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When Sibram was upset with Sarat Chandra

23 November, 2017 13:09:50
When Sibram was upset with Sarat Chandra

Travel into the world of literary puns and self-deprecating humour with none other than Shibram Chakraborty. And just have a laugh, and why not? This world seems to be missing humour these days. Remember how the author spelt his name? In that convoluted way: Shee-bram Cho-ko-ro-bo-ro-ty. He would often put himself into his stories amongst fictional characters. The most famous and recurring characters in his stories are the siblings, Harshabardhan, Gobardhan and Bini.

Chakraborty was a prolific author and contributed some outstanding works to Bengali literature, but he never documented his writings. A free-spirited soul, he lived life on his own terms. But laughter can also hide tears at times. And this king of humour was deeply affected once by none other than novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, who he admired a lot. However, that relation later turned into life-long distrust, resentment and enmity. He could not forgive Sarat Chandra till his last breath. But why so?

Shibram was then an upcoming author who literally worshipped Sarat babu. He had written a book and was scouring for a publisher, and to make his case stronger, Chakraborty approached Sarat Chandra and requested him to write the foreword. Sarat Chandra’s recommendation would ensure any publisher’s mercy. Sarat Chandra had obliged but the relationship ended abruptly.

Sarat Chandra’s novel Dena Paowna was later written as a play by Shibram and he named it Shoroshi. The play was sent to be published in the renowned Bengali literary magazine, Bharati. However, when the magazine was published, everyone was shocked to see the name of Sarat Chandra as the author of the play instead of Shibram who deserved the credit.  When Shibram demanded to know the reason for replacing his name, the editor explained the name of a renowned novelist would help boost sales. He next took the play to actor/director Shishir Kumar Bhaduri. Bhaduri was ecstatic after reading the play.

Shoroshi was performed on stage and was a major hit. This was also a time when playwright Shibram was going through acute financial stress. One day he met Shishir Babu in the green room and requested for some advance amount from the profits of the show. Shishir Babu assured to help him and announced a special benefit show for Shibram. However, when he arrived, Shishir Babu said Shibram had arrived late and Sarat Chandra had walked in a little while ago after the show and had walked away with the entire proceeds of the day. Shibram was shocked.

He was astounded and asked, “What? Didn’t you tell him about me?” Shishir Babu said, “Yes I told him, but Sarat Chandra said, “Oh what will Shibram do with the money? He is a bachelor, and doesn’t have kids or family to look after.” Shishir Babu said, “I insisted that he (Shibram) needs the money desperately and he will be here any minute now. Please do keep some amount for him.” Hearing this, Sarat Chandra retorted, “No no. Why should I share the proceeds of the benefit show with him? Tonight, the tickets were sold in my name. How can Shibram claim stake to my fame and money?”

However, Shishir Babu asked him to wait for a while and said, “Shibram babu,please spell your name, I will write a cheque from whatever I have.” “But I don’t have any bank account,” Shibram said. “Okay in that case, I am giving you this self cheque, please encash the amount from the bank. I don’t have any more money, otherwise I would have given you that too. Please forgive me.” He gave Shibram Rs 120.

Shibram was heart-broken. His respect and adulation for the renowned novelist was shattered. Shibram never criticized anyone, not even his worst detractors, but he could never forgive or forget his encounter with Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.

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