Musings of a Lazy Author

Musings of a Lazy Author

Sabarna Roy is Senior Vice President [Business Development] at Electrosteel Castings Limited and an author of eight Literary and three Technical bestselling books, TEDx Speaker, Champions of Change Award 2020 Winner, Times Excellence Award 2021 Winner in Indian Literature, and Golden Glory Award Winner for Critically Acclaimed Bestselling Author of the Year 2021. The luminary has been awarded the Right Choice Award for Author of Eminence of 2022. Also, he has been selected among the India Today Group: Icons of India. Presently, he is writing his ninth Literary work: an epistolary novel that is likely to be published in the winter of 2022/23.

Sabarna Roy has received the Best Author to Watch 2022 Award from Indo-Global Entrepreneurship Conclave Delhi organized by Business Connect, and Best Author in Indian English Literature of 2022 at the Ninth Asia Education Summit 2022.

Sabarna Roy has received a letter of confirmation from the Confederation of International Accreditation Commission [CIAC] Global Foundation stating that he will be receiving an Honorary Doctor of Arts, Honoris Causa from Azteca University, Mexico. Since the age of fourteen, Sabarna Roy has been maintaining a daily journal containing the minutest details of his life. Some of the journal entries are reproduced in this column for the benefit of the readers.

1. One of the finest recollections of my late teenage years is my visits to relatives and the homes of family friends along with my parents. My interests were two-fold: food and family albums. I would always carry a lens surreptitiously with me on such visits. In a corner, I would sit with the pile of snacks and sweetmeats that would inevitably be offered to me along with a stack of family albums that would be brought out of cupboards at my innocent and nagging requests.

The albums would emit a mysterious fragrance, which made me dizzy. I would then go through the photographs one by one very slowly observing the enlarged minutest details with my lens. An earring, An amulet, Facial features. Navel, eyes, and breasts of women. A smile. A grimace. Bellies, and crotches of men of different shapes and sizes. Carpets. Furniture. Cutlery. Lampshades.

How people looked at each other; glances et al. Embraces. Resemblances. Disputes. Fans. Wiring. And so many other things. I have revealed many mysteries during such long hours of private observational sessions: veiled threats; extra-marital affairs; family mutinies; people desperately hiding their ruined lives including, impoverishment; attraction of luscious bodies; made-up beauties; moods of – melancholia, anger, anxiety, anguish, happiness, and nostalgia; and, so many other things.

Today, in the age of social media, when people are aggressively selling their children (Because they fetch more ‘likes’ and ‘love-reacts’) their late parents (they also fetch more ‘likes’, ‘sad-reacts’ and ‘love-reacts’), their lovers, their spouses, their families, their houses, their gardens, their acquisitions by uploading their multifarious photographs, and images, day-after-day, night-after-night; I sometimes feel the mystery, and Sufiana of family-albums are gone; and, my recollections of my late teenage years are from my past life. Another collateral death of the post-modern times!

2. The phrase “cabinet of curiosities” has become a catchy interior-design term that can mean a collection of anatomical accents, an eclectic sensibility, or simply an old-world mood. (Historically, the term reaches back to Renaissance Europe, when such cabinets began to appear. The forerunner of modern museums in some respects, they contained collections of rare, random items thought to be of historical importance.) Rarely, however, does a true cabinet de curiositiés lie at the heart of a brand, as it does for French fragrance house Diptyque. The original store, a bazaar-style boutique founded in 1961 on Paris’s Boulevard St. Germain by Desmond Knox-Leet, Christiane Gautrot, and Yves Coueslant, brought the concept to vivid life.

More than 50 years later, the brand’s latest line—named 34 Collection for the historic shop’s street number—takes its cues from the company’s creative heritage, comprising candleholders, fragrance diffusers, and stationery as well as candles and perfumes. Scents reference the lilac in Knox-Leet and Coueslant’s English-style garden in Normandy as well as the warm and woody atmosphere of Knox-Leet’s workshop.

