Book Review : Jao Pakhi

jao pakhiIf you have read any of my reviews on Bangla books, you might be aware that Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is one of my favourite authors. My admiration and awe for his writing cannot be described by just ‘favourite’. The author’s USP is his characterisation – you’d be amazed to get into their psyche peeling off layers from apparently mundane characters. They are people around us, but each with a different story to convey through their eyes or words. Have you ever read an entire novel on dialogues, without a single paragraph of narration? I’ve been learning not only the nuances of fine writing, but more about life in general from this octogenarian author’s works. There’s rarely been a story where he has failed to impress me as a reader.

Jao Pakhi (Fly away, Birdie) is one of the more tender stories with lesser shock value from its characters. It’s the story of a young man named Somen. He’s a rookie just out of college with his dreams still shaping up. His father, a man ruled by his ideals, lives in a village building his own hut and growing his own crops. His mother, however, didn’t leave the city as she raised her two sons and a daughter, married them off and still lives with her family. She wants Somen to begin working and establishing himself in the world like his elder brother Ranen. She wants their father to hand them his money from a policy that is going to mature soon.

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Best Reads of 2015

The year has been tumultuous for various reasons. And yet, sailing through turdy waves, I managed to read 50 books through the year. Few have been good, most have been lukewarm, and some have been great. A little glimpse of the best 5 (in no order) to usher in the new year. Hope you have a great bookish one!

Image Courtesy: Google

Paper Towns by John Green – The tale of Margo and Quentin was quite gripping, getting predictable towards the end, but nonetheless it was chilling in some parts. Wouldn’t rate it higher than The Fault In Our Stars, though both are very different in nature. Paper Towns lacked a little something, I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly, but somehow Margo’s story disappointed me a little. It met my expectations but didn’t exceed them. Still, one of the best I’ve read this year. Hope to read all John Greens and David Levithans in 2016.

ogThe Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – By far the best read this year. I love both her stories and the way she narrates them. There’s pain and love, all mixed up, and that’s what happens when both ends meet. The story about an orphaned girl and her search for destiny in a faraway land touches many chords. Korobi is a delicate yet strong girl, named after the Oleander flower, which is poisonous too. She isn’t, but her destiny is, in the story. Do read if you like complex human relationships.

 

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The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath – The fact I don’t read mythology or fantasy got nullified this year with the #1 Vikramaditya Trilogy. A very engaging read, taut storyline executed wonderfully. Kudos to the author for bringing back Vikramaditya in style. Just to know what happened next to the characters, many of us are waiting eagerly for the sequel.

amy tanThe Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan – Let’s say I like reading cross-cultural stories. Amy Tan is a hugely successful writer and she made her debut in my bookshelf this year. It was such an enriching experience to read about America and rural China in parallel plots, exploring various relationships. The story is laced with rural beliefs, superstitions, folklore, all but relevant in a later life too. Relationships between a Chinese immigrant mother and her her America raised daughter was heartwarming to say the least. I loved the book and next in line is The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan.

noronariNoronari Katha by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay – I perhaps read more Bangla than any other books at any point of time. Can’t shy away from the vast and rich literature my language boasts of. One of my favourite writers is Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. Even though he’s an octogenarian, the stories he writes are relevant forever. Again a complex web of human relationships, mostly between a pair of man and woman, the most primitive relationship. It’s an endearing read that will leave you introspecting on your relationships.

Do tell me how many books you read this year and the ones you loved. Happy 2016.

Book Review : Chakra (Bangla)

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Chakra is a common word in many Indian languages, derived from Sanskrit. It has myriad meanings, the ones among them relevant to this book are: ‘Circle'(of seasons, of life), ‘Wheel'(of time).

Blurb View (Translated):

The story of Chakra consists of love, introspection and breaking free from traditional ideas and practices. It also constitutes a gradual and trustworthy presentation of urban habits invading the simple rural lifestyle. Chakra has narrated the immeasurable properties of life with great care and tenderness.

Review:

Chakra is a Bangla novel by eminent author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. I wonder why I hadn’t come across this one in so many years. I have read the best of Shirshendu in Durbeen, Parthibo and Manabjamin, but missed this one. All of them including Chakra have a very vast milieu as their setting. There are a plethora of characters introduced gradually to the readers, linking them to each other in a complex web of a plot. I’d say Chakra is comparatively less complex in characterization than the other novels but the incidents around each of them are woven very carefully here. As a Shirshendu staple, you will encounter innumerable sub plots arrayed in various strata, none too unworthy for the main plot.

The story revolves around two main protagonists, Amal and Parul. Inspite of being childhood lovers, their marriage does not happen due to a single incident which keeps affecting their lives even two decades later. Shirshendu touches a sensitive issue here, a blur between forced sex in lovers and rape. Parul rejects Amal for forcing sex on her at a tender age of seventeen, and when they meet again after many years, she meets a different Amal. A successful man, married with two kids, returns to their native village and faces the most intriguing question of his life. Does he still love her? Amal’s daughter Sohag shares an unusual relation with Parul, she worships her. Amal’s wife Mona is proud of Parul for rejecting a brilliant man, something that most women don’t have the courage to. He dallies on the verge of insanity, his daughter treads the same path, his father builds a tender relation with both of them.

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