This book is a work of fiction and consists of four independent stories. Each of the four stories in ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and Other Stories’ draws inspiration from such crucible events that author has had to face. The protagonists in that sense carry a bit of his own ‘experience and thought’ genes. As he sees them now within the larger fabric of the stories, he does notice shades of himself and others who have been part of his life.

“In our lives, we at times get confronted with intense and traumatic events which force us to question who we are, what really matters to us and what we believe in. In some ways, these events alter our sense of reality.”

I read an incredible book, which is set of four stories. Each of the four stories in this book draw inspiration from such crucible events. The protagonists in that sense carry a bit of author’s own ‘experience and thought’ genes.

It was my great experienced that I read a historical and inspirational book. I can’t concise it because it’s a unique book and each story is also unique, therefore I write a few stanzas of every story, which give you an idea about this book.

The Chronicler of the Hooghly:

As Samir embarks on a sunset cruise on the Hooghly, he meets the enigmatic Chronicler who takes him on a two and a half centuries journey surrounding the curse of a fabled pearl necklace, as mentioned by his dying mother. The Chronicler asks, “What could be behind you taking this trip today and me telling you this tale?”

Samir, trying to cope with two life-changing tragedies, takes a sunset cruise on the Hooghly to ‘get away from it all’. He is intrigued by an enigmatic figure who introduces himself as the Chronicler and asks, “Would you like to hear a tale about all that we are witness to today?” As the boat journeys up the Hooghly, the chronicler takes Samir on a journey spanning more than two and a half centuries of events witnessed by the river.

As Samir embarks on a sunset cruise on the Hooghly, he meets the enigmatic Chronicler who takes him on a two and a half centuries journey surrounding the curse of a fabled pearl necklace, as mentioned by his dying mother. The Chronicler asks, “What could be behind you taking this trip today and me telling you this tale?”

Pandemic:

Her unadorned face with a parting free of sindoor and a simply worn white sari indicated her to be a young widow. Something in her appearance impacted Dipen.

Dipen could recall his aunt becoming a widow when he was a mere seven or eight, she had her hair cut short and seemed perpetually in a complaining and cantankerous mood. She was required to observe a strict fast on certain days and Dipen still remembered how she would secretly beg him for moa or naru, homemade Bengali sweets.

Once the husband died, the torture of his wife began. It was as if Lord Yama of the netherworld was taking away her soul. Even when she had to endure the grief of her husband’s death, society somehow held her ‘responsible’ for the death and even her closest relatives could not come to console her. A woman whose husband had died was thus like a living corpse. She had no rights in the home and had to remain as a slave to other family members.

Spanning a century between the pandemics of 1919 and 2020, Dipen and Indranil are confronted by tragedies under vastly different societal conditioning and development. What is their link spanning four generations, which arises from an old and dilapidated palace and its massive Shiva linga?

Fault Lines:

‘One Saturday evening, Anjan suggested, “How about going to the pub and having some chilled beer? The treat is on me”.

But that evening Rohit was not enthusiastic, “I would have loved to Anjan, but it is a colleague’s birthday and I need to attend the party”.

Anjan with a few other friends decided to go for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park which was being screened at Rex Theatre on Brigade Road. Being a night show, getting tickets was not a problem and the group soon sank back into the plush seats in air-conditioned comfort, each with a tub of popcorn.The lights were still on. As Anjan looked around, he got a shock. A few rows ahead, he saw Rohit sitting with a girl, their heads leaning towards each other. Anjan could hardly believe his eyes. Rohit, his closest friend, his buddy, had lied to him!’

Bangalore is widely regarded as the “Silicon Valley of India”. A cosmopolitan city, it is the second fastest-growing major metropolis in India. The iconic Rex Theatre on Brigade Road downed its shutters for good on 1 January 2019 after entertaining Bangalore folks for seventy-eight years.

Anjan had come to purchase a gift of a framed Omani Khanjar for an industry colleague who was leaving Oman and returning to India. The best place to buy was from one of the many small souvenir shops in Mutrah souq….”

Suffering severe injuries from a gas explosion, Anjan meets Savio who brings him face to face with the private demons from his past. But past demons do have a way to come into one’s present with life changing consequences. Who is Savio?

Ashtami:

Sujit was hurrying from his desk in the administrative block of the Writer’s building. The office chaprasi had conveyed his officer’s summons.

Having completed his matriculation, Sujit had been lucky to have secured the position of a Junior Clerk in the British administrative office at Writer’s Building. His desk was in one of the newly constructed blocks which required him to walk down the front corridor whenever summoned to the officer block.

Sujit never failed to admire the newly added Roman facade to the building, the central portico and the exposed red bricks on the outside walls. A quick glance showed the outside promenade with a few carriages and the lake water beyond glistening in the morning sunlight.

“Hello Sujit, come sit down. I wanted to speak to you”, said his officer on seeing him. The friendly words belied an overall nervousness of the gentleman’s posture and movement.”

As the capital of the British Raj shifts to Delhi in 1912, Junior Clerk Sujit with wife Bina is forced to migrate from Calcutta to distant and dusty Civil Lines in Delhi. Shanti, born of a force delivery gone horribly wrong, comes into their lives. A tale of evolving relationships against the backdrop of momentous events in the nation’s history.

Title: The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories
Reviewed By: Kriti at Writing Quill
Order Book: Order on Amazon

About the author

Shakti is a new author of fiction on the block. He currently resides with his wife Sanchita in the city of Kolkata in India. Together, they are the proud parents of two lovely daughters. Passionate about exploring new places and cultures, Shakti has been a globetrotter. He remains elated by the thought that on this globe, his remains a unique name. Or so Google thinks. You can check this out by typing “Shakti Ghosal”. No, Seriously try it!

Shakti uses a wide angle narrative style in his writings into which he brings his rich global perspective and life experiences. He loves to explore relationships within emergent situations.

An engineer and a MBA (Faculty Gold Medal 1984) from IIM Bangalore, Shakti has lived close to four decades of corporate life in India and abroad. A professional certified Coach, Mentor and Trainer, Shakti runs Leadership Workshop cum coaching programs for organisations as part of his commitment to develop and upgrade Leadership Incubation globally. He is a visiting professor at IIM Udaipur, IIM Kashipur and IIM Nagpur.

Shakti has been blogging for close to a decade ( about 800 followers, 39,000 hits from all over the globe) on Leadership incubation, performance, life experience, philosophy and trends, and more recently, on his forthcoming book. www.esgeemusings.com

To Follow the Author on Social Platforms:

Facebook  | InstagramLinkedIn | YouTube | Twitter | Blog Site | Website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.