It is always a delight to see youngsters picking up literature over Bollywood – in this case Bengali literature and read how it is presented
By Somashis Gupta
The trip to Mondarmoni, the beach resort in Midnapore was unplanned. But this fortuitous event was propitious as it restored my faith – faith that the younger generation will continue charming the world with Bengali literature. This is how it happened….
I had athought on the beaches of Bay of Bengal. I realised ‘what a wonderful world it is.’ This ardor was interspersed by a lively rendering of Charpotro, a poem which thrills me each time I hear it. Walking towards the sound, I found a young group at the lawn of The Retreat, my abode for the next four days.
I approached the group saying, ‘That was outstanding. It gives me great pleasure to see young people like you take interest in Bengali literature, as these daysteenagers are more influenced by Bollywood.’
“Thank you,” replied a young man, who introduced himself as Anirban.
“So you all are friends?” I enquired.
“Yes we are,” he said “and we are here to celebrate the success of Rusteze.”
“Rusteze?” I was surprised.
“Rusteze is our YouTube channel” explained Anirban “we do audio books.”
“Sounds Interesting. So what kind of books do you do?” Books always gets my instant interest.
“We mostly read Bengali authors,” said the young man named Rij, “but we also tried one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
“Sherlock Homes?” I guessed.
“Yes” replied Anirban.
“So are you all staying in this hotel?” I asked them in the hope that I would get to enjoy some company.
“We are now, we were not earlier,” informed a girl named Neha.
“I am confused,” I replied. “Well…” and they narrated it this way…
“Well, well, I do not know if that hotel is haunted or notbut your story telling definitely intrigues me. So how did you all start?”
“It all started in Bardhaman,” stated Sreelekha, “it is Anirban and Rej who pioneered the idea.”
“How so?” I asked the two boys.
“We are basically musicians,” started Anirban “I play the drum and Rej the guitar. So once the pandemic toned down, we went for a trip to Putulpur of Bardhaman.”
“It is a place which works as a catalyst to one’s creative cells” Rej added “with trees all around, sound of birds singing etc. In short it gives you an insight into Bibhutibushan’s stories.”
“That day after dinner, we went out in the lawn and played some audio stories in YouTube” continued Anirban “following which we shared our own paranormal experiences.”
“Yes.A ghost is something which always intrigues everyone,” I commented.
“Shoumo my cousin was also present,” he continued “he is a person who is obsessed with the concept of ghosts, and we started narrating spooky stories, just for fun. It was than when an idea clicked our mind.”
“And what is that?” I asked
“We decided to start our own story channel on YouTube”
“That indeed is brilliant,” I encouraged.
“We launched our channel on the 26th of February this year” said Arijit “and our first story was ‘The Cyclist’ by Himadri Kishore Dasgupta”
“Remarkable. So this is how it all started?”
“It was just a thought which took shape after we met Suman da,” Arijit said and pointed to a tall man who had remained quiet all this while. “And then?” I asked Suman.
“The first thing which struck me,” started Suman “is there courage, the courage to live a dream? I personally always wanted to do this, but never could materialize my ideas.”
“So tell me, how do you select your stories?” I asked the group.
“Suman da reads, selects, does the script and then we do our recording,” Shuvam informed.
“So Suman, you seem to be a bibliophile, when did you start reading?” I asked as these days I don’t find too many young people indulge in the habit of reading.
“Right from early childhood” replied Suman. “My father, who is a bibliolater himself, handed me down this hobby.”
“Yes, reading is something which comes from heredity” I expressed “So what kind of books fascinates you?”
“Bibhutibhushan has always been a strong influence. I literally used to dream about Africa after reading Chader Pahar.”
“The experience is mutual,” I was enthused.
“Besides Bibhuti babu I am particularly fond of Buddhadeb Guha’s writings,” Suman added.
“So you do your audios on these writers mainly” I assumed.
“On the contrary we pick up stories randomly. You see what I like may not be by listener’s choice.” Suman corrected “We have done a blend of comedy, horror, romance etc.”
“I am impressed” I appreciated
“We also did our own originals – Parabar” he added and shared the story…
“This is wonderful, I am impressed indeed. Tell me something, I could hear music along with the audio, where do you download them from?” I asked
“We create our own music, in fact Rej is our technical champ, he is a musician himself” informed Neha.
“This is smart” I commented “this will also help you to avoid copyright issues”
“Talking of copyrights, I remember in one of our stories we faced 6 copyright issues” informed Suman “Rej just took half an hour to recompose the music and republished it”
“Really talented, I must say” I was impressed, “So what are the stories you have done so far?”
“The first story as I told you was Cyclist, which is horror, next we moved on the nonsense rhyme in the form of Hingshute by Sukumar Ray, then we did Baba by Bibhuti Babu which gives a social message, forth we did our original, parbar which is a romantic story”
“Interesting,” I said “what after that?”
“Then we decided to do Petuk which again is a complete comedy, followed by a scare alert Mrs. Kumodini Chaudhury” informed Piyali.
“That is a totally different story, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yes it takes you back to the days of Thakurmar Jhuli, these days we see sci-fi horror, so we may not feel scared of Kumodini but it takes us back to our childhood, that was the thought when we did this.”
“Did you try any Bomkesh?”
“We did, Rokther Daag”
“Since it was a big hit we followed it with ‘A scandal in Bohemia’”
“An ensemble collection indeed” I expressed “so how many stories did you do as of now?”
“As of now we have done around 20 stories.”
“Nothing on Tagore?”
“Yes on 25e Boishak,” informed Rishikesh “we did Nishite”
“Hmm quite sensible, as it is uncommon” I appreciated.
“We started this channel with a thought that, it is our responsibility to showcase Bengali literature to the present generation, and as you know the GenX is more interested in the audio format hence audio book channel. That is what will help them understand the greatness of our writers.”
I could relate it with the present times where time is timed with caution. Hence time centric entertainment like audio books or short videos is more relatable to the society of present time. By this time, time did not refrain from timing, and it was time for my timely dinner, so I timed my next statement. “Adios my friends until the next time.”
What's Your Reaction?
A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.