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. 

Frsoted Glass by Sabarna Roy
The image belongs to Sabarna Roy and is released under GFDL license

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.

Selected Excerpts

A Meeting in the Café – 1

Rahul gazed unblinkingly at his reflection in the mirror, looking for signs of a past that could provide him with subtle indications of the future. He wanted to know where destiny was leading him. He thought of the telephone call he had received a few days ago. An old man, on the verge of death, had begged to meet him. He was dumbstruck when the man introduced himself. He didn’t know how to react. There was a void deep inside him. He was aware that he was talking to a man, whom he had always been very curious about. Enmeshed in the trappings of his own life he had forgotten this man in the last few years. But deep within him was a strain of curiosity. Rahul had finally agreed to meet him after deciding on a convenient date, time and venue. When confronted with an overpowering turmoil in the depths of his soul, further intensified by the fear of dying a lonely and painful death, Rahul would immerse himself in the darkness of his study and look at his reflection in the mirror. Faint specks of light emerging through countless pores in the linen fabric of the curtains and tiny cracks in the panels of the doors and windows ensured that he could see his reflection. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the reflection that looked like an amorphous ghost took on a definite shape and he could make out the curved lines of his ears, his cheek, his nose and lips. Hours passed thus and then, overcome by disgust, he would fling the curtains wide open, and allow the light to rush into the dusty corners of his room. In that halo of light he imagined the scarred and ravaged face of his mother, her eyes sunken in the hollow sockets of her skull shrunk with age and disillusionment – eyes that were charming at one point in time. She warned him, in her feeble cough-worn voice, to run away and not to stare at her through the keyhole. Rahul paced with a cigarette in his hand, inhaling the smoke as though it were the last drag of his life. As the pale blue rings of smoke emerged from his nostrils, he waved them away with his hands. He lost his balance and fell down on the marble tiled floor, now cracked and corrugated with lack of maintenance and disuse. He lay there looking up at the damp ceiling, devastated by the rainwater that had seeped in year after year making innumerable saline patches and ruining the carved designs. Rahul smoked one cigarette after another till he was exhausted. His parched throat craved water. There was a raging fire ravaging his insides. But Rahul didn’t make any attempt to quench his thirst. Behind a screen of smoke he saw a dark adolescent with long tresses, walking through a forsaken mansion looking intently for something. The boy moved from one wall to another, pausing at the weed-infested doors, and the multi-coloured glass panels of the tall windows with their iron grilles. Lizards darted on the wet walls like streaks of lightning. The mansion was lit by sunbeams pouring through the openings in the walls, windows and glass panes. Between these patches of light were the frozen layers of darkness. The boy moved through the rooms, flitting through the rising smoke, light and darkness, hurriedly at times and sometimes slowly, looking furtively behind him as through chased by unseen djinns. On reaching one end of this empty mansion, he came across a spiral staircase without banisters, leading to the upper floors. He contemplated his next move for a while, and then moved on. He crossed identical floors drowned in thick billows of smoke to enter a wide terrace strewn with moss, dead leaves, half eaten fruits and bird droppings. A look of happiness and amazement shone on his face as though his dream was suddenly realized. He saw a sunlit valley of violet flowers stretching out before him. There was a deep blue river flowing on one side, its surface gently rippled by a southern wind. Rahul thought of a caption for the scene, “If you dare to cross your fears you will experience absolute happiness.” Rahul laughed. He knew that was not true. He was not sure how advertisements worked on human minds, or whether they worked at all. But the kind of money spent on advertisements of products and concepts amazed him. A few months ago he’d been diagnosed with a critical illness; a spectre of impending death ticked inside his body. The pathological reports had made him laugh and it was a laughter that welled up from deep within. It was so wild that it created a prickling sensation in his hair follicles and struck the doctor and his accompanying nurses with undiluted terror.

