Subrat Kumar Senapati hang hails from Remuna, Balasore pursuing his Ph.D at OUAT,Bhubaneswar. He is passionate about flowers and horticulture and perhaps, that sensitivity is reflected in his poems and writing-
Interview by Pratyush Mishra
PM-A very good morning to you, Subrat! How are you doing?
SKS- I am fine, bhai! Thank you.
PM- Let us begin with the videos on Facebook featuring your beautiful poetry recitals. These have garnered quite a good number of followers. So how did you come up with this idea?
SKS- In the endless cloud of teeming poets and equally massive amount of poetry, it has become very important to seek out the really good poems. Though there is continuous propagation and advertisement of literature on the social media platform, yet I feel that this phenomenon is more person oriented or self-advertising oriented. It is not for the sake of literature itself. I was often struck by a recurring thought that what about those poets or writers who choose not to advertise or propagate their literature; have we forgotten them …will we forget them? (Of course! The creators may be forgotten but even if he or she has given this world one beautiful piece of literature, us not reading that piece could only be termed as foolishness on our part!) These persistent thoughts subsequently led to this small effort on my part and this fascinating process akin to a sadhana, still continues.
PM- According to you , who is that one poet/writer almost nobody knows about yet one should read for sure?
SKS- To know more about the fascinating creation of an individual -that is far more important than knowing about the poet/writer. I don’t believe that nobody knows them rather we haven’t given them the kind of attention they deserve. “ SABUJA ANDHAR” “ETHI GOTEY GAAN THILA” BY RASHMI ROUL, “AJANMAA” BY SUCHETA MISHRA, DEBASHISHU BY SUSMITA BAGCHI- as far as I know, these are some examples that have reached very few people . Likewise, the propagation and marketing of many such wonderful collections and books are not being given that much of importance.
PM- “ANUTAPA”- it was your first published work and first to be awarded as well! At what point in life did you feel inclined towards writing short stories?
SKS- Yes, “ ANUTAPA” was my first story to be published and I was awarded the Katha Nabapratibha Puraskar in 2012.
See, life itself is a story. At every crossing, a multitude of characters are seen moving about. From every alley or nook- one can hear their voices-some have clarity while others are obscure. When these voices incessantly strike a chord in the subtle meshwork of my creative, it takes the form of a story.
PM- Do you think that man is essentially a passionate animal?
SKS- Without romance, love or passion – Can there be life? Is it possible to survive in the arid deserts without a soothing oasis?
PM- How different do you feel is the passion of a creative individual from that of one who is not?
SKS- In my opinion, every individual, every created being is potent enough to be creative! Every creation is creative, by default! May be this phenomenon is e xpressed by varied individuals through diverging and varying range of expressions. We spout it forth through the medium of words, yet others are inclined to express those feelings and emotions in variety of means and ways-all the way along in their day to day lives. Because if they weren’t doing that, from where would we be getting content for creative writing. Simple!
PM- Your poems bring out the fragrance of human emotions and tease borders of that which cannot be expressed easily. Tell us, what fascinates you the most about human emotions?
SKS- Is it possible to say when and how which emotion or feeling would erupt forth in the utter lone silence of my mind? Feelings are analogous to stubborn young women! (Smiles) Whenever any feeling or emotion sticks up its head in my mind’s landscapes, it flows down into my works. That is all, I can say.
PM- Did you ever try to force out a poem or exert any kind of control on your process of writing?
SKS- Is writing literature the same as cultivating vegetables? If it is so, then we may hope for off-season cultivation or forceful cultivation! Let the writer be free when it comes to literature. I firmly believe that there should be no bondage neither forceful persuasion-absolutely no tug-of-war when it comes to creativity. Let it breathe a little and flow on at its own pace.
PM- What does Subrat Senapati hate the most about himself as a human being, as a student and as a poet?
SKS- I don’t hate anything per se , however; what I do hate deeply is to be caged by hollow principles and empty bundles of morality and in the process killing out my wishes and desires of the heart. Yes, I hate that absolutely!
PM- Which writers or poets in Odia do you always look forward to read? Because apparently you are one avid reader of literature!
SKS- I don’t believe in reading any one specific or there isn’t a thing that I will always read a specific set of poets, that doesn’t sit well with me. Still I could say that I love the works of Prativa Ray, Biyot Pragnya Tripathy, Rashmi Roul, Sucheta Mishra, Kshirod Das,Sushmita Bagchi, Hiranyamayee Mishra, Jashodhara Mishra, Saqti Mohanty,Chirasree Indrasingh Chittaranjan Nayak, Mamatamayee Choudhury, Gayatree Saraaf, Suryasnata Tripathy, Badal Mohanty,Pabitra Mohan Dash,Durga Prasad Panda, Mamata Dash, Sarojini Sahoo and Surendra Mohanty
PM- Wow! That is one long list!
– Now which format do you find more challenging as a format – the story or the poem? Why?
SKS-A seriously creative individual would find both of them challenging. You see he or she will savor the challenge at hand. With a bit of tussle, is it easy to craft a genuinely good piece?
PM- According to you what cd be the greatest achievement for a poet/writer?
SKS- What more than the love of readers and people!(smiles)
PM-According to you, which theme has been underrated and finds very less representation in current Odia literature?
SKS- There are many such topics and subjects that have not been discussed that well in Odia in recent times. Where does one find writings on prevalent political mores and scenario or there analyses? What about sexuality? Even now erotic literature is neither handled nor accepted well by many! The approach towards sexuality and orientation is often found to be mangled and distorted, I must say!
There haven’t been many works on and about the Third Gender or the LGBTQ community in Odia literature. Forget these, can you come up with one protagonist in our literature who happens to be handicapped or differently able?( Well,in DEBASHISHU, Susmita Bagchi has shed light on this issue but still the protagonist is not someone who is physically disabled!). Likewise there are many such topics or issues that can be and should be addressed to in Odia literature. But that is what I personally feel!
PM- Do you endorse the use of overt sexual tones in writing ? Will it be able to justify subtle undercurrent of psyche and the process of human sexuality?
-If human beings derive a form of bliss during sexual activities and they experience it with freedom, then why should literature put a lid on the same. Shouldn’t literature be free too.
See, this body is a proof of us being alive – without the body there is no life, no mind, no creativity. If literature speaks on and about human existence, why be restricted on writing about this aspect of life.
I believe the biological fluids and tissues create the scaffold for new dreams and aspirations – tears, sweat all of them.
No, I don’t support the use of blatant sexual tones in any work. But it is the duty of literature to encompass newer ideas thoughts and reality. To be conscious and aware of own body that is what literature should aim at.
Of course, it can’t be vulgar nor tasteless, let the skills of the writer take a driver’s seat in artfully expressing these truths. That is all I can say!
PM- Speaking straight from your heart, Subrat. One more question that I believe our readers would like to know for sure . Who are the individuals that helped shape the writer/poet in you and have stood by you so far in this journey?
SKS-This path of my creative pursuits is essentially my own. I would advise to walk unanchored on this path. Otherwise it could prove disastrous for own creativity. You cannot go on to write something with a bundle of preconceived notions. One never knows when such notion could create a pathological fear within oneself and slowly decimate creativity. To walk with grit and alone, on this path is therefore essential.
PM- Thank you for this candid conversation but I would like to intrude a bit and ask what does Subrat have in the pipeline for his readers ( laugh)
SKS- I will try to come up with some good stories in the future and I hope the readers will find it fulfilling enough.
PM- Thank you Subrat. Have a nice day !
SKS- You are welcome. You too!