Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Review : The Kite Flyers

I had applied to IndiBlogger for this book review .I received it during this ongoing A to Z Bogging Challenge & thought why not make it part & parcel of the same !

Well,I managed to read this  book in a day ! Actually half a day I started in the afternoon.It has 186 pages .It is a hard bound book by Sharad P Paul, a practising doctor. an expert in skin cancer surgery.He has quite a few academic recognitions to his credit.He teaches creative writing to kids.He is the head of the Baci group which includes the Baci foundation,a charity  that finances literacy programmes.Paul's earlier books include " Cool Cut ","To kill a dragon fly " &  "Skin : A Biography ".

The cover shows a red kite which has a red string attached to it .The string is cut by a pair of black scissors as also a barber's knife.The back cover shows the rolled up string or the kite manja.There is also a red blade protruding from the kite.The red kite is flying in grey sky having black clouds.

There are nine chapters.The book begins with Author;s note wherein he states that this book was written as a poem & became a runner up in a short story contest.He reconstructed the story on requests from readers & that's how this reprint from Fourth Estate has come about. The last chapter after the ninth one is Epilogue.It is followed by Lakshm's barfi recipe adapted to the microwave !

"The Kite Flyers" is a simple story set in Tamil Nadu.It begins in rural Tamil Nadu & later moves to Chennai.This is the story of three friends in school....Kumar & Raman who are expert at flying kites & Lakshmi who excels at making barfis. They are studying in the village school run by Gowrie teacher.The three friends get seperated by circumstances or  fate.Twelve years pass by.They are adults now & yet they have a longing to meet one another.Are they able to make a jugaad of their lives ? Do they meet ? They are in very different surroundings.Are they able to escape to the freedom of togetherness with their friends ? Moreover will their friends accept them as they are after so many years ?What about Gowrie teacher ?

The background of Chennai in this  story,  is politics of AIADMK under the charismatic MGR.Read " MGR is God.Granted ,he may not be the god,but he is a god."And ," Two men burn themselves at every MGR meeting .MGR has the highest kill ratio......"The vehement opposition of Tamil Nadu & its people to Hindi imposition makes an impression.The fact ,that MGR uses Hindi ,to rouse his supporters is shockingly familiar.Our leaders use all the dirty tricks, to further, their ascent to power.

The barbarism of eunuchs gives way to their kindness later, as the story progresses. The caste is the identity of everyone in Tamil Nadu " In Tamil Nadu,everyone is 'something'- Hindu,Christian,........One cannot be an ordinary human being here.The first question a stranger asks a fellow Tamil is 'What are you ?'".

The story  is simply narrated going back  in time as the story begins .Later as it progresses ,it comes to the present.The author is sarcastic about the games politicians  play with the lives of ordinary people.The author is  empathetic about the poor.His poor have an inner strength which makes them accept  those who may be physically challenged with the utmost love & affection.We may turn such persons away.

The flow is steady.The chapters are short .The language is easy with some Tamil thrown in . It is sprinkled with humour which makes for  smiles.

All in all,a delightful story which makes us appreciate the extraordinary simple lives of the poor  Indians.

This is the eleventh post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014.

Sharing blog posts of two fellow bloggers :

Shrikant Pednekar

Vinay Ravindranath


JANU said...

one more book added to the list. And it keeps growing...nice review :)

Vasudha Rao said...

Thanks,Janaki for your kind words.

Afshan Shaik said...

Heard a lot about MGR . I may love this plot :) thanks for the Review

Vasudha Rao said...

Yes,Afshan ,you will love this book as it has the 1970's politics of Tamil Nadu in the background.

arpita mudit said...

Sounds interesting Vasudha. Will try to grab a copy for sure

Richa Kholkute said...

Nice review with an interesting topic. Will try and read it.

Shail Mohan said...

Seems like a book one should give a try.

Sharad P. Paul said...

Thank you for reviewing my latest novel. Glad you liked this book and pleased that you guys seem to love and discuss books in general. Thought I'd drop in and say hello as came across your blog review.
My novel set in Tibet/India, 'To Kill a Snow Dragonfly' should also be available via Harper Collins India
Best wishes,
Sharad P. Paul

Vasudha Rao said...

Arpita,I am sure you will find the book interesting !

Vasudha Rao said...

Thank you for stopping by,Richa !

Vasudha Rao said...

Shail ,yeah ,you should.You will be delighted !

Vasudha Rao said...

Sharad P Paul,

Sir ,

I am overwhelmed ! I loved the book !

Prathima Rao said...

Sounds interesting,

Vasudha Rao said...

Thanks,Prathima for stopping by !

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