This blog used to be views on various things. But in all these years, I find it going a whole new direction.
Something which I have loved all the time. It's BOOKS!! So, presenting a whole new saga, of books and a little about them, whatever I can find, write, visualise and imagine...
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Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Book Review : 'Gangamma's Gharial' by Shalini Srinivasan
Shalini Srinivasan’s ‘Gangamma’s Gharial’ is quite the delight, but only quite. When you first open a page, you
find yourself in another world, well… not exactly, but let’s say it’s a world
of animals, trees, yakshas, magic and humans, of course.
It starts off with the
world of yakshas and their adventures. Twelve of them, who manage to take off
from their inward existence, and are living among us.Initially, when they were out, one of them,
Jayant comes upon a girl, and he quickly signals her to keep quiet. She is at a
lake where blue lotuses are in abundance.
The girl, who nods in understanding,
goes off to sleep in a while, as she sees the yakshas, disappearing. When she
awakes, she is suddenly realises that the world is chnaged. It does not exist anymore, shaken as it is by a landslide. Not understanding, she begins walking. She
walks to find her village, a mess. Then, she is meant to give her name register herself. But, she chooses to walk and walk away.
Almost 1,000 years
later, at Giripuram, a temple town lives an old lady. She looks after blue
lotuses and becomes the proud owner of a talking gharial or a fish eating
crocodile. She is one among few gardeners in the village. A rich man comes to
town and gives her a precious earring, in exchange for the flowers.
The earring, which was
in the shape of a ghariyal could talk too! The ghariyal is all set to travel and
it tells Gangamma of all the new places, they could travel to. Gangamma is
intrigued and agrees, in spite of never having travelled beyond her village.
So, Gangamma travels (teleports or whatever it was called, at that time) to a beautiful
place, up north where she encounters a young girl, a choute, a bird and an apple tree. The
old lady takes a liking for the apple tree.
Gangamma decides to
leave the place with the tree and she travels again, this time with everyone in
tow. She did not want them and neither did the 12 year old girl, who is the guardian of the tree.
The events turn and soon, everyone finds themselves in Giripuram. Faster events
occur and we soon find the girl, who refuses to tell her name, becomes Ondu to
all and sundry.
The yakshas are still
trying to find the 12 of their missing bunch. And Gangamma and Ondu, together with
the gharial are left together to rear the garden of blue lotuses.
With adventures, the
whos and whys get answered. There is also he temple in Giripuram, whose priests
have a few ideas and the strange looking idols too. All these people, yakshas, bird, and other
animals have one thing in common. They all have a vague adventure to tell.
As we approach an end,
there are times when I got very confused. I guess, all the characters were a
little too many to handle. Also, need to mention that teleporting is the way to
travel. You can get to so many places in minutes! It adds to the confusion,
Overall, a decent
story, especially at the beginning, when you are introduced to the characters. Once
you get the idea of teleporting and the yakshas, it lost its touch of magic and
really went over my head. I felt the overall coming together of the novel did
not happen too well. Brilliant illustrations, though.