I received the book She. Ekla Cholo Re by Santosh Avvannavar and Dr. Shayan Haq from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Set in the backdrop of 1990 Calcutta, ‘She’ is a story about finding one’s own identity in spite of all odds. The story spins around the life of Kusum, a brave heart whose identity is often untitled and blurred; it does not belong anywhere, definitely not under the ‘he’ or ‘she’ bracket because of your social conditioning. Will she be successful in her mission? Read on to find out about Kusum’s undying passion for life, love and aspirations.
The motivation to write ‘She’ came from Tagore’s “Ekla Cholo Re” song, which urges the protagonist to continue despite the fear of abandonment from others. The song goes like this, “Jodi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Cholo Re” meaning “if no one responds to your call, then go your own alone”.
When the author mailed me asking for a review of She. Ekla Cholo Re, that book title fascinated me and I was expecting some huge, voluminous book. But when the package arrived, I was in for a surprise after finding a pint sized book. Though a short read with around 50 pages, this book leaves behind a huge and hard hitting message.
The story is simple and it is about Kusum, the protagonist, whose feminine soul is caged in a man’s body and is in search of solace and acceptance. The author has spun a poignant tale around Rabindranath Tagore’s Ekla Cholo Re and when you read through Kusum’s painful past and beautiful present combined with those lovely lines from Tagore’s poetry, you are in for a joyful ride. The language is simple. Yet, the author makes you feel Kusum’s pain. You tend to laugh and cry with her. Rajendra aka Raj is the perfect foil for Kusum. I loved his character a lot.
As for as the editing of the book is concerned, it requires lot of improvement and also the book is infested with grammatical errors. Ignore those errors and you will have one of the best books to read.
The message that this book sends out is loud and clear.
“You are what you choose to be”
My Verdict: This book motivates you and inspires you to take the road less traveled, fighting the social stigma.