The story in Life…Love…Kumbh… is told from the perspective of the three main characters- Annant, Agastaya, and Aditi. Their paths cross on January 13, 2010. It is the day before the first of the eleven sacred baths of the Haridwar Maha Kumbh.
The three characters meet each other and exchange their stories. They remember the days gone by and are unsure about what lies ahead.
As the Kumbh Mela draws towards an end, all three of them are thrown into a challenging situation that they have to face. The book then follows their journey as they try and find answers for their personal quests all at the same time – on life, love, and the thirst for knowledge.
What would you expect from a book about Life..Love and Kumbh? Philosophy, for one. Spirituality, the next, perhaps. The author himself had cautioned that it is a difficult read, which was the main reason I didn’t want to rush through the book. Not having read adequate number of books on Kumbh, and having read arguably one of the best among them (Amrito Kumbher Sandhane, Bangla, by Kaalkut), I had my own expectations. A fellow blogger had joked a few days back about Bengalis reading on all possible topics in Bangla and finding everything else predictable. I wouldn’t argue much. My apologies, if I have rated another book on the same topic higher.
First and foremost, this is one book where I have no complaint with the content, but I was put off by the form. There are typographical and grammatical errors in the first few pages and it continues well beyond. I don’t know if the editors hadn’t touched the manuscript at all. The punctuation is clumsy, too many short sentences are clustered to form a huge one and the reader is bound to get lost at the end of each sentence. I am not fond of such style of writing, it strains my eyes as well as my psyche. Something I didn’t like – an obvious mistake “Ekla Chalo be..”, which would surely irk a lot of people, Bengalis aside. It is also purposefully quite incoherent to extract the essence of chaos. I particularly loved the chapter ‘Morning Snaps’ for its sheer detailing and flavour of the Kumbh. It made me yearn for more chapters of its like, thus reflecting the author’s competence in this genre.
The protagonists cruise through a lot of introspection in the story. Their desires, passions, grief, hatred, and the mundane seconds of their lives are portrayed well. I liked a few things said casually in the story which have a profound impact, like
“Live a death, die a death.”
A lot of allusions are offered to the readers in a platter, from Rushdie to James Joyce to T.S. Eliott. It is up to you which ones you prefer to pick and savour. The author had mentioned that the book has its moments. I sensed so too, there are a lot of scattered moments which could have picked up the story into one behemoth experience.
It is a recommended read for people who would like to taste a dash of philosophy in their routine lives. For those who can, please do read Amrito Kumbher Sandhane too.
My Rating: 3.5/5
About the Author:
Aporva Kala is an explorer of Yogic knowledge. Writing for him is an exercise in creativity, which he says, is a soul song. For the last fifteen years, he has been actively involved in mentoring students in particular and guiding humanity in general to lead a holistic and rewarding lifestyle. Kala imparts yogic techniques through workshops and seminars. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at aporvakala.blogspot.com.
Language: English, Genre: Fiction/Philosophy
Author(s): Aporva Kala
Publisher: Srishti, Year Published: 2011
Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 290
ISBN-13: 9789380349503, ISBN-10: 9380349505
Reviewed for: Author