The sculptural forms of the candleholders and diffusers evoke peacock feathers, leaves, and the decorative hunting decoys once sold in the Paris store. And the boldly graphic paper goods, designed by Paris-based firm Papier Tigre, are interpretations of patterns from the Diptyque archives. Call it history, refreshed.

3. In 2002, in the month of Ramadan, I visited Muscat on official work. On one of the mornings, I landed inside a Landrover to be driven by a fasting local driver for a distance of approximately 300 km for a site visit through arid deserts in a one-way period of 3 hours with a French guide. As I trained my sight on our efficient driver, I could understand he was constantly collecting saliva inside his mouth and making gurgling sounds, and throwing up the saliva from the running car from time to time opening his adjacent door and spitting out, stooping sideways, from his sitting position and for a fraction of a second simultaneously driving the car almost blindly.

I was at a loss to decide how to drink water and eat some food in front of this miserable man, who was desperately trying to please his god and in the process gain salvation. I could see his pain, misery, and suffocating anger at the sight of the Frenchman gulping bananas and sipping a can of Coke inside the car during the journey.

In the month of Ramadan, Muslims enter into a holy period of fasting during which food and drink are served daily, before sunrise and after sunset. The platter is to be seen to be believed. During Ramadan, two main meals are served: suhoor, which is served before dawn, and iftar, which is served after sunset. Suhoor should be a hearty, healthy meal to provide needed energy throughout a day of fasting — it ends when the sun rises and the fajr, or morning prayer, begins.

At the end of the day, when the sun sets, the maghrib prayer starts, and the day’s fast is broken with iftar. Many Muslims break their fast by eating dates before beginning the iftar meal. Muslims can continue eating and drinking throughout the night until the next day’s suhoor. Muslims cease all consumption of food and drink during the hours of daylight for the entire lunar month. Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, is the time to focus on self-reformation and prayer. It’s also a festival of giving and sharing.

Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, given the belief that it was in Ramadan when the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The month comes to an end with the celebration day called Eid al-Fitr or the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’.

4. Possibly no one has been as influential in changing public opinion by understanding and manipulating the human psyche as the ‘father’ of public relations and propaganda: Edward Bernays. Bernays was the double nephew of Sigmund Freud, who theorized that the driving force behind people’s actions was their inner turmoil, instincts, and unconscious desires. Based on his uncle’s work, Bernays understood that people could be made to act irrationally if you stimulate their subconscious desires and impulses, and he successfully did this for a huge list of wealthy backers.

He was responsible for (among many other things):

Making it acceptable for women to smoke in America – backed by the tobacco industry;

Making bacon and eggs a staple breakfast food in America – backed by a meat packing company;

Causing a consciousness-harming chemical to be added to water supplies – backed by a company producing aluminium; and The overthrow of a democratic regime (Guatemala) by the US forces (CIA) – was backed by a company that grew bananas (United Fruit Company).

Bernays paved the way for some of the greatest human rights violations in history and was later quoted as an inspiration by Joseph Goebbels, the infamous propaganda minister of Nazi Germany. He was a master of fear-based manipulation. Communist countries also play/played on manipulating fear in a systematic and structured manner. There are two departments with the highest priority in the CPC (Communist Party of China): the Propaganda Department (or PR in the West) and the Organization Department (or HR in the West). The former had complete control of the media.

Because everything belonged to the public, it then belonged to the CPC, giving these two departments complete control of virtually everything in China. We can talk about the conquests of the Red Army (Soviet Republic). We can also talk about how the Communist Party in the USSR even, during its initial stages throttled world-class artists like Maxim Gorky (Lower Depths), Mayakovsky (Cloud in Pants and his other futuristic poetry), and Sergei Eisenstein (Ivan the Terrible). Then we can go on about the destinies of Boris Pasternak and Vladimir Nabokov in a Communist regime.


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