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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.
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 highpoints of the play are its central conflict between a mother and her daughter and its female sleuth – Renuka.
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 insightly dialogues that raise contemporary issues like man-woman relationships and its strains, moral and ethics, environmental degradation, class inequality, rapid and mass-scale unmindful urbanisation, are devoid of sentimentalisation. The result is they remained 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 symbolises 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.
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.
To readers of Sabarna Roy’s Random Subterranean Mosiac: 2012 – 2018, his latest slim and elegant volume titled Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020: Letters, Ideas, Conversations and Poems comes as another delightful read. In this two-part volume, packaged with a selection of his poems, Roy explores the concepts of duality and constancy in discussions with his daughter. Presented as conversations over coffee and desserts, the talks extend to diverse topics with Lolita at one end and marine conservation at the other. In his poems, Roy and his alter-ego, Sandy, soothe and shock you in turns until you burst out of the last page, breathless and asking for more.
Sabarna Roy’s characters are all around us. He has dabbled in poetry, prose, plays and non-fiction with equal elan and delved into the emptiness and futility of life reminding us of the masters in the trade. Two quotations from Sabarna Roy’s works will prove the above stated point: “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?
Many questions crossed his mind. Did he secretly crave to believe in god? Was he looking for a god to deflect his loneliness or was his loneliness actually a sense of pride, which was an obstruction between him and his god? -Forbes India