Hello from the United States Dr. Sengupta! It is truly an honor and a privilege to interview someone who is as accomplished in the literary field as you are. Thank you so much for your contributions to the international anthology Twist of Fate as well as all of the hard work you have provided the group Indies In Action.
The Book Rack: Kiriti, you have experience and expertise in many facets of the literary field. How did that experience help as you wrote the works you submitted for consideration and inclusion in Twist of Fate?
Dr. Sengupta: Hi, Crystal! Thank you so very much for this interview. To me, Indies In Action and Twist of Fate are inseparable entities. The former is the name of a group of like-minded people who are there to provide support to the victims of the tornado at Oklahoma, whilst the latter is the name of the global anthology which is but an instrument to deliver that support and help. In addition, Twist of Fate is a fine collection of some brilliant literary and art works from across the globe.
I have varied submissions in the anthology. There you have a short autobiographical sketch (As I traverse) which was originally written (by me) in English. You can have my poem, Red and Blue there which was written in Bengali, later Ranadeb Dasgupta, a noted poet from West Bengal, India translated into English. You get to see Prabir Roy’s short-stories in the anthology which I translated in English from the original Bengali, written by Prabir Roy. I just love to write and translate. Though Poetry is my genre, an essay or two can never be avoided.
Since you have asked that how my experience has helped me towards those submissions, I have to share my fairy tales with you! LOL!!!
Playing with words remains my passion till today. The only book which I love to read and study again and again, is a Dictionary by Collins Cobuild Advanced Dictionary of English which my father had gifted when I was in my 1st year of Dentistry. This book transformed my life and compelled me to study and write English. I had spent hours with this dictionary and still I spend. In fact, it remains on my bed-side table. I had my childhood education in a renowned English-medium school, St. Xavier’s Institution, Panihati, West Bengal, India. My affinity towards the language grew during my infant-days. I used to have few wonderful English Teachers at school. Later in my life, I developed flair in writing articles (in English) as a freelance journalist. I am yet to gather the finer nuances of English language. And seriously, I prefer to be game about it.
I was quite successful as a journalist, along with my senior colleague Mr. Falguni Maji. Later we started reviewing scientific pages and articles in the famous English daily, The Telegraph, published from Calcutta. My writing faced a semicolon as I started practicing Dentistry. I used to be absolutely absorbed in my practice, hence had no time to pursue my dream of being a writer. I practically forgot to write except for the prescriptions which I handed-over to my patients. As I got a job with the Government, I needed to relocate at a remote village where I had to treat the rural patients. And soon I found myself confined within the hospital premises. It was taxing, it was killing, actually! My dream as well as my passion was about to wash out completely when I got spiritually initiated by the World Kriyayoga Master, Dr. Ashoke Kumar Chatterjee. My life took a U-turn ! It is entirely God’s wish that I am here again, exchanging views on my passion, which is WRITING.
The Book Rack: I have noticed you are very well mannered in an age when it is getting harder for find such things in other cultures. Can you please tell us how giving respect and receiving the same in return help with your daily business being a dentist?
Dr. Sengupta: ‘Being mannered’ is something which you primarily imbibe from your parents. Next, schooling plays a great role. I am blessed to have an academically and culturally accomplished family comprising of my father, mother, my wife and my son. As far as my practice is concerned, Dentistry is said to be a summation of art and science and is one of the finest fraternities of Surgery. Here ‘precision’ is the keyword. And with precision comes honor.
In my clinic I am not necessarily a soft-spoken Dentist, by that I don’t mean to be rude to my patients. My strategy is to deliver facts straight away. At times a little smile helps to alleviate the apprehension which is a common factor amongst dental patients.
The Book Rack: You also translate written works from your native Bengali into English. That must be a truly fulfilling endeavor. How do you feel about making works of your countrymen available to others who wouldn’t have a chance to enjoy these works of art without your translations?
Dr. Sengupta: Translation is said to be a thankless job. I find it extremely challenging indeed. As a matter of fact, I do translation of others’ works; I prefer not to do mine, for I may get biased towards my composition. There is no place of biasness in the act of translation. I enjoy doing translation specially for International Journals so that the flavor of the original writings may reach to a wider population of readers. For instance, I have worked with an eminent Associate Professor Dr. Uttam Kumar Datta who works in the department of Bengali, B.T & Evening College, Cooch Behar, West Bengal, India. He is a wonderful poet but prefers not to come in the limelight. I have translated a couple of his Bengali poems and one of his translated poems has found a place in Taj Mahal Review (June 2013 issue), an International Journal published from India. It really feels so nice, Crystal.
The Book Rack: As a member of Indies In Action working on Twist of Fate, you have worked with people from all over the world. What do you feel you have offered the group and the book and what have you learned from both?
Dr. Sengupta: Apart from my submissions (literary work and a few snaps), I could come in close contact with a couple of contributors. I interviewed them, interacted with them and have tried to probe their dedication towards the group, Indies In Action. They are some amazing personalities. I am fortunate to have interviewed W.F.Lantry, Terry Lucas, Allison Bruning etc to name a few. In a nutshell, I have confidently tried to offer my expertise to the group and to the anthology as well!
The Book Rack: Thank you for sharing your valuable time with me. I truly appreciate it. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Sengupta: Thanks once again for your questions. It is indeed wonderful to have you as my interviewer. I will conclude with the famous quote, “Always be a poet, even in prose”. This is by Charles Baudelaire, a noted French poet.