Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ranjit Lal - Faces in the water

The ancient and rich Diwanchand family is famous for having only sons.  You can sense the horrible secret behind this as you find out that all the children of this family are born in their ancestral farmhouse.  Gurmeet or Gurmi, the only son of one of the Diwanchand brothers,  is sent to live in the farmhouse when his house in Delhi is shut for renovations.  His mother forbids him to step anywhere close to the well that is attached to the farmhouse.

Like any other 15 year old, Gurmeet does exactly what he is forbidden to and unearths the secret behind the unbroken line of Diwanchand family's sons.  The beautiful girls who were lowered into the well to keep the tradition alive are now a series of ghosts, he discovers.

You could be forgiven for thinking this makes the story spooky and gruesome.  It does not.   With a deft and gentle touch, Ranjit Lal turns this story into a fantasy, where the girls show their brother that had they lived, everyone's life would have been much more fun and enriched.

Even as Gurmeet tries to struggle with the enormity of the crime, he is amazed at the calmness with which the girls accept the atrocity and refuse to strike back, despite having some 'ghostly' powers.  Soon, Gurmeet finds he has a bigger problem in hand...

The novel is more YA (young adult) fiction, hence the story is kept simple and sweet.  There are a few plot holes, for instance, if the women were pregnant so often, surely the neighbours remarked on how the women turned up without a child at the end of it.  It could be explained away as a stillborn birth, but so frequently?  If we set aside this, there is nothing to crib about because the story has a beautiful heart, it brings out how much a girl child enriches the lives of the family.
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I am a fan of Ranjit Lal's writing.  I loved his book The life and times of Altu Faltu.  His writings on birds appear frequently in magazines.

9 comments:

Smitha said...

That does sound interesting. I've never read a book of this author's. Should wishlist this.

Red Riding Hood said...

mmmm.... never heard of this author.. :) must read it.. thanx

Ava Suri said...

Thanks Smitha. He is fabulous.

Red Riding Hood, He gets lost in crowd of wannabe Indian writers.

Ranjit Lal is very accomplished, he deserves to be known better.

Carole said...

Ava, this is a new author to me. Cheers

PNA said...

sounds quite interesting ya... will definitely pick it up, and read sooon

Thanks for the reco
Ashes

Carole said...

Ava, hope you are ok, you haven't posted in a while. Take care

Anonymous said...

Thanks, it really helped me in my project...

Anonymous said...

Thanxxxxx, it really helped me in my project...

Ava Suri said...

Glad to have helped, Anon.

 
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