Is it that the dead Freud lives in every biological man alive?
Sabarna Roy’s latest intellectual venture Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 makes a bold attempt to find an answer to this very uneasy note of interrogation. This book certainly is one of the boldest attempts to simplify the psychoanalysis that still plays its role in today’s industrial society.
In fact, this is the question that had been tormenting some extraordinary human minds including Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Nabokov and Gustav Flaubert. The result, of course, was creation of immortal fictional characters like Ana Karenina, Madam Bovary and Lolita’s obsessive lover Humbert Humbert.
Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 may one day find itself as one of the best modern work on psychoanalysis. In the recent times, no author like Sabarna Roy has made bold attempts to dissect the unconscious mind or the split personality of human mind.
This, perhaps, is the best work of modern times in which we find the how people suffer from the syndrome of unconscious mind that attracts them towards darker aspects of human life.
Such chapters like A Letter to a Step-daughter, A Letter to Suranjana and Nocturnal Conversation between a Step-father and Step-daughter over desserts and coffee really carry our train of thoughts not only about man-woman relationship but also gives you glimpses of the dark comedies taking place in our industrial society every day, every moment.
To understand this particular work of Sabarna Roy, let us begin with Part-A of the book titled A Letter to a Step-daughter. The very title evokes massive curiosity among the readers. The stepdaughter of the father Babazula is Tulip.
Here, the step-father Babuzula writes to step-daughter Tulip among other things of “Dark Side of the Mind” and the Idea of Duality. The step-father’s love for his step-daughter Tulip finds its supreme expression in a particular paragraph which is very touching.
This is: “I am your step-father, but at some level I do think, I am your father, because I would like to believe your creative-self would not have bloomed the way it has, had I not been a part of your growing up years. Now that you are grown-up and a creative woman, I seek validation of my art from you.”
The Part-B of Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 is A Letter to Suranjana. In it, Sabarna Roy makes an honest attempt to simplify the scientific distinction between pedophiles and child molesters in the light of Vladimir Nabokov’s most controversial novel Lolita in which Humbert shows a split personality as far as his mad infatuation for the character Dolores Haze, a girl of 14, is concerned.
The most intellectual observation that Sabarna Roy makes is that Humbert, the Dolores-lover, may be a split personality but he is capable of feeling guilt thus trying to bring to light the fact that not all pedophiles are conscience-less.
This chapter, a letter to Suranjana with whom the step-father had a “wonderful session” on “Dark Side of the Mind”, rakes up the old controversy about pedophile Humbert. The author’s exoneration of Humbert as a pedophile and not an absolute child molester, of course, opens up a new vista for literary critics.
In Part-C of this book, we find a very thought provoking “Nocturnal Conversation between a Step-father and Step-daughter over desserts and coffee”.
In this intellectual offering, Sabarna Roy tries to say, “In life, there are certain things that are within our control, and a lot many things that are beyond our control. The aggregate of determinate and indeterminate factors makes life indeterminate. Uncertainty is closely associated with indeterminateness as indeterminate problems are likely to have multiple solutions.”
In it, Babazula, the step-father of Tulip, sides with Anna Karenina, the character of the novel of Leo Tolstoy by the same name. Apparently, he again rakes up an intellectual storm and perhaps, inviting critical assessments from literary figures.
Sabarna Roy puts forth a very valuable suggestion: When Anna Karenina was written, the influence of genes on man’s actions was not well understood. This is a very strong intellectual suggestion based on science. It deals with split personality syndrome with which, perhaps, Anna Karenina suffered.
To substantiate his argument, Sabarna Roy gives reference to Nikhilesh, the main character of Rabindranath Tagore’s book Ghare Baire. Nikhilesh too was split in his thoughts that results in a tragedy.
To corroborate his standpoint, Sabarna Roy gives scientific reasons. It runs like this: “Classical physics and how we would think in the years to come would change forever when light was first considered to be wave-particle; gravity a field and not force.”
At the concluding chapter of Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020, we find the beautiful Winter Poems 2020 which is a poem cycle of 21 very sharp and incisive poems. It is all about manifold aspects of human life and vivid confrontation between the poet and his alter-ego.
An engineer by profession, Sabarna Roy is the author of five best selling books. They are: Pentacles, Frosted Glass, Abyss, Winter Poems and Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 Time Frozen in Myriad Thoughts.