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Revelations of an Imperfect Life by Sankhya Samhita is a book that evokes memories of idyllic life, of growing up in simpler times, of roots, and of being home.
One of my favourite quotes I learnt growing up, is that Home isn’t a place; it’s a feeling. It is the people who you live with, amidst those four walls of your house, who provide a sense of belonging.
What, then, is one supposed to do, when the feeling of home is no longer there, and the people whom you regarded close, seem far, far away?
One utterly ordinary day, thirty-three-year-old Tanaya realizes that she is stuck in a perfunctory marriage, nursing a resentment at having to live life like a rolling stone and in an impulsive moment, decides to leave her indifferent husband and uninspiring apartment to go back to where it all began: the sleepy town of Tezpur, Assam.
Back home, in the company of family, friends and unavoidable wagging tongues, Tanaya is forced to face her indecision and confusion, even as she tries to find answers to the unsettling questions running in her mind. Dealing with the aftermath of a decade-long heartbreak, coming to terms with new revelations, when she reaches the fork on the road, will Tanaya be able to make the right choice?
The story is one you would want to read over and over again, for it imparts the feeling of being snuggled inside a warm blanket on a cold, rainy day.
The author starts off with a delectable description of maasor tenga (the signature Assamese dish), and just as your mouth starts to water from the flavour of the tangy gravy, she decides to jolt you from your reverie with the hard-hitting monotony of a life that is far from what one would desire.
Her protagonist travels to a time and place in her past, as a way to move forward, and along her journey she is reminded of the things that she misses today – little gestures that would go a long way in bringing joy to her life.
Samhita’s characters are delightful, whether it is Dueta, Ma, Aita (one of my favourites), or Nobou Mami from across the fence, Nila (the sister who, for all you know, could be your kindred spirit) and even Nibir (whom one only hears on the phone for most of the book).
She writes them all with such perfection, despite each of their flaws, that after a point you can feel them being a part of your life. They hold on to you and gently pull you in, tugging you along into every memory and conversation.
The plot builds around recollections of growing up as a young girl within and around the walls of her family home, which then connect with the present-day events like a natural flow of the river current.
Her prose reads like a song – every note mellifluous with picturesque descriptions. Her expressions captivate you with the gorgeous play of words she weaves.
She brings Assam to life through the food, the clothes, the festivals, the seasons, and the wonderful people, right before your eyes.
The buildup to the climax and the end leave you amazed at Samhita’s talent and finesse which is akin to that of a seasoned writer. It seems impossible to believe that this is indeed her debut novel.
Tanaya’s account, as described here, may all be about the revelations of an imperfect life. However, as the author remarked at the end of her book launch: No life is imperfect. Your life is your own perfect, as long as you find what makes you happy.
That is really the essence of the book – to know where and how to find what makes you happy. And for that simple reason, amongst the many others I described above, this book published by Readomania will be endeared by all those who read it.
Published here earlier.
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Top image via Pixabay and book cover via Amazon
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Ashima has been in love with the written word for as long as she can
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