Friday, 26 February 2016
Book Review — She: Ekla Cholo Re
Authors: Dr. Shayan Haq; Santosh Avvannavar
Publisher: Hoffen; 1 edition (2015)
Paperback: 58 pages
Our behavioural traits are dictated by the society. Every person has to be a male or a female to live with peace in the society. But, about the people who can’t be classified as either a 'he' or 'she'? Society ignores them, and trans-genders have been the victims of the irrationalities of the society since eternity.
The authors have done a commendable job in picking a unique plot with a bold and controversial topic that is supported by a wonderful story.
She: Ekla Cholo Re is a story of one such person, Kusum. The only way Kusum can belong to our society is if she denies her own existence. Otherwise, she has to walk alone in this over-crowded world which considers her a taboo.
She: Ekla Cholo Re begins with Professor Raj, who finishes his class, and goes for a long drive. He meets Kusum and gives her a lift. As their journey progresses Kusum opens up to the sympathetic stranger, and reveals her story.
A female, born in a male body, Kusum has difficulty following the behavioural dictates of the society. She strives to understand herself while her family tries to mould her to society’s expectations. Against her family’s wishes, she follows her heart with dire consequences.
The plot is tightly woven with lovely poems, which blend with the narrative. The book is a quick read, but it lingers with the reader for a long long time. It depicts how much we so called ‘normal people’ are insensitive to the plight of those we don’t consider 'normal'.
Kusum is an extremely likeable, courageous character. Since, Kusum tells her story to Raj, their conversation in the car forms the crux of the story. The simple and lucid language is easy to follow. There are a few grammatical errors, and typos though.
The design of the title is interesting; the 'S' in SHE appears inverted, signifying the gender issue of Kusum and the image of Howrah bridge is embedded within SHE, symbolically representing the Bengali origin of the theme song, 'Ekla Cholo Re'.
The tag-line of the novelette - "a story meant to motivate all and sundry irrespective of their circumstances", perfectly holds true. Kusum’s courage to stand up for herself, and her determination to continue her path even after being abandoned will surely inspire everyone.
Kudos to the authors for writing Kusum’s story and bravely and vividly portraying the picture of a person caught up in a dilemma. Some stories need to be told, and read so that our society rises above some social stigmas.
This book deserves appreciation because it completely engrosses you with quick and focussed narration rather than setting the scene or irrelevant character structure. A touching love story, subtly wound around Kusum's internal conflicts and the book emphatically reiterates the fact that 'transgenders' are normal people too of great self-respect and admiration.
To those of us who have never come in close association with the life of a transsexual, Kusum's story shall give a new understanding of a unique kind of human emotion. And I recommend readers to spread this genuine social message far and wide.
As it is said “Good things come in small packages”, 'She: Ekla Cholo Re' very aptly justifies it! It’s a sweet and a very short story with the pungent message that says, 'Never give up and move on even if you are alone. Don’t live the way, the society expects you to.'
Highly recommended for those who are looking for a good yet thought provoking book. Overall, this is a book to remember. I admire the way the authors have packed so much in just 58 pages!
Rating - 4.8/5
P.S: A review copy was provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.