 with reviews and ratings in excess of 3,000 and on Amazon, he is rated between 4 and 5 with reviews and ratings in excess of 2,500.
He was an invited speaker on an opening day at the Noida International Literary Festival 2019 and a panelist at the Tata Steel Literary Meet 2020 on the opening day at a session, which discussed the Dark Side of the Mind. He was the Guest of Honor at Aaveg 2021 Literature Festival at Lucknow. He was recently interviewed in the Bhava Samvad series of the Kalinga Literature Festival. He has, during the Pandemic, attended many Literary meets, and discussions with Institutions, on various video conferencing platforms.
He has been invited to the prestigious YathaKatha International Film & Literature Festival 2021 in Mumbai for a Solo Session on Digital Storytelling of his selected works.
Sabarna has been invited to the Kolkata Literature Festival 2022 on March 11 to discuss the topic: Kolkata, my muse. He has also been invited at Lexicon 2022 on March 14 organized by the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia to discuss the topic: Loving the Broken Souls – Tales of Trauma.
He, a TEDx speaker, has been awarded the Literoma Laureate Award in 2019, Literoma Star Achiever Award 2020, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 won the best book of the year 2019, the A-List Award for excellence in fiction by the NewsX Media House, Certificate for The Real Super Heroes for spreading a spirit of positivity and hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic from Forever Star India Award 2020, and the Certificate for Participation in the Indo Russian Friendship Celebration 2020, the Literoma Golden Star Award 2020: Lifetime Achievement, and the Certificate of Appreciation for featuring in the Hall of Fame of Literoma International Symposium on Literature & Festival 2020, and the Times Eminent Writer of the Year award by The Times of India Group in Kolkata in February 2021.
Sabarna is one of the winners of the Champions of Change 2020 Award given out by Interactive Forum on Indian Economy supported by the Government of India.
Sabarna is one of the recipients of Economic Times News Makers 2021 (Eastern Region), Top 10 Most Influential Business Leaders of 2021 given out by Business World and ANI in association with the Indian Alert and Times Excellence Award 2021 in Indian Literature given out by the Times Group.
He has been featured in the Passion Vista – The International Luxury, Lifestyle and Business Magazine in their publication: Men Leaders 2021 – the unconventional path to Leadership and Success on the occasion of the International Men’s Day and felicitated with the Souvenir from the Asian African Leadership Forum.
Sabarna has received the Golden Glory Award for Critically Acclaimed Bestselling Author of the Year 2021.
Very recently, the second last literary work of Sabarna Roy, titled: Fractured Mosaic has been converted into an Amazon Audible book by the American elocutionist, Grant Tharp and released in the USA and UK markets. Earlier, Sabarna’s two more literary works, Pentacles and Winter Poems were converted into Amazon Audible books by the Australian jazz singer, Colin Newcomer. Perhaps, Sabarna is the first author from Eastern India whose book was converted into an Amazon Audible book in the year way back in 2014.
His second book Frosted Glass has been converted into an Audible book by the start-up Deep Moth.
Our Brief Interview With Sabarna Roy: The Exciting Part For Our Readers
Odist Magazine: Have you always wanted to be a writer or there was some kind of life event that led you to choose writing?
I started keeping diaries and journaling since the age of fourteen. It was as if a ritual with me. I wrote about everyday events; what happened at school; the films I watched; the books I read; the delicacies that I ate; the cricket matches that I played; conversations with my parents, school teachers, and friends; the places that I travelled with my parents; my moments of sadness, boredom, and elation, and so many other things. These diaries and journals over the years inflated like novels – as if written in a stream of consciousness. My first published book was an anthology of twenty English poems, titled: Pain, published in 1986 with a gift of rupees two hundred from my mother that sold in Jadavpur University, Presidency College and St. Xavier's College in Calcutta like hot cake.
After I joined the Corporate sector, I wrote on and off in Bengali and English and published some of my poems in renowned literary journals in Calcutta. In 1994, I wrote a play in Bengali, titled: Ajante, which was later published in the annual journal of Bohurupee in 2010. Between 2002 and 2005, I became an oral storyteller among my friends, colleagues, and relatives, a habit which I started with a lot of passion but gradually waned with time. In 2007, I started writing seriously for pursuing my second profession apart from being a senior engineering professional. My first book Pentacles was published in 2010. Thereafter, I continued producing books-after-books both in the literary format as well as in the technological format.
