“Sourish Roy, has been an acclaimed storyteller who has found widespread recognition in the literary world. His debut collection, Tales From Bengal has been a sensational hit and has been awarded at multiple literary events. Mr. Roy shares his experience and the finer nuances of storytelling in an exclusive interview with The Literary Mirror.”
By Nitish Raj, The Literary Mirror
Q. Your highly rated “Tales From Bengal” is making quite a sensation in the literary fraternity. How would you describe this journey from a teacher to a best-selling author?
A. In a word, enriching, in every sense. Actually, the process, beginning with conceptualizing the stories, till date when the book is being accoladed by readers all across the country, has been a learning curve that is scaling heights every moment. But the thing that pleases me most is that the book has been able to take those unostentatious fringes of Bengal which has till now remained unexplored in English fiction, especially the northern Bengal.
Q. What profanities have been prevalent in this modern society still fallible, urged you to go through the stories of a different facade of the society?
A. But before replying to your query, I should say, absenteeism of moral values, decadence in cultural sensibility and fear of being insecure in every respect, politically, sociologically, or financially, are the pivotal factors that have contributed to this very kind of profanity preponderant in the current society. I just tried to make people believe that we, the human beings, still can cling to hope despite all instances of culpability. You look at my stories, and you will get at it immediately once you finish them. Almost all of them begin with despondency of different shades. But they end with hope of various kinds – either for a regeneration within, or a wait for one in love, or a new profession, or even a new identity, and the likes.
Q. How much do you consider the impact of modern stories as opposed to folklores which have shaped our personality?
A. believe they both have equal impact on our social moulds. Folklores, or folktales, shape our characters in the initial phases of life when our impeccant brain is not prepared enough to respond to any complex, or obscure idea conveyed in any written form. They get us ready for the turbulent days to come. And once one is faced with the riddles of advanced stages in life, he resorts to the inscriptions properly guiding him through towards accomplishment. It’s also true that through that journey in the later phase of life many childhood concepts may get discarded as being either unnecessary, or even incorrect.
Q. Even today, stories fall prey to its fictional aspect rather than the intellectual quotient behind it. What need to be done by the modern storytellers in order to create a fine balance between both of these unavoidable aspects?
A. Modes of entertainment or amusement have always been broadly of two different kinds – one, that refreshes, and the other, that enriches. Now point is whether we, the audience in a cinema hall, or the readers, are aware as to what we actually require. Same may happen with one movie director, or an author. The problem occurs when the author fails to decide as to what he is aiming for. But once he is clear about what he should impart to his readers, pleasure or knowledge, half the job is done. But still, to me, one should not always try to differentiate fiction as per the two above aspects. Rather, he should approach at it as the plot would take him which he might have conceived beforehand. As for me, I do not make plots. Instead I observe things happen (or even let things happen) and note them down for future use. I let my stories take me the way they should.
Q. Why still we today as a storyteller fancy the depressed and emotionally oppressed characters in our story as opposed to an independent and crystal-clear vision character?
A. I would like to quote Wordsworth here: “The music in my heart I bore, / Long after it was heard no more.” (The Solitary Reaper) As a life-long fan of Hindi Golden Oldies, I too feel it. When stories become like these songs that I keep singing to myself every now and then, they become the ones to be stacked up in the ‘ever green’ reading list. When words, diction and everything else in association with the theme, plot and character produce similar kind of ever-lasting effect, that well symphonized harmony is meant to be saved in the memory for ever. To me, a great storyteller must acquire expertise in the art of maintaining a soothing synchronization of the syntactical and the thematic aspects in his writing while composing a story.
Q. Stories even though hardly relatable to our personal life usually gives us a reality check to our thought-process. Is it the cumulative nature of individuals or our sub-conscious mind fear from any such mishappenings?
A. Fantasy is the greatest example in this regard. This is true even in case of folktales and fables. There could never a duck which would lay golden eggs. But we in our childhood very much enjoyed the story. For, the story used to take us to the realm which made us fantasize as to how great it would feel to have such a duck in possession. But in the end, and most importantly, we learned a lesson. In case of a grown-up reader, although the pattern of fantasy changes by then, the tired soul craves for same sort of relief. The cognitive brain quite efficiently picks up the gist so as to measure its propriety with respect to the intellectual built of the reader. So, a story however unrelatable it may seem has something on offer for a reader.
Q. What would be your advice to the budding storytellers who still fancy to be a novelist?
A. Reading, as much as possible. But most importantly, one aspiring storyteller has to first ask himself or herself as to what he or she actually wants to write about – the person, or the situation, or the event, or the conflict, or even a combination of all these four elements. Another thing; he or she must be true to himself or herself while composing the story and make sure he or she as a writer is content at heart with it wholly. Or else, he or she must keep working on it until it seems to be the best possible finished product. It may even necessitate a thousand attempts of dissection into it… And in the end, I wish them all the success in their strides in the ambit of literature.