Gora – Book Review

By #Rabindranath Tagore

This is the most beautiful book by #Tagore. Again I am nobody to comment on his work. This is more of an information. The story deals with many issues of human relationships ranging from adoption to inter-community marriages. The fact that all these issues along with the freedom struggle are nicely woven in the story left me amazed that only a genius like Tagore can do it.

The story is set in the pre-independence era when the freedom struggle was at its prime. It starts when Anandmoyi, a childless wife, adops the orphan of a #british lady. She faces harsh criticism from husband and family for this adoption but her motherly love gives her the strength to bear and bring up the child. In the process she gives up her social life. The child is named Gourmohan and lovingly called Gora. #Gora grows up to be a highly educated rebel. He preaches unity of the country. He soon meets the family of Pareshbabu through his close friend Binoy. Tagore describes the advance thinking of the Brahmo samaj through the lifestyle of PareshBabu’s family. All his daughters are educated with convent schooling. Pareshbabu is also the foster father of his late friend’s children, Sucharita and her brother. Initially Gora rejects Sucharita’s thinking but slowly through each meeting her ideas force him to question his own and thus begins a beautiful friendship. At the same time his friend Binoy falls for PareshBabu’s daughter lolita. Gora does not approve this relation. The turning point in the story arrives when Gora discovers his identity. The shock and the depression after this, the change in his thinking process and finally his perception towards all relations and communities makes this book the evergreen book on human relations.

Although this story is set in a period about a century ago, still the emotions are something one feels even today. This book definitely deserves a place in every reader’s shelf and therefore is a great book to be gifted. It is a perfect companion for long journeys. The life and culture of the financially effluent people of pre-independence era has been described very nicely. One definitely feels proud of the rich #Bengali heritage. So the next time you come accross this book in an exhibition or a book store, don’t wait.


The Namesake

By Jhumpa Lahiri

Although a movie has been made on this book still I couldn’t help writing a review on it after reading the book. This book is a story of two generations of bengali in USA, the senior couple have moved from India and their US born kids. To some extent it describes their conflict.

The story begins with Ashok being saved from an accident because of a page from a book by Nickolai Gogol. Ashok later moves to US but marries Ashima from India. They have a son and a daughter. One definitely sees a beautiful representation of emotional displacement through these two characters and from the way they try to preserve their culture by conducting all the ceremonies for their children. The son is nicknamed Gogol but due to a misunderstanding that becomes his official name. Here the author gives a very nice explanation of petnames in bengali by stating it is the name by which a person is loved, adored, remembered and scolded. Gogol grows up with a completely different thought process than his parents. He grows up and in a rebelious moment changes his name to Nikhil. Gogol repents this act when he comes to know the reason why his father respects Gogol so much. After this he understands his parents better but its too late by then. The subsequent events decide whether Gogol finds his happiness in adopting his roots completely or giving them up and how the family sticks togather.

This is a good book with a simple plot and so it can be taken up if one reads while travelling to and from work. Somehow a very sad life of NRI is presented in this book. Many aspects, like the inability of a four year old to answer to his official name, seem fictional. I wouldn’t suggest taking this book during a festive season. This book just makes me feel that authors like Jhumpa Lahiri should write more about the present day life of Indian youngsters which is almost same whether in India or anywhere.