Shambhabi—The Third Eye Imprint held a literary meet that witnessed the formal launch of Bougainvillea and Other Stories by Bitan Chakraborty (translated by Pranab Ghosh) on May 18, 2016 at Eldorado Guest House, Shillong. It is a collection of six short stories which were primarily written in the Bengali language by Chakraborty and they constitute the much talked about book, Santiram-er Cha (Tea by Santiram), published by Shambhabi in January, 2016.
The Bengali original not only received mass applause, it fetched critical acclaim from the researchers and academicians as well. No wonder Bougainvillea and Other Stories has turned out to be a bestselling title in the United States of America even before it hits the Indian market. While commenting on the book, Dustin Pickering, who is a well-known poet and critic in Houston (Texas, USA) and the editor-in-chief of Harbinger Asylum, said, “Clearly the author is a sympathizer with humanity—a humanist, a traditionalist who recognizes the troubles of modern technology and commercialism, and a sincere and imaginative storyteller who can capture your mind as long as you are ensconced within his stories.”
Bougainvillea and Other Stories was formally launched by eminent poets, Robin Ngangom, Ananya S Guha, and Desmond Kharmawphlang, three of the major poets in North-East India. They were felicitated by Shambhabi Samman 2016 for their outstanding contribution to Indian literature. They spoke highly about the book and discussed the importance of translating fiction and poetry into other languages for wider and global dissemination of literature.
Bestselling author and poet, Kiriti Sengupta, who is based in Calcutta, was present in the event and he emphasized on the element of magic realism as found in the stories written by Bitan Chakraborty. Sengupta was in conversation with the author and poets and moderated the event with élan.
It was Sengupta who asked the author about his adherence to the middle class and lower middle class Bengali populace, and Chakraborty said, “Downtrodden people, middle class and lower middle class Bengali families and their lives have been my inspiration. We essentially ignore the basics of Indian constitution that has been primarily formed to protect and uplift the interests of the underprivileged.”
The event ended with a reading session by the local poets.