Monday, July 13, 2015
Book Review : ‘Panther' by Chhimi Tenduf-La
There are some authors, who you just read, and believe in. There are still others, who I believe in and then I start to read. This particular author is a bit of both. The first book, I just read and began to believe in him, I thought that he would write and teach too, with his words. I must say, that this book has proved me right.
Out with ‘Panther’, Chhimi Tenduf-La’s latest, is a tale of a Sri Lankan child solider, Prabu, whose main talent is cricket. He is therefore sent with a sports scholarship, with the express purpose of blowing up his Sinhalese classmates at the school dance.
Prabu, who belongs to ‘Panther’, a (fictional) group of rebels, could not have picked a more sensitive young man. People of Panther, Colonel Thisera, Indika’s parents, Scorpion Five, and characters like Indika, Indika’s father, Achala, Principal Uncle and Coach Silva are only a few of the main characters who have an influence on Prabu’s life. Note his impressionableness through these parts of the story.
Prabu’s lives and stories are many and are brought together wonderfully, whether it is his life in the military camp or at the Colombo’s elite secondary school. Prabu’s poor command of English is one of great fun and his awkwardness with girls, really had me holding onto my ribs.
As Prabu tries to gain a foothold at school, he meets some good and bad characters. Indika’s father, who is a Tamil supporter and Indika himself, who tries to do his best for Prabu and joins him in creating some excellent fun, while trying to save him as best he can are some of good people Prabu meets.
There are of course, people on the other side, the ‘Supreme Leader’ a chilling
trainer at the military camp, Coach Silva, whose exploits are there for us to see and an ominous Principal.
Prabu is someone who reacts to most things with a kind of sensibility and thoughtfulness; he has imbibed from his circumstances and surroundings. He is also ever forgiving but never without a touch of rebelliousness. What happens towards the end, whether Prabu manages to get out and find his place in the ever changing circumstances, what happens to some of the more important characters are all there for us to read and see.
Read on, as Chhimi Tenduf-La figures it all out, as he tries to blend beautiful Sri Lanka’s fear and tragic years of war with its routine life and its daily activities.
‘If you have never been before, it’s time to visit’ says Tenduf-La of Sri Lanka.