New Delhi. After the selection of senior Hindi writer Geetanjali Shree’s novel ‘Ret Samadhi’ for the International Booker Prize 2022, there has been a stir in the minds of Hindi readers about Gitanjali Shree and her novel. Let us tell you that this novel, originally written in Hindi, is not only the story of woman consciousness, it also has a story crossing the boundaries. It can be said that the story transcends the boundaries of human conflict, breaks the limits of its struggle and reaches such an optimistic point, where the despair of the characters becomes air.
tell that Geetanjali Shree Her husband Sudhirchandra is a well-known historian. His work on Gandhi’s vision is remarkable. These days this pair of writer and historian lives in Gurgaon. By the way, his house is also in Delhi.
‘Ret Samadhi’ by Geetanjali Shree is his fifth novel. He has published four novels before this, they are ‘My’, ‘Hamara Shahar Us Baras’, ‘Tirohit’ and ‘Blank Space’. Geetanjali Shree has also written many stories in one round. These stories are compiled in the collections ‘Vairagya’ and ‘Here the elephants lived’. There is also a separate collection of his representative stories. The magic of poignant and psychological analysis permeates in his story.
‘Sand Mausoleum’ How a woman from a common Indian family suffering from depression decides to cross the border and go to Pakistan, how she gets herself out of this depression – it is quite exciting to read. In its craft, this novel destroys many made-up boundaries of writing, as well as creates new paradigms in its mood. The truth is that it is not possible to tell in four lines about this novel, woven from the fine fibers of relationships and struggle. It can be enjoyed only by reading it. Actually, you find many new characters on every page of this novel. Sometimes the inanimate things lying in the house also come alive and start telling their story.
At the center of this novel is an 80-year-old woman whose husband has died. After this death, the old story heroine becomes a victim of depression. This depression is so severe that she does not even want to leave her room. The whole family is pleading with him in various ways. The son pleads in his own way and the daughter in her own way that they should at least come out of their room. But the woman has locked herself in such a shell that she is afraid to come out. The layers of relationships are opened in the dialogues of the old heroine with the family. You get to see the vibes of the characters’ moods, you are exposed to an absolutely strange world of relationships. At the same time, suddenly the old lady heroine thinks of going to Pakistan. There they have to hand over some goods of a woman named Rosie. As you go through this novel, you will feel how it is also a story of an ordinary woman, a story across borders and a psychological narrative of the complexity of human relationships. It is the story of history.
Woven in the fabric of relationships, this novel also takes a dig at many issues. The journey from India to Pakistan also shows the expectations of the society which it traditionally has from a woman. Conflict arising out of moral policing, rising from the genteel voice against patriarchy to duplicity of politics, concern for the environment, spreading communalism, partisanship, along with the voice of love, the politics of India-Pakistan are also exposed in this novel. It goes on.
Geetanjali Shree, a senior Hindi writer, has a shining language. Very short sentences. The incomplete sentences in the novel also keep the context completely open. Tears fall from Dhamma like stones. Rain drop. Like poetic sentences give a completely new shade to this novel. Watch this excerpt from ‘Sand Samadhi’:
‘ … the lower lip of the daughter trembled with crying and the mother lifted her in her lap. Then what happened was that the mother became the lip that was trembling. Putting the daughter’s head on the shoulder, she started humping to pretend that she is a big elephant, sitting waiting for the daughter to come, ride her, and both of them are swinging, and the leaves are gossiping and listening, listening to telling stories.
Daughter smiled. When this happened, mother became that smile.
The crying of the daughter gradually changed into steady breaths and the mother sobbed.
The daughter fell asleep and the mother kept covering her with dreams.
At that moment a love was born. The mother kept losing her breath, the daughter started crying and the elephant’s back started crying with glee.
Sometimes inanimate things also come alive in this novel. Geetanjali Shree has presented them as characters many times. When these inanimate characters are alive and express their inner conflict, they never look like a patch. Rather they become a dense part of the novel. One such part of the novel is noteworthy:
‘What about life? Knows how to walk in a small circle, like on a trail that starts but doesn’t end. But the giant knows the formidable one, like coming out on the open road from the trail and joining the big road which is a highway, a historical highway like Grand Trunk Road. Their connection far and wide off the trail brings new twists to the story, the roar of truck tractors throbbing the trail, or the silky feeling emanating from the Silk Route that envelops them softly. The trail wonders from where these roads would be coming, from what time, from the convoys, from the borders. And where did I come from, after crossing so many different lives. Am I still the same trail, or just a little bit more Ravish than before?
But who will ask this question, when, who is the news now?’
The writings of Gitanjali Shree are intricately woven. In his writings, the outer and inner worlds coexist. If you expect from his writings that something exciting will be found or some element that will satisfy the luxuries in your unconscious, then you will be deeply disappointed. Yes, if you want to take a sensitive thought-writing tour, recognize the outside noise and inner silence, have the desire to understand the winds of changes and pauses closely, then perhaps their writing can help you.
Tags: Hindi Literature, Literature, News 18 Hindi Special, News18 Hindi Originals
FIRST PUBLISHED : May 27, 2022, 15:40 IST