lost soul 2

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Book Review : Shamsuddin's Grave - Paromita Goswami

Busy days, running for MBA interviews, and when a Book was arrived to me from The tales Pensieve for review, Shamshuddin’s Grave by Paromita Goswami, I couldn’t read it earlier, however i wanted to.
but now everything is over and finally I got time to read it in one night. 

Latika’s wrecked personal front leaves her completely shattered. So when her ailing father reveals his desire to go back home, she doesn’t think twice and moves to her hometown. She joins an NGO and comes across a teenager rape victim. Much against her TL, Debjyoti’s wish she sets out to trace the girl with Shamsuddin’s help. Will she succeed or end up in big trouble?
Shamsuddin, a daily labourer, somehow manages to thrive in the city. Meanwhile, flood devastates his house in the village. His family takes refuge in a relative’s place where his wife has a tough time resisting to the advances of her brother-in-law. Can Shamsuddin arrange for an accommodation before it is too late?
Set in Guwahati amid the backdrop of flood and ethnic turmoil, “Shamsuddin’s Grave”, is the story of migration towards big cities for a better life.

About Author:
computer programmer by qualification, Paromita Goswami has successfully carved a niche for herself as a marketing professional with top companies. Ten years into the job she quit it to take up writing as a full time career. Since 2009 she has been freelancing as a travel writer and blogger on many online sites including Articlebase, EzineArticles, Linkroll, Circumference, world66. A big fan of Indian Cinema, Paromita loves to read Bengali classics.

My views:

Hats off to Paromita Goswami, author of Shamsudin’s Grave, for writing such a good novel. 
This novel is different, it’s not a story of an MBA Guy, not a story of an engineer, not a story of high class of society, it’s about a daily wage labourer, his plight, his struggle, and a young lady Latika, who explores her different aspect of life along the story of Shamsuddin, and the story represents a real life story, not so perfect, just like real life, where we face different situations, different emotions. 

Story starts at shamsuddin’s life, who is currently living at the barn of Snehlata, a middle aged Hindu lady, who in spite of all social boundation, give a Muslim shelter in her house. 

Shamsuddin shares his past life, he has been one of so called Bangladeshi emigrants, having no any documentary proof of being Indian, he, his father, grandfather has never thought of making any kind of certificates, they have thought of how to full fill their basic needs. Assam, where most of the area are affected due to flood, he comes out of his village, to Guwahati, in search of Job, but he face the cruel reality of so called city life. in village, he was hungry, but he had family, he had a home, here he struggle to find a job, a shelter and somehow manages to live with one of his friend and then with  a Hindu lady Geeta, who exploits him, abuses him. Geeta’s husband has left her, in day time, she works as maid and at night she works a local hooker. Away from his home, Shamsuddin, falls in the trap of all bad habits, he meets Geeta, during such encounter, and she realizes he is  a simple good man, and she give him shelter, but he do whatever she wants, she abuses, tortures, screw him, she has anger of his husband living her. And she takes revenge from Shamsuddin. He has no option other than to stay with her. Yes! She fulfils his physical needs also.

But he hates his present life. He loves her wife, her children. 

He has come out of his village, so that he can earn money for his family, who are residing with his cousin’s  home, after devastation of his village, his home, his field.  But he doesn’t get so much money, so that he can take them with him at Guwahati. After a long time he goes to his cousin place, only to find that her wife Amina has married his cousin Farruk. He comes back, embarrassed, devastated, and now Geeta to is out of her life.

At such difficult time, he finds shelter at Snehlata’s place. She allows him to live him in her barn along with her cattle, and he helps her, in daily small works.

Then comes our real protagonist, main character of story, Latika, a young beautiful lady, independent, modern thoughts, keen interest in social works, in fact she joins an NGO for full time job in Guwahati, after shifting from Delhi, to live with her father. Then story revolves around the bad conditions of slums, problems, the effort of her NGO and her efforts to keep them in main stream, to help them.

She has kept an protective layer around her, she looks confident, independent and bold girl, ready to do anything she believes in, but she is weak, she is vulnerable, she is emotional, which she hides from the world, from her colleagues, from her team leader Debjyoti, who she likes very much, but she supress her emotions, and when unable to hide it, she avoids him, she shouts at him, she confronts him.

He has also feelings for her, but he don’t disclose her.

She develops some ego after her initial success in her works, and went to slum areas unplanned, unexplored, and has fight with some local goons. Debjyoti asks her, not to venture in those dangerous areas, and she fights her, leaves her office and go to Shilong with her aunt Snehlata, and surprisingly finds Debjyoti with group of his friends, goes to tracking with them, apologies him for her rude behavior, and develops informal friendly relations with him, something more than colleagues.