Odist Magazine: Do you think loneliness and introversion offer an advantage to writing?
The loneliness of youth arises out of ones’ passionate and adventurous choice and spirit to traverse uncharted trajectories and goals in life [not-so-often tried out options in life] and facing the uncertain pulls and strains of the future. The loneliness of youth gives rise to melancholia and beauty. The loneliness of old age stems out of abandonment and estrangement and being consolidated by the overburden of memories of the past. The loneliness of old age gives rise to grief and decay. In that sense, the loneliness of youth is very different from the loneliness of old age.
Whether loneliness and introversion offer an advantage to writing is very difficult to comment upon.
Odist Magazine: What is the inspiration behind your sixth book: Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020?
Actually, I wanted to write something for my daughter for a very long time. Secondly, duality or dualism of life, and conflict between a poet and his alter-ego are subjects, which have bothered me for a very long time. In the first three months of 2020, I wrote a novella surrounding duality and a series of poems that depicted the conflicts between a poet and his alter-ego. I wanted my daughter to get exposed to intriguing issues and widen the horizon of her mindscape. This is how the concept of Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 occurred to me.
The relationship between a step-father and a step-daughter is very, very complex and intricate. It is for the step-father to be responsible for the relationship up to a point because he is older in age. It is for him to create an enabling foundation for the relationship to flower in the best possible manner. There will be hitches, ups and downs and various strains and pulls; it is like a boat on a thunderous ocean; it is for the step-father to guide it through. There is a saying that blood is thicker than water. Yet, if the step-father can be creative, imaginative and intuitive, a sparkling relationship can blossom through.
Odist Magazine: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
There are many, many authors that I read. However, I will name a few: Anton Chekov, Albert Camus, Eugene Ionesco, Osip Mandelstam, Orhan Pamuk, Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami, J M Coetzee, Rabindranath Tagore, R K Narayan, Ruskin Bond and Upamanyu Chatterjee. The novels that have deeply impacted me are: Anna Karenina, Dakghar [The Post Office], The Outsider, Snow, The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Life & Times of Michael K.
Odist Magazine: What advice you would like to give to writers?
I can give a few tips, which can work remarkably well for aspiring authors and poets: -
Maintain a journal or a diary for yourself. This is a tool where you can talk to yourself most privately, and later your journal or your diary will reflect back the way you have progressed in life.
Read as much as you can and reflect upon what you are reading. Also, jot down your book reviews, however brief they are, in your journal or diary.
Capture all your thoughts, ideas, and dreams and let them flow through you in the form of written pieces in your journal or diary.
If you are inclined enough, create and maintain a regular blog and socialize it among your friends, family, and relatives and seek their opinion about what you are writing. This is a process from where you will learn.
Try to be original and authentic, however immature you are, because in being close to yourself, you will reconnect with your soul during the process of writing. This is very critical and significant to become a good author or a poet.
A Few Recent Selected Works of Sabarna Roy:
Sometimes, only sometimes - for a fraction of a few seconds
I can feel time passing on the wind blowing carelessly through the flowers of spring
I can feel the diurnal motion of the earth around its axis
I can feel waves rising and forming in the oceans
I can feel mountains climbing a few nanomillimeters into the sky
I can feel millions of clouds getting pregnant with crystals of water
Sometimes, only sometimes - for a fraction of a few seconds
I can feel the velocity of sunlight reaching us at dawn
I can feel molten magma locomoting wildly below the earth's ravaged crust
I can feel myself falling through a black hole endlessly
I can feel the scents of celestial gardens reaching up to my nostrils
I can feel engines pumping into my feet to run through the impenetrable jungles of our land as I could do in my youth
I can feel the deathly darkness of mountain gorges
Sometimes, only sometimes - for a fraction of a few seconds
I can see my reflection on my son's beautiful face
It is in those few moments of acute loneliness that I feel absolutely and irrevocably united with myself
I saw another night falling on the green mountains and
valleys of our youth
A silent crucible of unknown trees, grasslands and
Pouring a rhythm in my soul
For a second I thought: where was I, where would I go
When I saw you running through the diffusing beam of
smoke breaking on
the southern mountains
Like a deer
The stars twinkled like never before
Showering your path with ancient light
The green mountains and valleys of our youth suddenly
shone with another
light fired from within the tired earthly layers
You came so near panting and gasping looking into my
I opened my arms
Was it real?
