Sabarna Roy (Voices Within)

Sabarna Roy is a First Class Honors Civil Engineering Graduate from Jadavpur University [1988]. He is presently employed at Electrosteel Castings Limited, Kolkata as Senior Vice President [Business Development] of the Group. He has published five literary books since 2010 covering different genre: Pentacles, Frosted Glass, Abyss, Winter Poems and Random Subterranean Mosaic:2012 -2018 Time Frozen in Myriad Thoughts. His books are major critical and commercial successes. He has also authored a Technical book titled: Articles on Ductile Iron Pipelines and Framework Agreement Methodology, which is a compilation of nine technical papers published in peer-reviewed National and International Journals.

Untitled Poem 1

The sweet rush of death
Through the winter rains
From the pacing waters of Ganga flowing along Banaras city
From the burning pyres on one embankment
From the small dunes of sand on the other
From the rotting steel of an ancient bridge

The scent of shameless youth and life are gone
The sweet rush of death, all over

Do not listen to me: For I have no hope to give
Mainak, who is dying by the hour
Is strapped to his bed with tumors in his stomach
Refusing medication and hospitalization
A no to live by artificial means
He holds my hands with his frail long fingers
An artist of epic murals – crisscrossing the globe, a few years back
Metropolitan railway stations, bulbous airports and heritage sites
Locking my hands to his, urging me to tell him
Sinuous stories of cops and goons
He listens attentively and then dozes off to pale sleep, lightly snoring

Outside, on the streets
The cymbals and drums are playing
The students might uproot this deathly government

The sweet rush of death, all over in my mind

In the evenings, I walk to the Cantonment area
Woods, grasslands, bougainvillea, ponds and golf carts
Some rest, coffee, sandwiches and then, back to Mainak

The sweet rush of death lingers in my mind
In a few days, Mainak will be gone

Memories, murals and unfinished artwork are all that will be left
Of this ferociously handsome man, once upon a time

The sweet rush of death
The sounds of cymbals and drums
The roaring sounds of youth all over 

Untitled Poem 2

The scent of my city changes during the winters

Children – with tennis-ball-like-cheeks – from schools go to picnics with their boisterous teachers in colorful dresses with homemade delicacies trapped inside Chinese tiffin boxes – aroma of egg and chicken rolls
Aroma of perfumes and talcum powder floating from their teachers’ bodies
Lovers meet around curated water-bodies and exchange colorful, blooming flowers
The old go for longer morning walks oblivious of their splitting knee pain; ending the sojourn with a cup of steaming syrupy milk tea, shingaras and jalebis

The rich have parties at Clubs, Banquets, Lawns and 5 Star Resorts
They have very different colors, scents and noises – inaccessible and mysterious
The shine on their cars is another thing to watch

My city is also teeming with
Hopeless, unemployed, starving and mentally challenged people
Their faces and destinies crisscrossed with scars

They shiver in the winters and go on shivering till they freeze
They have very little access to shelter – blankets and quilts, water, and food

They decay in their relentless thirst and hunger – the stench goes up to the sky

I do not know what to do in the winters
Whether to join the children, the lovers, the old, the rich or the disenfranchised

I go my way – through the suburban shrubs and sit the whole day along a secret pond with my fishing net, sunshine warming up my shoulders and back, waiting for my frugal catch – and, in the evening go to Baba’s house to oil-fry my catch for Baba so that he could devour them gradually with his single peg of Jack Daniele

I read out Osip Mandelstam to him – some lines he can hear; some lines he cannot

When I bid him farewell, he holds me forcefully in his embrace and croons in my ears –
This winter will pass

Untitled Poem 3

In the unending fields of mustard – sprawling vineyards
On a narrow embankment of mushy soil
I dig up a trench with a spade and a pickaxe
Very deep
Very dark

It takes a full day to prepare the trench with bed of leaves – moist and dried
Collected in the adjacent jungles in the preceding days tirelessly

There are some bread loaves and marmalade

The quilt with embroidered print of deer and peacocks playing in the woods
Was stitched by my paternal grandmother

Night oozes out of the sky
Darkness struggling with the yellow haze emanating out of the
The fields of mustard brought to life, as if by a celestial magic wand

I enter my trench
Eat some loaves with marmalade
Pull the quilt over my body
And, look up at the sky

I feel intoxicated by the sighting of stars, planets and moons – galaxies and constellations
It reminds me of my days of working as a spy
For states with multiple faces and faceless states

The cemeteries of Tokyo in skyscrapers
The brothels of Zurich
My lazy journeys from London to Cotswold
My lazy journeys from Paris to Giverny
The serrated rooftops of Istanbul
The breakfast shops in Lower Manhattan

Then the darkness of Congo, Sudan and the forests of Bastar in India

A strange light in my trench – a concoction of the night’s darkness
And, the light glowing and melting out of the innumerable flowers of mustard

I look up at the sky

Tokyo is falling
Zurich is falling
London is falling
Paris is falling
Istanbul is falling
New York is falling

Strange fires spreading across Congo, Sudan and India

I inject a shot in my veins and look at dilapidated cities – their ruins
Playing in the magical light of the fields of mustard

Fires playing in the distance on the cinemascope of the night sky

Voices Within-2020 :: Setu, February 2020

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