Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Sudipto Das: an informal chat

On a winter afternoon, a coffee shop at Kolkata was buzzing with words. Why? The author of The Ekkos clan and recently, The Aryabhata Clan; Mr. Sudipto Das was present. A warm smile, a firm handshake and cold coffee after, he discussed books, music, politics, mythology and everything under the sun. I would be wrong if I say it was a formal interaction and so I don't have any proper list of questions and answers that I asked. What happened, rather, was a conversation.


Upon asking about the pattern in writing and genre similar to Dan Brown, he exclaimed “Dan Brown uses cryptology. I have not used Cryptology in the technical sense. I have used linguistic paleontology. While Dan Brown has used Symbology. Cryptology is used by RAW, CIA, and others. Cryptology is an encryption which needs to be decoded. Most intelligence agencies in the world use this method. This is a very generic term in this case. Palaeontology is the science of recreating the past through fossils.  At times, modern contemporary languages might also have some linguistic fossil. Sometimes, age-old words survive which have failed to evolve. Holding on to those words, linguistic paleontology tries to create the history/origin of that language.”

About being casted in a stereotypical frame of writer, he says “This actually happens whereas I don't want to be cast in that stereotypical frame. Before Aryabhata Clan came across, I had written a book which is essentially a love story at its core. But it didn't get published. My next, though, is a book very close to my heart which I'm co-authoring with a young woman and it centers around an intense and passionate story about lesbianism in the 60’s. Lesbianism is still seen as a taboo in the society and not spoken of as openly as being gay. I am looking forward to seeing how the book is taken by the audience once it is out.”



How are the reviews coming in for The Aryabhata Clan? “The book is a real big book, as you can see! Not many people have finished it as of yet since it was released a few weeks back. But all the people who have managed to read it (especially hard critics of my own family and my acquaintances) have called it very gripping and that is something what I managed to attain through the book. Let's see how this book makes the readers feel once the actual reader reviews are out.”

Talking about music and of himself being a violinist, he says, “Music has always been something that is close to my heart. I have a band back in the city I stay in and we perform at various places. I never take any money from the organizers where I perform. There is a reason for that! I don't wanna monetize out of my love for music. We rather ask the organizers to put the money set aside for us to good use. Such as, making a better sound system or enhancing what they already have. We sing out of our hearts and we sing what we want to. There are no set tracks that we sing and it is completely the willfullness of the other band members where we all decide what to perform.”

Would you really want to pursue writing full time? “Why not? I would love to do that but once I am actually settled enough. My startups are my brainchild and once they are set enough. Once I know I can actually afford to sit back. But that's many many years from now!”

What about Aryabhata Clan? Tell me something more about the book… “With Aryabhata Clan I went a little ahead than Ekkos Clan. It deals with Aryabhata and Kalidasa among many others. It is rich in Medieval Indian History during the 580 AD. When I was reading Aryan History, my interest grew in the Sanskrit Language. During this time, I also researched on Prakrit Languages. This book finds a reflection of the history of all the languages of that era.”

With the sun setting and the day coming to an end, Sudipto and I chat about what inspired him to write, “I thought that I should do something which would have my unique signature, which would be completely my creation. Then I thought that I can write a book; because it is tougher to be a music composer. Also, if you notice Bangla literature is so strong but nothing has been written specifically about Bangla partition. There has been work on Post Partition traumas but nothing specifically on the Partition as such. I used to hear stories of the Partition from my pishi (paternal aunt) and they were still fresh in my mind decades later. I did some authentication and background research on those stories. Thus, when I thought of writing I thought I would pen it down but not directly make it into a Partition story. It was coupled with linguistics, Aryan History, and many others.”

This ended our chat, our coffee being long done and we got up. Cards exchanged, pictures clicked. This was a great evening.

Please do read The Aryabhata Clan and The Ekkos Clan and if you have any questions for the author, leave a comment. Wishing the author loads of luck for his future endeavors.

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