If you are a bengali or a bongophile or from Calcutta, have ever lived there or just like that city very much, do yourself a favor and pick up this little gem of a book. Even if you are not, get it… You will find yourself wanting to go to Calcutta.
Our very own Suparna, who wrote all those hermit poems and the musical Anand and Benaifer got herself published!
Four retired bengali gentlemen, living a quiet life in one of Calcutta’s forgotten neighborhoods, each bored, all loosing their self respect, get invited to a party to which they actually go. Events transpire there and a case needs to be solved. They form a secret club a la Enid Blyton. But this one is for seniors only!
Can they manage to track down the thief, while facing life’s myriad challenges – like desperately searching for a suitable boy for one’s exceedingly independent daughter, dealing with insomnia and bad dreams, fending off the neighborhood brats who come asking for money for Durga Pujo… It’s difficult to be old.
Suparna weaves the younger generation in as well. They are organizing the neighborhood Durga Pujo… THE festival of Calcutta… and they hope to bag the award for the best Pujo this year. They have been steadily loosing it to a neighbourhood yuppier club. There is a very one sided romance brewing, a live lion to be procured, and most important of all, money to be raised for the Pujo from a neighborhood of retired old men who can mostly only talk about the rising price of fish. It’s a challenge to be young!
There is a bit of quirky history in the mix. How did Durga Pujo start? Why is that famous Bong sweet ledikeni called ledikeni? …
And then there are the wives and mothers…
It’s an idyllic romp of a book. Not something that you can whiz through in one sitting. It’s a book which is like a 7 course meal to be eaten slowly, enjoyed and savored.
While the case reaches a very satisfying conclusion, there are quite a few loose ends in the lives of the other characters and Suparna has promised that “if this book does well” she will write more and make it into a series. Everyone please go buy it so we can all know more about the quaint quiet lives of this extremely endearing bunch of bongs!
You can buy it from most big book stores (if they are not carrying it, ask for it!).
You can also get it from flipkart.com or www.booksorbit.com
ps definitely read the introduction! 🙂