The prose of the novel is smooth and has a pleasant rhythm to
it. Reading it is as effortlessly as swimming with the current.
The story of the novel is narrated in the first person, but with
a difference. Contrary to the usual pattern in which the story
is told by the principal character, we find in this novel not
one but two protagonists. Both of them (Somsundar and Manju)
narrate their respective stories in alternate chapters.
centres around her relationship with her beloved and other
characters. Her life is secure, monotonous and nothing
substantial happens to her. However, one day she goes to a bar,
gets drunk, swings in the arms of a couple of gentlemen and
finally collapses on the dancing floor. This incident leaves the
readers clueless about the significance of the proceeding.
Perhaps the object was to offer some excitement.
The story of
Somsundar focuses on his suffering with occasional glances into
the better times he has lived through. His family goes through
turbulent times when first his elder brother and then he himself
join the Naxalites. This situation is further aggravated when
his brother suddenly disappears and there is no clue his
whereabouts. The narration of a incident in which Somsundar
escapes after being surrounded by hired killers is particularly
good. The entire sequence is picturesque, horrific and
Along with the
narration of the main story the novelist has also put together
absorbing sketches of the other characters. He has adeptly
described the pathetic circumstances of the peasants, unemployed
and the lepers by portraying the inhuman conditions in which
they were forced to survive during a drought. To keep their body
and soul together many of them literally take up begging in the
streets while the more unfortunate ones have to live on rodents.
The journalistic stint of the writer had been of an exceptional
assistance to him while penning down ground realities with such
novelist seem to have unconsciously justified some of the dark
deeds of the male protagonist. Somsundar harbours revengeful
thoughts, smashes various musical instruments of his one-time
beloved, Mala we read anything against him. He is definitely not
as noble and as blameless as he is portrayed to be. It appears
that the novelist at some stage grew so fond of him that
unconsciously he adopted a rather considerate attitude towards
him, much like an indulgent father would favour his favourite
The novel winds up
on a pitiable but realistic note. Somsundar yearns to return
home from his association with the Naxalites but finds it
difficult to do so. He longs to relish friendly moments with his
family and friends. Ultimately he knocks down his comrades and
leaves the organisation knowing it fully well that he wouldn’t
be spread. The readers can only pray he was.