Was it a dream?
I knew it was happening in another world
Where you and I lived.
# Some Musings Of A Lazy Author
The first moon-rise that I sighted was in 1999 sitting idly alone on the Marina beach at Madras. Initially what I saw was a growing crimson halo spreading across the horizon followed by a glowing pale reddish ball steadily making its way up in the sky from the bowels of the ocean. Then all of a sudden a mysterious reddish moon was hanging in the sky faintly illuminating the universe with its melancholic haze. That night I dreamt of carrying a moon on my back up an arduous rocky cliff.
I boarded the mountain flight to Mount Everest in the year 2006.
Only awe-stricken silence can come close to matching the experience of going on a mountain flight to encounter the tallest mountains on earth. No wonder mountain fly-bys have become a popular tourist attraction in Nepal.
As the plane moves along, the mountains come closer and closer. Next on the vision is Choba-Bhamare, the smallest one of the lot at 5,933 m but singularly stubborn as it has never been climbed. Then appears the mountain that is not only prominent in sight but also spirituality - Gauri-Shanker. Lord Shiva (Shanker) and his consort Gauri are said to protect this mountain, at a proud height of 7,134 m, and the summit had a history of unsuccessful attempts till 1979. Gauri-Shanker is sharp and very conspicuous during the mountain flight. As the plane moves towards the land of rising sun, the eastern Himalaya, a succession of glorious mountains follow. Melungtse, a plateau like mountain, stretches up to 7,023 m. Chugimago at 6,297 m is still a virgin, waiting to be climbed. At 6,956 m, Numbur mountain resembles a breast, the maternal source in the sky providing pure milk to the Sherpas of the Solukhumbu.. Next is Karyolung, an intensely white mountain that at 6,511 m gleams with the rising sun. Cho-Oyu is the eighth highest mountain in the world. reaching a height of 8,201 m, it appears stunningly beautiful from the aircraft.
Next on the menu is Gyachungkhang, at a majestic height of 7,952 m, considered an extremely difficult climb. To the right of Gyachungkhang is Pumori (7,161 m). as passengers get closer to Everest, there's Nuptse (7,855 m), which means West Peak, signifying its direction from Everest. Finally, there's Everest (8,848 m) itself, known as Sagarmatha by the Nepalese and Chomolungma by the Tibetans. Much has already been written about Everest, but to actually witness it face to face during a mountain flight is something else. Even while it looms there in front of the eyes, it remains an enigma, this highest spot on earth.
I am amazed by the way our features metamorphose with age. I was born with fair skin and green eyes – matriarchal lineage (baba is dark and has eyes with deep black irises). So, when I was a child and young, people who would have seen ma and me would invariably comment: You resemble your ma! But when I carefully look at my photographs of very young and young age, I can clearly realize that the shape, contours, and terrain of my face resemble that of baba’s including my smile (except his aquiline nose, which resembled my ma’s). People would rarely comment about this.
I weighed 55 kilos during my twenties at a height of 5 feet and 5 inches. Which means, I was very lean then. Gradually, with the acceleration of gluttony on all fronts coupled with a sedentary life I became very, very heavy until I was detected with diabetes in 2006, after which I started regular walking, exercising, and playing cricket, and restricted over-eating. Thereafter I lost some kilos, and I was somewhat in shape. However, one thing did not change. Until my early thirties I had a longish face, which transformed into roundish with age as my body weight increased. Getting fat is in my matriarchal genes. Although, I inherited diabetes from baba’s side. Ma had a roundish face all through since her very young age. Actually, it is this roundishness of face that makes my photographs of older years look almost similar to ma’s photographs. At times, my son comments: Your face is that of babuma’s (he calls ma by that name) with a beard! I have lost the sharp angularity of my face, that I got from baba, with age. This saddens me very much.
How I wish I could hold my face and chisel it with a metal sharpener so that my face looked like my younger years! The ambiguity of looking like ma and/or baba or somewhere in between has always fascinated me.
