She: Ekla Cholo Re – Book Review

She: Ekla Cholo Re

BY: SANTOSH AVVANNAVAR & Dr. SHAYAN HAQ

Synopsis:

She is an attempt to search for one’s identity irrespective of all odds. What makes it unique are it’s two most important aspects – the protagonist(Kusum) and Tagore’s song, Ekla Cholo Re.

The identity of the protagonist is often untitled and blurred; it does not belong anywhere, definitely not under the ‘he’ or ‘she’ bracket because of our social conditioning. We normally do not give ‘social sanction’ to ‘such’ people because we ‘pretend’ that they do not exist, albeit for our own convenience. So, when a person like Kusum decides to move on with her life despite all odds, it deserves a special mention, indeed. As the editor cum reader of this book, I grew with Kusum each day in complete awe as she drew inspiration from Tagore’s Ekla Cholo re song to be her true self each time she was struck with a heavy blow. 

Book Review:

She is a short-novel centred on a transgender character Kusum. Set up in Calcutta (Kolkata) of the early 90s, She is a bold and beautiful attempt by the authors to narrate the psychological and emotional trauma suffered by people like Kusum. It portrays the pain and dilemma of such people wonderfully, by describing the exploitation and the attitude of family and society towards such people.

The title and cover of the book are very thoughtful that best reflect the message conveyed by the story. With a hue of red in the background, the title is printed with the image of Howrah Bridge within (as the story is set in Kolkota). The reversed “S” signifying that the protagonist doesn’t fit into the standard structure of the society.

The character of Kusum (the protagonist) is the most unique, which is vulnerable yet powerful, who triumphs in her life against all odds at the end. The author has beautifully used the characters to portray the story.

The authors have done a commendable job in firstly picking such a unique plot that is supported by a wonderful story. Secondly they have been remarkably good in portraying the story with such bold and vivid narration. She is a wonderful attempt to narrate the internal turmoil and life of Kusum with a simple story. The ending is also awesome.

The book is highly engrossing and has all the qualities to hook the interest of the reader. The simple and lucid language is easy to follow.

As it is said “Good things come in small packages” and She: Ekla Cholo Re very appropriately justifies the saying.

Highly recommended for those who are looking for a good yet thought provoking book.

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