There were two reasons behind picking this book. First is the cover of the book that looked appealing and radiated freshness and second is the publishing house that it came from. It is always good to read debut authors. More so when their writing throws a challenge towards you. Similar thing happened with Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s debut book The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey. In the beginning, I just couldn’t manage to get through the first 20 pages of the book but once I got the hang of the story, I couldn’t put the book down. I must say that the author has put across a stunning debut book.
The book is set up in a village near Jharkhand, West Bengal border named Kadamdihi is about the Baskey family. The story begins with Rupi Baskey giving birth to her first child Jaipal while working in the paddy fields. Rupi is the wife of Sido, who is the eldest son of Khorda-haram, a respectable man of the village. Khorda-haram is the sole person who was able to hold the village and its inhabitants together. He was responsible for organising various festivals and taking important decisions for his community (Santhals) and the village.
Putki is Khorda-haram’s wife has got a past and present of her own. She is an alcoholic and was an object of fantasy of many men of Kadamdihi and nearby villages when she was young. Putki & Khorda have two sons, Sodo & Diso. Sodo is a well educated man and is a teacher. He teaches in a government school in the nearby village of Nitra and is married to Rupi.
Soon after Rupi gives birth to her first child Jaipal, her neighbour Gurubari who is allegedly having an affair with Sido gives her an ailment through some black magic. Rupi, who was touted as one of the strongest women of the village turns into a weak, frail woman who lives out her days lying on a cot in the backyard of her house watching her world falling apart.
The story also focuses on three generations of Baskeys and their lives along with the regular life of the people of Kadamdihi. The author vividly paints a picture through his words about all the good and bad happenings in the village and the lives of its inhabitants. Human relationships and its intricacies along with old-age notions about the good and the evil form the base of the story. The author has done a fine job in putting everything together and takes you to the tribal areas of Jharkhand. It is a strong and bold attempt to showcase the life of tribals and myths and beliefs they live with. It deserves to be read.
Book Source : Publisher
Publisher : Aleph Book Company
Genre : Fiction
Price : ₹ 295/-