After spending some days in Shillong, where she meets her aunt childhood friend Monidi, comes back to her work, doesn’t listen to Debjyoti advice and ventures with Shamsuddin in Miya Patti, to find a girl, who was victim of rape and there she got attacked by a man very seriously. She blacks out, blood everywhere. Shamsuddin somehow manages her to take her to hospital. She awakes to find her in a hospital where her father, her aunt and her colleagues Sachin and prachi are there. She searches for Debjoti, but doesn’t find her. She feels angry. He has some place in her heart, what she doesn’t know. But she misses him. He appears before her, and she shouts at him, why he has come there. He deep-down knows why she is showing anger at him. He tells her that she is her responsibility, calms her, and babysits her. But can’t tell simply that he loves her.

After recovering from that accident, she is assigned official and admin works, which she hates so much. she keeps working unofficially to find that girl, and a lady comes her, the same lady, who has help Shamsuddin to take Latika out of their slum area, on the day of her attack, and she finds that he girl is eight month pregnant and her younger sister is missing. She finds the problem of human trafficking on greater scale in those areas, assures the girl that she will help her find her sisters. But they are too afraid to file a police complaints against local goons. Debjyoti find that problem and goes to delhi in search of missing girl. In between her aunt’s friend Monidi dies, she goes with her aunt, calms her during loss of her aunt’s childhood friend.

Here, Debjyoti gets success in rescuing that girl along with others from their captors, with help of Police and Delhi based NGO.

She comes back and whole team has party after their success, where she meet Debjyoti after a long time. After the get together at Nayanmoni, another colleague’s home, she go back.

Debjyoti has to go back to Shillong, Latika offers him lift to Bus stand, but due to very bad weather, and heavy pouring, she headed to his home, to drop him.

Near Ddebjyoti’s home, her car stops, and they go to his home on foot. She falls down in potholes and has sprained ankle. He helps her to his home.

Both close, together, in home, no electricity, dark, she wants that closeness pleasant. He changes clothes and offers her to change. She goes to bathroom, wears his clothes. She feels he emotions out of her control. The feeling towards Debjyoti  gets multiplied many times and they both knows, and kisses each other passionately.

Then she realises something. Her protective layer has broken. She has become weak. She doesn’t want to, after painful separation from his ex-Husband Siddhratha. She weeps, accuses him of taking advantage of her. Debjyoti, who has true feelings for her, tells all that he loves her so much, from the first day, they have meet, proposes her, shares his past, his present, his life, about the demise of her wife and about her daughter Kuki.

Misconception between them gets cleared and they hug each other and kiss passionately. And decides to marry after Debjyoti comes from his new assignment from Delhi.

We witness the different aspect of Latika’s nature, her fears, her emotions, her love, her sorrows, which were hidden somewhere. But she is happy now. She thinks of telling her father someday at right time.

It is raining heavily and many areas get affected due to flood. Government along with NGO helps people in Camps, where Shamsuddin finds her daughter, her husband and his granddaughter. He helps them to find a rented room, takes them away from Camp, and leaves the house of Snehalata, where he has spent 10 years. He thanks Allah for giving her family back with him, and helps them, all the way he can do.

The story seems so prefect happy ending.

Shamsuddin is happy with his family.

Snehlata and Latika’s father are happy for Latika, who is going to marry Debjyoti very soon after he comes back from Delhi.

Debjyoti comes back from his assignment, and the couple has their time together. They make love. They kiss, they sleep, they have sex, and most important they find themselves complete in each other arms. They plan to meet his daughter. And when she meets Kuki, his daughter, she develop a inseparable bonds, a child longing for a mother, find her mother in Latika. Their family unites and ring ceremony takes place in presence of their relatives.

Festival season has come. Eid and Durgapuja has come. People are in joyful moods everywhere, be it city, or slum.

But god has his own ways to punish people for their misdeeds.

Flood comes and along with that comes devastation in the state. Shamsuddin sees his family drowing in front of his eyes, get swayed in the flood. He tries to find them after he is rescued, but no sign of them. Once again his life has destroyed. He fall ill, seriously ill. Latika finds him, takes him to private hospital, but his conditions get worse. He has no desire to live. He is just a living dead.

And he dies.

He sees himself, getting carried away from hospital bed, Snehalata and Latika doing all his last rituals, like he is family to them and feels peace in grave. They were living angels for him.

He soon find out that he is not alone in the graveyard, a full community of people like him are there, he was surprized to find that he has  entered into another man’s grave, and he is asking him to serve him as his rent for sharing his grave.

Story ends dramatically, leaving spirit Shamsudddin bewildered not fining peace after death also, and he doesn’t even has his grave. He repents his decision to heads to the city.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Language: simple, lucid and easy to read.

Story: Reality of life, critical storyline targeting different problems like emigrant problem, human trafficking, rape, flood, where different characters walks through different phases in their life.

Recommendation: A must read for book lovers.

Demerit: Needed some last minute proof reading for grammatical and spelling mistakes like on page no. – 145, 168, 246. Hope they will be corrected in next print.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Other details
Published by: Partridge Publishing
Copyright: Paromita Goswami
Author: Paromita Goswami
ISBN: 978-1-4828-4394-1
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Cover Photo: Krishanu Chatterjee

Shamsuddin's Grave

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