Surajmukhi Andhere Ke by Krishna Sobti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I re-read Mitro Marjani a few days ago and fell in love with it all over again. It is a classic and will live forever. This time round, I noticed what a taut story it was. I loved the way it was told. It was obvious that Krishna Sobti was a born storyteller.
I wanted to read some more of her works, and ordered Zindaginama and Surajmukhi Andhere ke from Home Shop 18, which has a good stock of Hindi books. I started on Surajmukhi Andhere Ke first, as was a slim book.
Ratti is a young woman who is damaged by an event in her past. Because of it, she finds it hard to allow love back into her life. After spending a lifetime of letting men come close to her and rejecting them, she finds herself getting old and lonely.
She spends some time in Shimla with her soul-sister Reema. She is charmed by the pretty picture of domesticity that Reema's family presents, with her devoted husband, Keshi and her little son, Kumu. It awakens memories and yearnings in Ratti's heart.
The slim book is divided into 3 chapters or parts, Pul (Bridges), Surangen (tunnels) and Akash (Sky). The three parts are reminiscent of a train journey from Shimla to Kalka. In the first part, Ratti stands on a bridge between her old way of life and new. In the second part, she relives her past. In the third, she makes an effort to come out from the shackles of her past.
Despite her scars, Ratti is a strong woman. She does not allow herself the luxury of domesticity just for its own sake. She has spent her life trampling on the feelings of men who have tried to get close to her, without falling prey to sentimentality.
I am still in love with her as a novelist. Her language is terse and sparse and she is not afraid of expressing the innermost feelings of her characters. This novel is not as awesome as Mitro Marjani, but it is very good.
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