I love BuzzFeed India videos like most of you. Every time I watch Shayan Roy, I wonder, is he a high school student! Year after year, when I saw him never changing, the way he looks, I decided to interact with him and ask, “Hey bro, are you suffering from the curious case of Benjamin Button syndrome?” Well, he is kind enough to give answer to this silly query and more. So, read on to find out more about his life…….
Are you suffering from the curious case of Benjamin Button syndrome, as the years pass away, why are you getting younger?
It is honestly a little concerning to me. I am almost 30, but still I look like I’m about to hit 20. I’m not sure why this is happening, but I’ve been told that the older I get, the more of a compliment this becomes for me. However, I’m still expecting a sudden moment in time, where I’ll just wake up one day and look 45 with no prior warning. Nothing lasts forever.
2) What do you add in a cake, sugar or salt or both? Elucidate
(A little history: In one of the BuzzFeed video, he is seen to be adding salt into the cake batter)
This is reminiscent of a question I might have had to answer in an exam once… hahaha. From prior experience, I’d say that, you can add both salt and sugar, or either of the two, or neither of them. A cake is such a relative thing. What might be a cake to me may not be a cake to you, and vice-versa. Have you ever heard of crab cakes? That’s a real thing, and it’s definitely not a cake to me. Maybe it’s not a cake even to a crab. But to some, it is a beautiful cake, and we must understand and appreciate their choice and hope that they respect our choices as well.
3) Now that you are not a part of the Buzzfeed videos, how do you channelize your immense creativity?
I’m still doing the occasional BuzzFeed videos, so that it helps me channel whatever creative energy I have inside me. Apart from that, I’m mostly making memes for my Instagram page, and occasionally, making music and releasing it on Spotify.
When I quit my full-time job at BuzzFeed, I had some grand plans to tour the country as a musician and also take on other exciting new creative projects. However, the pandemic hit about three months in, and I’ve honestly really struggled with trying to be creative since then. This period has become more about self-care, keeping sane, and understanding who and what is important to me in the long run, and coming out of the pandemic in good health, not just physically, but mentally as well. I have a lot of memes and a lot of music in me. They can wait.
4) Do you have plans to write a book or something; as most Bengali’s do?
I think writing a book takes a lot of patience and commitment, both of which I lack. I also have no idea what I’d write a whole book about. If anything, I could probably write a book about ‘reasons why I am writing a book’ and it isn’t a bad idea. Then there’s the question of who would read such a book. There’s only a limited number of times even I’d read my own book. I think, I’ll stick to making videos and music.
5) Most of the people know who Shayan Roy is, however have you ever wondered who you are. Who do you think you are? An artist, content creator, a musician or …………..
Every morning I wake up and I ask myself the same question. I have no clue who I am (metaphorically speaking), and I find it hard to categorize myself in any particular profession or discipline.
As a kid, I wanted to be a journalist. By the time I realized what it takes to be a journalist; I’d lost interest in it. When I reached college, I wanted to be a musician. Never saw myself as being a content creator where I’ve found the most success. But I often find myself being very bored of doing the same thing too frequently.
Right now, I just want to be content with where I am in life. I think the pandemic gave me the time to sit down by myself and realize that I’ve constantly chased success and validation in my life, and never really realized what I had achieved because I’ve always been so restless and discontent with my situation at the time. If the version of me from 10 years ago could look into the future, I think he’d be pretty proud of everything I had made and been a part of.
(6) What do you see the top 3 best qualities in an artist?
I think a good artist needs to be brave, relentless, and honest.
When I say brave, I don’t mean in the same way as a firefighter or a frontline worker. Those are the people who are actually courageous and put their lives on the front line for others. But in the context of someone who creates, I think one needs to have the determination to go where others aren’t willing to go, in an artistic sense.
I’ve also realized that talent can only get you so far. Artists can be overflowing with talent, but there’s no substitute for hard work, and some people realize that too late in their life. A hard working person is more likely to be successful than a talented person. So, one must be obsessed with what they’re trying to achieve.
Finally, to be a good artist, you have to be true to yourself and who you are and what you like to do. If you pretend to be someone else, even if it brings you momentary success, I don’t see that as something that can last in the long run.
7) How fast do you learn your script or do you act spontaneously?
I’ve done both scripted and non-scripted videos. I’m definitely more comfortable when there’s no script involved, but even with scripts, I’m usually going to learn the outline of the dialogues and try to bring something funny and unique to the table with it.
8) By the way, did you learn how to make the south Indian coin porotta (*South Indian way of pronouncing it)?
(*A tad bit of history again: in another Buzzfeed video, Shayan failed to make Paratha, the South Indian way)
I am never going to learn how to make a porotta. I might one day finally learn how to pronounce it properly, but as for eating it, I’m always going to order it from a restaurant. Let’s leave this one to the experts.
9) What are your future plans?
Since the pandemic hit, I’ve realized that the best plan is having no plan. If I plan too much, I just end up disappointing myself. I definitely have a vague idea of where I want to be in a few years time, but for now I’m taking each day as it comes, and trying to be a better musician, creator and person with each passing day. Can’t really control or plan much beyond that at this point.
10) Due to the lockdown, border closings etc. most artists are in trouble and out of job; Please give tips, the Shayan’s way of using creativity during these difficult times.
Don’t give up on your dreams. I know a lot of people and friends who have been hit really hard by the pandemic. I’m one of them too, but I know that many people have it far worse. Take this time to become better at your craft, whatever that may be. You’re probably never going to get another opportunity like this where there are so few things to distract you.
I know that’s easier said than done though, because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed (even if it’s just your own mouth). Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to offer help to someone, for fear of them being embarrassed either. There’s no shame in reaching out. We have to remember that no matter what our profession is, each of us has our own community, and we’re going to help each other out through this troubled time.
11) A message to all who love your videos
I love you and appreciate each and every one of you so, so much – everyone who has watched our videos and have shown love to me, my collaborators, and especially my family. I never expected to have this in my life, and I haven’t always appreciated it. But it’s a special feeling. I don’t know how many people get to experience something like this in their lifetimes. I just hope, I can continue to keep doing so in my career. I feel like there’s a lot more left to be made, and to be said. I hope, I get the opportunity to do that, and I hope to have you all come along on that journey with me. Thank you.
An End Note
Shayan Roy gives away the impression of a next door boy. In all his videos, memes and music; there is always something that we all can relate to. If lockdown is bugging you and you are in search for a reason to smile, you must definitely follow him on YouTube and Instagram.
Check out: https://www.instagram.com/shayanroy/?hl=en
Stay Safe and Keep Smiling.