BOOK TITLE: Joys and Woes are Woven Fine
AUTHOR: Arkaprava De
NUMBER OF PAGES: 162
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author sent me a signed copy. I thank him for it.
She was born in Kolkata. She was an unwelcomed guest, a product of lust. She had to pay the price. She was abducted and trafficked to Hyderabad. She spent nine years begging on the roadside. Destiny brought her back to Kolkata where she was sold off to a procuress in Sonargachi. She married Raghu and started leading a healthy life. However she attempted a suicide. She was Ketaki. Why was Ketaki abducted and trafficked? Where was her father and mother? Was Ketaki ever able to meet her real parents? Why did she attempt the suicide? Was it all destiny that brought her back to Kolkata or did The Almighty have something else in His holy mind? After all, Joys and Woes are always woven fine!!
Joys and Woes are Woven Fine – a book that will leave you shocked.
My first impression of the book was – dark, foreboding, something I really could not read when I am not in the best of my moods. The cover was apt for the story of the book. A dark silhouette of a woman with just a hint of mystery made up the front cover while the back had a crisp and to the point summary. I did not exactly dive in to start the book. Most of my time went in debating whether or not to pick it up and read it. The whole story sounded so ominous.
Now the story:
It is said that in the course of one’s life, one never knows what the next moment might bring, much less the next year. While most lives are ordinary and follow a routine, a small detour from the routine might often be the biggest change ever experienced.
And one ugly truth about the land that worships the most number of female goddesses: this nation is also full of abusers and molesters that take advantage of the weaker sex. While this is not the most prevalent trend, there are such monsters still lurking in every city, every alley, mixed with the general public. While some go no further than eve teasing (not because they don’t but because they are cowards who fear the reaction of the law and the public), there are others who take advantage of what life hands them.
Predators are abundant and the life of a girl ruined shall almost never be set right – except under extremely lucky twists of fate. Now this is the ‘Woe’ part. Where does the ‘Joy’ part come in? Read on.
I am not going to reveal the names of the characters as such, because this is going to ruin the ‘fun’ of reading the book. The young girl is born out of wedlock, and unwillingly given away by the mother until she is capable of getting the child back and taking care of her. The woman’s life is ruined by a prominent figure and by the time she realises she has been lured in by false promises. Aborting the unwanted child is out of question and hence the unwilling childbirth and subsequent adoption.
The child is, by hook and crook (and also some cunning planning) is trafficked and sold to beggars in Hyderabad. From then on, the child is sold to a monster who is after her for her young body. All of thirteen, the child is abused and even unable to understand the difference between a demon eating her innards and a human posing as a demon and ruining her life. Everywhere she turns for help, people are out to take advantage of her.
Exactly what happens to the child as she goes along her destiny’s path and tries to find the secret of her birth forms the rest of the story. While this might sound like the plot of a badly scripted soap opera – think again. This is not some movie or serial you could see and think about for maybe a day or a week and forget and move on. This is the sad reality.
When women are duped, mostly due to their foolishness, there are men who take advantage of unwilling women and sometimes even girls who do not understand what puberty means. This book is dark, yes. It does explain what happens to the little child who is molested after having been hired as a domestic help will make you cringe and put down the book in horror, and sometimes even retch your food. But that is what this book is about. It does not lie. If you are faint hearted, don’t go for it. Instead pretend you are in a utopian society.
WHAT I LIKED:
· The author’s daring to pen down such a story.
· The constant dark tone of the story, there is no respite from the horrors of the story. Don’t expect a light moment at all. The author has remained true to the story line itself.
· The end – bittersweet but still somehow oddly satisfying in one sense.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
· It is ‘having’ not ‘haven’.
· The story has woes. I spent some time searching for the joys, and didn’t find many.
· The descriptive parts. I agree it could be worse and they were used to make the reader realise the horror, but still, they left a distasteful impact on my mind.
This is NOT a light hearted read. This is raw, intense and shocking. Steel your nerves and go for it.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback
PRICE: Rs. 100 for paperback.