Sabarna Roy, the critically acclaimed, much awarded, bestselling author after the publication of his last three books: Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018; Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020; and Fractured Mosaic, has opened us to the world of his Journals and Diaries, which are brilliantly kaleidoscopic. The Journal entries of Sabarna on this day five years back are given below.
The aim of many of the most pious Muslims – the mystic Sufis – has been to be a ‘a friend of God’ (in that sense I find our Rabi Thakur very similar). To be human, said the Sufi poet Rumi (1207 – 83, of Persian origin, a resident of Konya, Turkey), is to be confused, distraught, in pain, in love, unable to decide what is right and what is wrong – but there was no need to wallow in suffering. Through music and dance it was possible to discover what really mattered.
Oh hear the flute, how it does complain
And how it tells of separation’s pain.
He found the order of the Whirling Dervishes to enable people to dance themselves out of pain, out of uncertainty and separation, into ecstasy. ‘I don’t know how to identify myself,’ he wrote. ‘I am neither a Christian nor Jewish, neither Pagan nor Muslim. I don’t come from the East or from the West. I am neither from the land nor the sea. I am not a creature of this world.’
2. Weight Loss by Upamanyu Chatterjee
These lusts and longings, this guilt and these taboos, verily, verily, I say unto thee, O Horatio, truly we walk through life with a heavy burden. Thus two monks, returning home, came to a stream where a pretty girl waited, reluctant to cross, fearful of wetting her clothes. One monk picked her up in his arms, forded the water and, having deposited her dry and safe on the other side, strode on. The second was horrified and spluttered kilometer after kilometer his shocked disapproval. Remarked the first monk, abruptly aware of the other’s indignation, ‘That girl? I put her down way back at the stream. Are you still carrying her? My advice would be: Do not linger, my friend, over either pretty girls or the past.’
3. The Trees by Franz Kafka
For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie sleekly and a little push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can’t be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.
Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir