Sabarna Roy: An Exemplary Storyteller

Writing always has been the semblance of our emotions and is often used to portray our deepest emotions. Sabarna Roy is a writer  who has portrayed the various complex yet obvious emotions playing inside a human being. His creativity is bereft of the usual boundaries as he has led by example and has mastered various forms whether it be novels, dramas, poesies, stories or any other form which could serve the true purpose of literature. Roy has penned down various literary works under various titles which include Pentacles, Frosted Glass, Abyss, Winter Poems, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 and Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020.

Owing to his academic background, Roy is a First Class Civil Engineering Honours Graduate, having passed out from Jadavpur University in 1988. Thereafter, he joined the corporate sector and has been with the Electrosteel Group for the last 25 years. Today, he is the senior vice president taking care of business development, applications technology and strategy. He is a keen and a passionate engineer, who has also written a technical book with two of his colleagues as his co-authors and book is titled: Articles on Ductile Iron Pipelines and Framework Agreement Contracting Methodology.  This book also has been so popular that it has been translated into eight major European languages.

In his literary writings, Roy excels in narrations of love, loss, betrayal, and melancholy around urban life in Kolkata between the 1970s and today, spanning a time frame of five decades. Even though his writings have been centralised to Kolkata, Roy has transcended boundaries as there is no denying the fact that his works have touched his readers.

The author is a keen observer of urban life, decadence, hyper-modernisation, class and caste wars, environmental degradation, relationships of love and lust, and the duality of morals and ethics. His writings are devoid of sentimentalisation. They are dispassionate to the point of being coldhearted. He puts his characters and situations on the pedestal and illuminates them with drama and he writes his tales looking at this imaginative and intuitive theater sometimes through absurdity, sometimes through surrealism, sometimes through magic realism, sometimes through the stream-of-consciousness and sometimes through stark realism. The prism of observation has made his writings stand through the test of time and has made his works attain a cult status!

The Prank in Frosted Glass is one of the brightest examples of black comedy. His novella, New Life from Pentacles and Incomplete Conversations Set Pieces from Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012-2018 experiments with incomplete prose leaving almost everything to the imagination of his readers. This intentional incompleteness not only tests the imagination of readers but also gives us a reality check of our own morality. Duality, the novella from his latest book, is a drama of ideas and not characters; ideas in this novella become characters, which by itself is an experimental style of writing in Indian English writing. Abyss, his full-length play in two acts is only a crime thriller on the surface; it is actually an examination of very critical ideas, like land for agriculture versus land for industrialization, and the working ethics of an author, and the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship in upper-class society.

Roy’s poetry comprises various genres: very less reflective writing and more of narrative ballads mostly in free-verse and sometimes in metered rhyme. He explores the various facets of post-modern decadence in urban life in all his poems; his poetry is full of the magical maze. There are riddles and puzzles in his poetry, which are very entertaining to solve while reading.

He also keeps himself busy penning down technical research articles on environmental issues and climate change and gets them published in peer-reviewed national and international journals. Roy 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, and Indian Geographical Committee of International Water Resources Association.


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