The Last Plunge – 6

In one dark and dwindling part of the city there was a stone-lined street with rows of butchers and tailoring shops on either side. The tailoring shops were not doing good business but the meat shops had long lines in front of them. The street was filthy but after a spell of rain it looked clean, and almost welcoming to the occasional visitor. On one rainy day, Rahul walked down this street to watch the meat chopping operation at length – the butchers and their assistants who made keema meat meticulously and the people who came to buy meat in starched clothes. He witnessed an agitated procession on the street. As he looked at the people in the procession he was overwhelmed by the older intellectual faces, the baby-faced young students, the hollow-cheeked faces of peasants and the dark faces of provincial women. They were shouting slogans vigorously against the government’s industrialization policy and the recent land-grabbing tactics for setting up car factories and chemical hubs in the suburbs. There was an intensity and clarity in the slogans, which affected him. He thought of joining the procession. Suddenly the area was cordoned off by the police. He felt afraid of being beaten up and slipped away, almost hurriedly. That night he remembered the face of his elder son. Tears came to his eyes and a poem welled up in his soul. He sat down and wrote the lines that resonated in his soul.

When I entered the prison I was wearing a blue shirt. At night, a few stars slipped into my dungeon, snatched the blue out of my shirt and made it colourless. Morning, I rushed to the faceless Warden and reported the stars. This warden then looked at me and my colourless shirt and tore the clothes off my body. When he saw my frailness trembling, He spoke in a whisper – Tonight, I will ask the stars to come and prick all the flowers out of my body and leave you flowerless, my boy. When I entered the prison I had a dahlia and a lily growing on my shoulders…

Having written the poem, he felt an unknown happiness and calm surging inside him. He titled the poem ‘Enter the Dragon’. Before going to sleep he read the poem a couple of times. A question leapt into his mind: Is it possible to achieve true happiness by living a solitary life or is it important to lead a community life where one instinctively believes that one’s own desires are insignificant compared to the desires of others and one works towards fulfillment of their desires as if they are one’s own?

Book Reviews

The one thing that i feel makes Sabarna Roy's book different is that they're not merelly poems, or stories. It is this different style of connecting stories and poem in one book. I really admire his all works and would definitely love to read more. Frosted glass, this book consists of short stories and poems. Every story is revolved around rahul, with different emotion in the spotlight. Each story gives a lesson of how controlling emotions can. The best part arrives when the poems start. The emotion and language used in the poem is very raw and beautiful. There can be places where you can feel a little confusing but then as the story progesses, you can get grip of it. The titlle of the book is also quite mysterious and can encourage new readers to pick it as a read. One of my favourite poem is ENTER THE DUNGEON

Riddhi Chhaya Always something different

A crime thriller portrayed as a play, with a series of dialogues between the characters explaining different sort of emotions and acts is all about Abyss. Abyss by author Sabarna Roy is a crime thriller portrayed as a play. Being a play it is my first read, and I liked it a a great extent. Author has tried to put different emotions together in the form of dialogues that I think is a difficult task to do. The play contains two parts and both are related to each other. The story is about main protagonist Debasree, a very strong and hard working woman, who after losing her husband manages her family business and is successful in it. But her daughter Oindrilla does not seems interested in it. There is always a conflict between the duo. Oindrilla loves a guy Mriganka who is a writer and wants to spend a happy life with him. One day she introduces Mriganka to her mother and their comes a change in their relationship. The story gets interesting when one day Oindrilla suddenly dies. Whether it is a murder or a suicide? It is a mystery for you all untill you read it. Debasree appoints a private investigator to find out the murderer or the reason behind the death of her daughter. She keeps an eye on the two cousins of Oindrilla namely Lalita and Ayaan. Renuka being a good investigator finally finds out the real culprit. But who is the real culprit or the reason for death of Oindrilla. This is the biggest mystery to read this book.

Vivek A very good collection of Short stories and poems

Poems are something that I really like very very much, that's why I was really anticipated by this book when I came to know about this one by Sabarna Roy.

This book is a collection of some short stories and poems. The author has written various short stories with really amazing simple and beautiful writing. The character description is really good. I have written many other books by the author but this one really made me say wow. This time the writing style is really very great.

The book contains nearly 20 short stories and 14 poems that , each one of them are really great. I'll definitely recommend you all to read this one and get in love with this one. One person found this helpful

Ayush Gupta Nice one

Other Books

Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 - Letters, Ideas, Conversations & Poems

Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020

Sabarna Roy was awarded the Literoma Laureate Award for Fiction in 2019
Random Subterranean Mosaic - 2012 – 2018 Time Frozen in Myriad Thoughts

Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018

Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012-2018 is a kaleidoscope of random, yet mysterio...
Winter Poems by Sabarna Roy


The poems contained in this collection, Winter Poems, by Sabarna Roy...