Ekla Cholo re by Rabindranath Tagore is one of my favourite songs and when I received an email from the author to review their book, I jumped at the chance and one thing is for sure, I did not regret it. I would like to thank the authors Shayan Haq and Santosh Avvannavar for sending me a review copy of the book. Though, it is a story that can be read in a single sitting but what it portrays leaves a mark so deep.
Set in the backdrop of 1990 Calcutta, She is a story about finding one’s own identity in spite of all odds. The story spins around the life of Kusum, a brave heart whose identity is often untitled and blurred; it does not belong anywhere, definitely not under the ‘he’ or ‘she’ bracket, thanks to our social conditioning. Will she be successful in her mission? Find out in She, an utterly absorbing read that derives inspiration from Tagore’s “Ekla Cholo Re” song, which urges everyone to move on despite the fear of abandonment from others.
The story is set in 1990 in Kolkata. Raj loves going on long drives because he finds them a stress-buster. On one of such drives, he sees a lady standing near a lamp post on the isolated road. He offers her a lift, she agrees and they get talking. She tells him about her childhood, the society in general and the stereotypical nature allotted to the genders by the society. The story ends when he drops her home after the drive and she asks his name.
A short fifty paged story which touches a very sensitive issue written in a simple language. The plot is simple and the narration is good. The characters have been well carved. I felt for Kusum, the female protagonist, who was never allowed to express herself during her childhood due to societal pressure. There would be many such Kusums in the society who are still struggling to break free. The add-on is the entire lyrics of the song.
I would recommend this book to everyone as it is an eye-opener.