Abhijato Sensarma’s story “Satyajit Ray’s Beard or the Lack Thereof” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 11 June 2021.
I’ve always wondered—is it our circumstances that define us, or is it us who define our circumstances? There’s no definite answer, but writing fiction has always been my way of debating the merits of different philosophies.
In this story, I wanted to explore how a fundamentally same person—across both worlds—lives vastly different lives. One’s marriage is on the precipice of collapse; the other’s wife is dying from cancer. One’s career is well-reputed; the other’s is much-maligned. A different social standing in life, then, might just be the result of circumstances beyond one’s control. It calls for the lending of empathy, which we could all do with, especially during times like these.
In my home country of India, there remains a perception that science-related subjects are the most profitable as careers—and thus, the most important as well. Even the most educated people subscribe to this ideology, which simultaneously contributes to the disrepute of both Humanities subjects, as well as a pursual of the arts for a career.
I wanted to see how things would be from a different perspective. So, I focused on how an engineer might feel in an India where it wasn’t them, but the wizards and witches, who would be setting the narrative. The answer circled back to my intent with this piece—all of us deserve empathy, for sometimes, our circumstances might be beyond us even when our fates aren’t.
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