I love the experience of reading books. It has always taken me to an entirely new world – towards the close vicinity of the characters in the book, and while reading I feel, I am one among them, perhaps a silent spectator of all that’s going around. Quite an uncanny feeling, but I love it nevertheless. Book reading is also quite fascinating, as every one, after reading the book, interprets in his/her own way.
So, in last two weeks, I was able to finish two books; in whatever time I could steal - Chokher Bali, By Rabindranath Tagore (Translated in English), and The Queen of Dreams, By Chitra Banerjee D. And I have already grabbed the next books i.e. Mitch Albom’ The Timekeeper ( book in my bag for commute time) and a classic titled, The Jewel in the Crown”(bed time reading).
So, very briefly let me write about the reading experience of the above two books;
Chokher Bali, as expected, turned out to be a very intense story woven around relationships. The relationship between a mother and his son, the relationship between the son and his wife, between two very close friends and likewise. Of course, deep down it deals with a very intricate issue of young widows in those early eras. Rabindranath Tagore, like I have said before, had a mysterious way of comprehending the deepest emotions going on a woman’s mind, how else could he have expressed them so naturally. The fiction crafted in this book is like a fluctuating graph, with its highs and lows, where in the beginning, the characters are introduced on a happy note, and then like a tornado everything gets tossed and turned and eventually everything calms down. Each character has a key role, so I could not pin down someone as a protagonist but yes, mostly it revolves around the lives of Mahendra, Bonodini, Ashalata and Behari. What’s important and noteworthy here is – the moral of the story – a young widow’s desires does not burn down with her husband’s pyre, and that, she is a human too. But, ultimately in a socially endorsed world, all that matters is the sins and virtues of a person.
Now, the other book. Well, I have read Chitra Banerjee‘s couple of books before, i.e. The Palace of Illusions and Arranged Marriage. Both were very good, however this book, The Queen of Dreams, though deals with something very thrilling, i.e. about a dream-teller, disappointed me. The book turned out to be a mix of so many things that ultimately I had to sit and analyse the crux of it, you know, the essence we all conclude after finishing a book - whether the focus was on the dream teller, or if it were a mother’s (the dream teller) relationship with her divorced daughter, or between the daughter and her ex husband, or if it was the dreamteller’s daughter and her father’s relationship… or about the cliche`d national crisis and its impact. The story definitely seemed to have different characters which were interconnected but in that attempt I guess the whole essence was lost somewhere. Certain things were intriguing like the Eliana, the man who practiced Tai Chi, and the man who was followed by the dreamteller, which led to an accident had no appropriate closure. The metaphors, used often in the book by Chitra were very creatively churned out though, and some of the perspectives of life in general, were good as well.