Sabarna Roy’s Publications:
Pentacles comprises one long story and four short poems by Sabarna Roy. The work delightfully bridges the gap between the mundane and arcane writings of today and provides an interesting, yet intellectually stimulating, treat for the discerning reader.
New Life is a long story written from the perspective of a successful adult whose mother had deserted the family for another man. The teenage angst and the scars it has left behind on the psyche of the protagonist are subtly reflected in the character. The different elements and characters of the story are beautifully interwoven to produce an intense and compelling story of an adult haunted by the trauma of being deserted by his mother. The work is interspersed with thought-provoking views on issues like love and socio-economic conditions in India.
The traditional rhyme and metre dominated poems are on love, loss and longing. Unshackled by the bonds of rhyme and metre, Sabarna’s free verses evoke the stark reality of urban life, hitting you straight in the guts. The use of everyday urban imagery adds to the appeal of the compositions. The concrete prison of urban life and the unfulfilled desire to escape to a simple life is aptly brought out in The Tower. The other poems of the collection are more biographical in nature with the protagonist being the member of the fairer sex. The free verses sketch out their life story with its attendant pathos, poignancy and logic. The best part of all the compositions is that the reader will definitely identify with the poet and will, in one form or other, have similar stories to narrate.
2. Frosted Glass
Frosted Glass comprises one story cycle consisting of 14 stories and one poem cycle consisting of 21 poems.
The stories, set in Calcutta, bring to the fore the darkness lurking in the human psyche and bare the baser instincts. The stories, compactly written and marked by insightful dialogues that raise contemporary issues like man-woman relationships and its strains, morals and ethics, environmental degradation, class inequality, rapid and mass-scale unmindful urbanization, are devoid of sentimentalisation. The result is they remain focused and move around the central character who is named Rahul in all the stories. We encounter the events that shape, mar, guide Rahul’s life and also the lives of those around him, making us question the very essence of existence. Rahul symbolizes modern man; he is not just one character, but all of us rolled into one. The story cycle stands out for two reasons – its brilliant narrative and the dispassionate style with which betrayal in personal relationships and resultant loneliness has been handled.
The poems weave a maze of dreams, images, reflections and stories. They are written in a reflective and many a time in a narrative tenor within a poetic idiom. The poems are inseparable in a hidden way and are magically sequenced like various kinds of flowers in a garland or chapters of differing shades in a novel. Calcutta features in some of the poems like the looming backdrop of Gotham City in a Batman movie.
Abyss is a full-length play in two acts with an interval in between. It is essentially a racy crime thriller full of gritty suspense. Act one builds up slowly to result in a crescendo of conflicts between personalities and ideas finally to end with an unnatural death before the interval. Is it a suicide or a murder? Act two evolves through a series of incisive interrogations to unravel the truth, which is deeply disturbing and affecting. As the play unfolds into a very well-crafted situational thriller, underneath is the debate about using land for agriculture or for industry, the ethics of a working author and the nexus of a modern state all wonderfully enmeshed into its storyline and the personal lives of its subtly etched out characters. The high points of the play are its central conflict between a mother and her daughter and its female sleuth – Renuka.
4. Winter Poems
The poems contained in this collection, Winter Poems, by Sabarna Roy were inspired by the relatively mild season that prevails in Kolkata following the season of festivities, the Durga and Kali Puja, and portray myriad shades of human life. Some of them deal with the imaginations of death and home while still others the idea of loss and coming to terms with gradual wasting of life. Many aspects of human life and commonplace human impulses are examined and brought to life through a range of imaginations and varied metaphorical associations. The poems are sure to delight the readers and generate a whole range of emotions among them.
5. Random Subterranean Mosaic 2012 – 2018
Roy's Frosted Glass did very well in the market. His Pentacles and Winter Poems, did so well that Amazon Audible converted them into Audiobooks by the Australian young jazz singer, Colin Newcomer. Abyss was on the bestseller list at the Oxford Bookstore at the Kolkata Book Fair in 2014.
Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012–2018 is a kaleidoscope of random, yet mysteriously structured to a pattern, fiction, semi-autobiographical, and autobiographical pieces, covering poems, short-shorts, opinions, observations, and conversations.
Roy says: “All my life I have struggled to achieve an optimal lucidity in language and expression that is required to demystify the hidden self and selves and agendas. I hope I have achieved this in a large measure in this fifth book of mine!"
6. Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020
Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 comprises a novella and a poem cycle.
The novella, in the background is a sweetly evolving dialogue between a step-father and a step-daughter, and in the foreground, it is a dissection of ideas pivoted around dualism of human life by discussing literary characters like Lolita, Humbert Humbert, Anna Karenina, and Nikhilesh; thought-leaders like Hegel, Marx, and Heisenberg; political phenomena like the Bolshevik Revolution; schizophrenia, love as an idea, and the secret love story of T S Eliot; and ecological phenomena like, marine conservation, and all of this is done in a unique way, almost as if we are engaged in a conversation with the author, to make us realize the plurality of life and accepting it to find peace and harmony in life.
The poem cycle is an anthology of 20 sharp-edged poems that excite and thrill you as you are encapsulated in the whirlwind of the confrontations between the poet and his alter-ego.
7. Fractured Mosaic
Fractured Mosaic is in essence a sequel to his fifth literary work, titled: Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018. It is yet another kaleidoscope from his arsenal that will take the readers to a mesmerizing whirlpool. Most of the works published in this book have been earlier published in reputed media houses as musings of an author; in this book, they have been brought together for the benefit of all the readers. After the smashing hit of his earlier six masterpieces since 2010, he has been constantly writing in the format of a journal to imitate how the mind works in real life.
8. A Marriage, an Affair, and a Friendship
A Marriage, an Affair, and a Friendship is a crisp, fast-paced cocktail of different perspectives of an open marriage told from the point of view of Rahul, Paromita, his wife, Suroma, the ‘other’ woman, and Samaresh, the ‘silent’ eager paramour. The narration weaves in and out of their points of view as they are confronted with different challenges, including the moral judgement of their sons, Proloy and Ratul.
Rahul, a 55-year-old senior technocrat and an author runs into Suroma, a young 32-year-old journalist in a coffee shop. They recognise each other because Suroma had done a career profile on him for a business magazine. They share a table and over coffee, Suroma tells him that she wants to have a baby and asks if he would be the father. Shocked, Rahul expresses his disapproval and leaves the coffee shop, but is both flattered and pleased by her direct approach.
Later he mulls over her unconventional proposal and thinks that he misunderstood her intent. Financially independent and professionally successful women were now picking single motherhood by choice, and were not looking for men, but for sperm. And they wanted the sperm of successful, good-looking men. He contacts Suroma to clarify. But Suroma wants to have a baby the conventional way.
This starts a relationship that sweeps through Rahul’s stable life.
He persuades his wife, Paromita, to recalibrate and rethink the boundaries of their marriage. Initially angry, resentful, and resistant, Paromita decides to step out of the traditional understanding of marriage. But when she does recalibrate and rethink her relationship with their old friend, Samaresh, Rahul is consumed by jealousy and a sense of rejection. It takes Suroma’s personal views about relationships and Samaresh’s challenges to his double standards for Rahul to realize that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
While Rahul and Paromita are in the nascent stages of this new twist to their lives, they face the wrath of their two sons, Proloy and Ratul who feel their reputation will get tainted by association with their parents. They warn them about the public embarrassment and social ostracization. When this does not work, they ghost Rahul and continue their onslaught on Paromita suspecting that she has been coerced by Rahul into playing along with his unconventional ideas. They scare their mother with the threat to her (and their) inheritance rights, if Rahul’s dalliance, as they call it, results in a baby. When none of this persuades their mother to change her mind, Proloy decides to move out of the house.
Paromita and Rahul are bystanders as Proloy packs, assisted by his brother, Ratul. When the tempo arrives on moving day, the brothers supervise the loading of Proloy’s belongings into the tempo and drive away.
1. Articles on Ductile Iron Pipelines and Framework Agreement Methodology authored by Sabarna Roy, Rajat Chowdhury and Basanta Bera and published by Scholars' Press, Stabu Street 15-141, Riga, LV-1010 Latvia, European Union.
2. Technological Trends in Water Sector for a Sustainable Solution authored by Sabarna Roy, and Kaustav Ray Chaudhury and published by Become Shakespeare.com, India.
3. Emerging Environmental Technologies and Policies authored by Sabarna Roy, Rajat Chowdhury, Basanta Bera and Kaustav Ray Chaudhury and published by Become Shakespeare.com, India.
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