Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: When Your Granny Was A Little Girl

Sanskar Publications, 24 pages

Review by Ritwik Mallik

It is seldom that one comes across inspiring stories in our daily lives, let alone inspiring people. However, Manju Dasgupta is one such exception. Septuagenarian, madam Dasgupta or MDG as she is fondly called, decided to pen her debut novel (a short story to be precise) in a bid to share with her grandchildren priceless accounts of her childhood days. This was done in an attempt to bridge the gap that grandparents face in communicating with their grandsons and daughters in an age dominated by Facebook and other forms of social media.

The narration starts with the earliest memories of MDG and ends with the story of her father’s deteriorating health – a time when the author believes that her childhood ceased to exist. It is a journey of thirteen years dipped in history, nostalgia and most importantly subtle social messages which very few would’ve been able to pull off so brilliantly.

The author talks about times when joint families existed, of uncles, aunts and countless brothers and cousins living under the same roof. She talks about the condition of women in the pre-independence era, of aspiration less lives and rigid, prohibitory social customs. She talks of visits to rural Bengal and quintessentially mouth watering food, vacations to the same place every year and a life so full of contentment that it makes one wonder what life has actually come to in modern India.

Saying so, two accounts of the author’s life makes this work highly commendable. The great famine of 1943 and the Hindu-Muslim riots find a mention in her life as a little girl. The trauma and circumspection that a child would go through in lights of those horrific events come out so naturally that it would make one feel like a witness to those acts. There is also the chance meeting with Gandhiji and its ever lasting impression on the author’s life.

This book serves as a well written lesson for all kids and adults on history and society of an India that we hardly know about. However, it might get off pace at times for people who know little about Bengali way of living, but on the flipside, one might get to learn so many new things.

Reasonably priced, well printed and beautifully written. For a trip down an unknown memory, this book is a must read.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When Your Granny Was a Little Girl

I am proud to announce my first book, When Your Granny was a Little Girl. I began writing this as a way of leaving behind my memories for my grandchildren, and I was more than surprised at how it has turned into a book. I am grateful to my sons, Subho and Abhimanyu and my daughters in law, Madhavi and Chandreyee and my husband, Surajit, for helping out with the editing and proofreading. The noted artist Ranen Ayan Datta has done the in-text illustrations, while the cover design is by my son, Subhorup Dasgupta.

when your granny was a little girl manju dasgupta
The book is being released at this years Kolkata Book Fair, and can be found at Sanskar, Stall No 450A. If you get to read it, let me know what you think of it. If you would like to get it and are unable to find it, give me a call at 9831260881, and I will be happy to help out.
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