Of Swans and Songs by Rohini Paranjpe is an extraordinary book that tells us the tales of the ordinary people. Their everyday life struggles, daily dilemmas, the dreams of their life, the strength they pose within, the composure, the compassion and the little things or instances that makes them beam with joy. The willingness to overcome the roadblocks or rediscover themselves with the people they love is what the book is all about.
In discovering the characters we discover ourselves and ponder deep into our emotions retrospect life instances and the moment of happiness in our lives.
The seven short stories depict different scenarios in an Indian household and the characters in each story are portrayed with conviction and ease that a reader can always relate.
Chapter 1: When The Girl Died is the story of the Mathur household. It talks about how upper middle class family react to the rape case in the news. It talks about how the men and women of the same family react when they come to know that their maid Geeta has an unforgettable past. Will she be excused for being the victim or will she still bear the blame?? It all depends on the decisions made by the family she works for!
Chapter 2: The Messenger talks about strong, rational and ambitious lady Aarti who hallucinates about her dead father after the incident at traffic signal. Is it really hallucination or some kind of omens/signal from the dead. Or is it because of our human heart which still clings to the memories and our brain that makes the memories alive?
Chapter 3: Anuja Grows Up is the story of young, dreamy-eyed Anuja and her family. After growing up in Jamshedpur, Anuja moves into her grandparents’s house in Pune. An ailing grandfather away from everyday happenings around him and a stubborn grandmother who believes in ‘my way or highway’, is what awaits them in Pune. Or is there something more to it? Will Anuja unknowingly open the skeletons hidden in the Pune House? This wonderful story is all about people’s control in their lives and their loved ones. Will the love that binds and overpowers win or will the selfless love win? And in between Anuja grows up!
Chapter 4: Amma, is one of my favourite stories in the book. The leading protagonist in the chapter is a poised, renowned and worshipped classical singer of all time, fondly called as ‘Amma’. Her biographer Prabha, undergoes a roller-coaster of emotions resurrecting the beautiful memories spent with Amma after her demise. In this chapter, the author’s love for music is depicted in all ways and explained beautifully. Amma’s story is something that you don’t want to miss reading out and when you do, you will yearn for more.
Chapter 5: Finding Shobha, is the story of today’s middle aged women in India. She is an excellent tution teacher, a loving wife, a doting mother to her son and a very caring neighbour. Is this all enough to make one’s life perfect filling it with happiness? This story depicts all the woman around us who have strived to fill our lives with joy creating a hollow in themselves. We have always seen our mothers, aunties and grannies ensuring that each of us have everything to our heart’s content. But, have we ever thought of reciprocating? This story ponders deep into the human heart of every woman, her wishes, her longingness and her simple needs. A beautifully written story portraying the myriad emotions of women finds a special place in my heart.
Chapter 6: Of Swans and Songs throws light on the emotions and feelings of people in different kind of love with each other. An extra marital affair breaks an acclaimed surgeon’s family. Every member of the family face with emotions of their own. While the wife chooses to walk out of the marriage feeling helpless and crumbled vowing to neither forgive or forget the hurt, the other woman Radha falls heels over in love with the kids too. Will the kids accept her? What about the surgeon, is he also equally to be blamed for this never-ending misery? Will the repercussions of the deed bring some solace in the family? Will there be peace? This story stayed in mind for days together recollecting the different faces of emotions, a new perspective on the other women in the society, the after-effects on children and so on. OF SWANS & SONGS, as a story does a miraculous healing to the parched soul. It so resonates with the fast pace of today’s lives where one is in and out of a relationship at the blink of the eyes.
Chapter 7: A Happy Diwali, is the last story in the book which talks about Manasi’s love for her grandparents who have nurtured and raised her after her mother’s death. Their bond is selfless, irrevocable and without any boundaries. This story being my personal favourite and the best of all has many heroes to be looked upon unlike the other chapters. I really don’t want to reveal any single word of the story only because I want you to read and enjoy it. Savour the love, rapport and connections by reading it. The love grandparents have their for children is selfless and is much more than a parents love. But will that love sustain if it doesn’t change with time? Or is it dangerous to give in to the feelings of the person we love?
The balance, the pros and cons are all weighed upon to emerge victorious in love. Here Rohini’s ‘A Happy Diwali’ emerges victorious and is indeed a moment to celeberate.
I must say that, OF SWANS & SONGS by ROHINI PARANJPE SATHE is one of the books that gave me joy. The author’s writing of each story and its characters are remarkable and at few instances you feel that are all connected, but then their emotions and way of interpreting things are all together different, & fresh. And we sense how strong each of the characters are! Major characters of the book sweep you off from your world and you get engulfed in their lives. Such kind of writing definitely deserves a great applause. The simple yet brilliant writing alongwith the strong musical background makes it very interesting and enduring for the readers.
I personally would love to re-read this and as a blogger/reviewer, I would strongly recommend you to read this.
My Verdict: 5/5
Book Name: Of Swans And Songs
Author Name: Rohini Paranjpe Sathe
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: INR 325(check Amazon for discounts)
Also, this book is a part of Blogchatter Book Review Program and I am thankful to Blogchatter for such a wonderful read.
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