I’m an avid Hindi literature lover because I grew up reading Chandamama, Nandan, Lot pot, Chacha Chaudhary and the short stories of renowned indian authors. The love I hold for that language is simply unparalleled because the raw gravity it holds relates to me on a level unlike any other.
While I have had the fortune to read the works of Tagore, Satyajit Rey, R. K. Narayanan, Premchand’s and others, I have always felt the void of being unable to read the lesser known regional works and authors that have never had the fortune of being translated or seen mass appreciation. When Speaking Tiger Books sent me the quartet of 4 novels by Sudhin N. Ghose, a lost gem of regional literature, I was ecstatic! These 4 titles are his best works and to be able to relive simple, innocent stories of a time bygone was a treat like no other!
Here are the 4 novels in this quartet and I’m actually posting really short blurbs about the story and what I thought about then!
- AND GAZELLES LEAPING : A heartwarming story about a group of little children who along with pets study in an abandoned estate run by Sister Svenska and her helpers. With anecdotes and adventures in their own little bubble, the happiness acts as a protective cloud against things that don’t herald a welcome to the odd group. However, when a big corporation threatens to burst their little cozy bubble of love and innocence, they band together to fight for it. A delightful tale about childhood, innocence, unconditional love and emotions, this tale was the first in the quartet and managed to make me cry at the end! A definite pick up if you are looking for a light, emotional read!
- CRADLE OF THE CLOUDS : When a seemingly normal boy from a village called Penhari Perganas is offered a job in Kolkata, he delves back into his past to find the appropriate career choice for him. From teaching the local children to visiting the local carpenter, he slowly rediscovers his adolescene through the retellings of puranas and stories that bind him to his childhood. A lovely story about growing up in a village with characters that scream of simplicity and innocence!
- THE VERMILLION BOAT : When an orphan finds himself stranded in the metropolis of Calcutta after being cheated by his guardian, he learns to finally understand and accept the huge, intimidating city. This is a book that shows the transformation of a village simpleton who through his struggles and shackles, breaks the norms of the metro and creates his own identity. After the first book, this was my second favourite from the quartet!
- THE FLAME OF THE FOREST :
A young scholar is unable to find his footing in the metro despite his qualifications and slowly runs into a slump when his lover abandons him in his low time. He finds odd jobs writing articles for an American magazine and oddly finds himself drawn to Myna, a pilgrim who claims to be Radha’s handmaiden. Taking up refuge under a tutelage of a waning politician, life turns topsy turvy when the politician’s rival has him arrested and the boy is forced to make a choice to work for the new rival or follow Myna’s path. The last novel in the quartet, it fills you with the same emotions that one might face while choosing tradition and contemporary behaviour. I actually felt a void when this quartet finished and I went back to reread them all until I was satisfied that the stories had become my own.
After waiting their turn for over half a century, these lost gems have seen the modern literary light and have made me relive my childhood spent reading such stories on my terrace. My heartiest thankyou to Speaking Tiger Books for sending me these and reinvigorating the lost love for regional stories!
Until next time!