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Monday, June 13, 2005

what is the magic

Someone once said that a novel is similar to a classical song – once the singer begins, he has to keep the audience enthralled with his voice meandering all over the countryside, sometimes going to exotic heights and then gradually settling down to the lower levels. The art lies in how best he can modulate his vocal chords and repeatedly convert the lyrics into a magical web from where it is difficult, well nigh impossible to detach oneself. Proof, if any, can be seen in the classical musical conferences held in cities like Kolkata and Lucknow where the culture still exists. Usually held in winter, the sessions begin after dinner and continues till the wee hours of the morning. The listeners wrap themselves up in shawls and sit like statues, allowing the strains to mesmerize them.

The novel should have a similar appeal.

I am reminded of a novel by Chanakya Sen – the name of the novel was ‘A’ (the first letter of the Bengali alphabet – pronounced as ‘awe’). There was an interview with an educated unemployed young man that went on for nearly four pages. He had come for a job and the one line questions and their cryptic mono syllabic replies not only was absorbing but gave a clear picture of what manipulation is all about, how people who matter are awarded, how those that have lost favor with the top levels are discarded. He is assured of a fully furnished flat, car with a driver and all that anyone can ask for provided he delivers. And what must he deliver? Well, if he is told that the year’s award for the best actress should go to so-and-so, he will have to ensure that it does. For that, he must locate respectable people who can be made to cast the vote in favor of the chosen actress!

Yes, he finally gets the job when he agrees to throw all scruples to the winds.

The novel appeared in the Puja Special issue of one of the second rung magazines in the late sixties. The author Chanakya Sen is a fantastic story teller in his own right. Like another of my favorite authors Shankar and Nemai Bhattacharji. They have this ability to describe every day people, situations and happenings in such vivid a way that, in no time, you are charmed by their magic and become an integral part and parcel of their creations. These gentlemen are born writers. Others in this category are Mahasweta Devi, Ashapurna Devi, Ashutosh Mukhopadhaya, Prafulla Roy, Dibyendu Palit, Gajendra Kumar Mitra, Shirshendu Mukhopadhaya, Samaresh Majumdar and Bimal Kar to name a few. As far as my knowledge goes, they have managed to escape being influenced by the administration.

It is a sad state of affairs that many of these talented writers are unknown beyond the boundaries of Bengal! In the e-world of today, concerted efforts should be made to bring them into the global community.

(to be continued…)


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