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Musings of a Lazy Author

Musings of a Lazy Author

Sabarna Roy is Senior Vice President [Business Development] at Electrosteel Castings Limited, 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. He has completed his ninth literary work: an epistolary novel, which will be published in the winter of 2022. Presently, he is working on his tenth literary work loosely titled: Thirty Summer Poems and Conversations about a Murder.

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.

Azteca University, Mexico has conferred Honorary Doctor of Arts to Sabarna Roy for his contribution to Post-modern Indian Literature. Sabarna has received the Most Iconic Author of the Year, 2022 from Government of Punjab. 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. I first visited Udaipur in 1998 on office work. Later on, I have traveled to Udaipur many a time on leisure and office work and discovered the city and its places firsthand. Beside shimmering Lake Pichola, with the ochre and purple ridges of the wooded Aravalli Hills stretching away in every direction, Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India. Fantastical palaces, temples, havelis and countless narrow, crooked, colorful streets add the human counterpoint to the city’s natural charms.

Udaipur’s tag of ‘the most romantic spot on the continent of India’ was first applied in 1829 by Colonel James Tod, the East India Company’s first Political Agent in the region. Today the romance is wearing ever so slightly thin as Udaipur strains to exploit it for tourist rupees.

In the parts of the city nearest the lake, almost every building is a hotel, shop, restaurant, travel agent – or all four rolled into one. Ever-taller hotels compete for the best view, too many mediocre restaurants serve up near-identical menus, and noisy, dirty traffic clogs some of the streets that were made for people and donkeys.

Take a step back from the hustle, however, and Udaipur still has its magic, not just in its marvelous palaces and monuments, but in its matchless setting, the tranquility of boat rides on the lake, the bustle of its ancient bazaars, its lively arts scene, the quaint old-world feel of its better hotels, its endless tempting shops, and some lovely countryside to explore on wheels, feet or horseback.

Udaipur was founded in 1568 by Maharana Udai Singh II following the final sacking of Chittorgarh by the Mughal emperor Akbar. This new capital of Mewar had a much less vulnerable location than Chittorgarh. Mewar still had to contend with repeated invasions by the Mughals and, later, the Marathas, until British intervention in the early 19th century. This resulted in a treaty that protected Udaipur from invaders while allowing Mewar’s rulers to remain effectively all-powerful in internal affairs. The ex-royal family remains influential and in recent decades has been the driving force behind the rise of Udaipur as a tourist destination.

2. The fruit that I have loved most since I was a little boy is – bananas. Once in Krishnanagar in my maternal grandfather’s house, when I was barely 12 years old, I had gulped nine ripe tall bananas at a stretch after a game of football on a sultry afternoon. For me my grandfather would always buy bananas in dozens. Now that I am a diabetic I do not eat bananas anymore but look at them lustily whenever I am inside a fruit market!

3. While attempting to draft a make-shift catalogue of literary films that I have seen till date I was reminded of “The 400 Blows”, which I had first watched in 1987. It had a very deep and profound impact on me. Since then I have watched the film many more times and every time the impact was amplified.

Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” (1959) is one of the most intensely touching stories ever made about a young adolescent. Inspired by Truffaut’s own early life, it shows a resourceful boy growing up in Paris and apparently dashing headlong into a life of crime. Adults see him as a troublemaker.

We are allowed to share some of his private moments, as when he lights a candle before a little shrine to Balzac in his bedroom. The film’s famous final shot, a zoom into a freeze frame, shows him looking directly into the camera. He has just run away from a house of detention, and is on the beach, caught between land and water, between past and future. It is the first time he has seen the sea.

We see him in the alcove that serves as his bedroom, deeply wrapped in the work of Balzac, whose chronicles of daily life helped to create France’s idea of itself. He loves Balzac. He loves him so well, indeed, that when he’s assigned to write an essay on an important event in his life, he describes “the death of my grandfather” in a close paraphrase of Balzac, whose words have lodged in his memory. This is seen not as homage but as plagiarism, and leads to more trouble and eventually to a downward spiral: He and a friend steal a typewriter, he gets caught trying to return it and is sent to the juvenile detention home.

The film’s most poignant moments show him set adrift by his parents and left to the mercy of social services. His parents discuss him sadly with authorities as a lost cause (“If he came home, he would only run away again”).

And so he is booked in a police station, placed in a holding cell and put in a police wagon with prostitutes and thieves, to be driven through the dark streets of Paris, his face peering out through the bars like a young Dickensian hero. He has a similar expression at other times in the film, which is shot in black and white in Paris in a chill season; Antoine always has the collar of his jacket turned up against the wind.

4. I am always swinging between unbearable lightness of being (zero gravity) and burdensome heaviness of being (infinite gravity). Neither can I forever float in my lightness and enjoy the sins that I am committing, nor am I prepared enough to bounce back with resilience required to face the heaviness chaining down my soul. Lightness is life full of pleasures but dark; heaviness is death but full of illumination.

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