Sandip’s Bermuda adventures recorded in Bengali book
It is a wonder Sandip Roy has time to sleep.
When he is not working as a police officer, he runs his own restaurant, Roy’s Fine Food. And when he is not doing that, he is writing.
His first book, My Bermuda Diaries, was released two weeks ago in his native Calcutta, India.
“I started writing during the first lockdown,” Mr Roy said. “I was reading an Indian newspaper. They were asking Indians who lived in other parts of the world to describe what life was like where they were during the pandemic.”
Mr Roy contributed a piece on life in Bermuda.
“I got a lot of compliments and interest,” he said. “At that time, no one was doing anything. Everyone was just sitting at home so they had a lot of time to read.”
The positive feedback encouraged him to start writing about his experiences in Bermuda in Facebook posts.
The posts caught the attention of a friend who was a publisher back in India.
“He suggested I turn the blog into a book,” Mr Roy said.
So he did. It took him two and a half years to write My Bermuda Diaries. Earlier this month he travelled home to Calcutta to launch the book. His publisher organised a special ceremony honouring his work. It was attended by hundreds of people, including members of his own family.
“My 16-year-old daughter, Sandtasia, travelled from Bermuda to India on her midterm break because she wanted to see the event,” he said. “She wanted to witness it and I wanted her to witness it so in the future she can feel proud of her father.”
He took gleeful delight in changing his clothes halfway through the event from traditional Indian formal wear to Bermuda shorts.
My Bermuda Diaries is not a travel book, but his take on life on the island.
“I was born and brought up in a conservative family,” he said. “Before coming to Bermuda I never really knew anyone who had children before getting married.”
He also found Bermuda to be a lot more egalitarian than his part of India.
“If you are a billionaire and go to Pickled Onion, you will be treated the same as anyone else,” he said.
Since returning to Bermuda, sales have been going well for his book, which is written in Bengali. His publisher is now talking about getting the book released in English.
Mr Roy first came to Bermuda in 2002 to work as a chef at Cambridge Beaches in Sandys.
He had previously worked on Carnival Cruises and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I came on British Airways and it was sunny,” he said. “It was July. I saw the island and I fell in love. There was a beautiful natural beauty. Dubai had been very beautiful, but artificial.”
After a year at the hotel, he was promoted to sous chef.
Then in 2007, he saw an advertisement for police recruits. The job offered him more money, and he was newly married, so he applied.
“I love this island,” he said. “My wife, Tracy, is Bermudian and my daughter was little at the time.”
On this new career path, he quickly built up a reputation, not just as a police officer, but also as a chef. He often catered for police functions.
“I thought let’s give it a try because people are loving my food, and cooking is my passion,” he said.
So, four years ago he brought it all together to form Roy’s Fine Food in the Police Recreation Club at Prospect. His wife and brother help him with the business.
“All sorts of people come in,” Mr Roy said. “It is not really your typical takeout. The food is more restaurant quality. One of our popular items is pan seared wahoo in wine sauce, for example.”
But he said running Roy’s Fine Food was not always easy.
“Here in Bermuda there are a lot of challenges for a small business,” he said. “Right now the challenge is an increase in the price in the product. Last week, we bought a case of eggs for $88 and now that has gone up to $187. We cannot just increase our prices overnight like that. That is one challenge. Another challenge is that ordinary people have become much more careful about spending money.”
But he is still doing well.
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