Friday, August 12, 2016

Book Review:: ‘Shamsuddin’s Grave’ by Paromita Goswami

Genre: Literary
Publisher: Partridge

Latika's wrecked personal front leaves her completely shattered. So when her ailing father reveals his desire to go back home, she doesn't think twice and moves to her hometown. She joins an NGO and comes across a teenager rape victim. Much against her TL, Debjyoti's wish she sets out to trace the girl with Shamsuddin's help. Will she succeed or end up in big trouble?

Shamsuddin, a daily labourer, somehow manages to thrive in the city. Meanwhile, flood devastates his house in the village. His family takes refuge in a relative's place where his wife has a tough time resisting to the advances of her brother-in-law. Can Shamsuddin arrange for an accommodation before it is too late? 

Set in Guwahati amid the backdrop of flood and ethnic turmoil, "Shamsuddin's Grave", is the story of migration towards big cities for a better life.

My Review:
‘Shamsuddin’s Grave’ deals with the plight and fate of homeless people in the north-eastern state Assam and forces one to think about the social makeup of our society. The story revolves around Shamsuddin’s need to own a home and social activist Latika, and how their lives are intertwined as they help bust a human trafficking ring. 

Having lost everything in the floods, Shamsuddin, a farmer, comes to Guwahati to try his luck in the city. Struggling to make ends meet he loses the trust of his family too. Battling her own setbacks Latika is carving out a new life working for an NGO. She comes across Shamsuddin, who lives in a barn of her aunt’s residence premises. They bond together and help each other during the difficult times of their lives. Shamsuddin's only dream is to own a house and get united with his family.

I simply loved the plot and its execution. Deprived of basic necessities of life, ’Shamsuddin’s Grave’ is a touching story of homeless, poor people who are treated as refugees in their own homeland. Shamsuddin’s plight touches a chord in one’s heart. Latika’s ambitious and emotional journey and the other sub-plots are seamlessly integrated with the main theme. The twist in the end leaves one amused as well poignant, dwelling on the social malady.

The characters of Shamsuddin and Latika are well etched with all their human frailty. Shamsuddin reflects the illiterate, oppressed class, who don’t have the simple understanding of owning an identification document to open a bank account. Latika stands for today’s modern woman who voices her opinion and is not afraid to get what she wants. The two opposite sides of human nature add spice to the story. 

Coming to narration, language though simple, needed another round of editing to cut down endless narration. The story could have been leaner for stronger impact of the issues. At times the words used are not appropriate in the context.

All said ‘Shamsuddin’s Grave’ is fabulous story with a delightful yet disturbing end.

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Read an excerpt

It was 2.00 a.m. in the morning and Kalapahar woke up to the cries of people. People didn’t know what was going on. There was no electricity and all they heard were the cries of women, children and men for help. Stampede of people running across the roads towards the uphill area shouting for help. 

 Latika too woke up hearing the cries. She switched on her night lamp but there was no electricity. She stepped down from her bed and landed into knee deep water soaking her pyjamas. Terrified, she reached for the torch on the night table and switched it on. She was traumatized to find her room flooded. The water level almost reached her bed wetting the mattress. She didn’t waste time and waded through the water to check on her father’s room. It was similar situation there too, with the only difference that the old man was sound asleep due to medication. She woke him up and went to check the other rooms. 

It was similar sight all around. Dining chairs, gas cylinder, utensils, tables everything floating across the rooms. She turned off all the switches and whatever valuables she could lay her hand upon, she collected in a bag. Then she pulled a chair on top of her father’s bed and made the old man sit on it with the bag. She checked the water level outside through the glass window with the hope of evacuating the house. But it was worse and riskier to wander out with an old man in flood water at night. She knew she could not make it. 

Help was unreachable as of now, as everyone was fending for themselves. She heard the neighbors crying for help but no one listened. Even the cell phone network was jammed. She knew she could not do anything but wait. At last she pulled a chair on the bed and sat down beside her father clenching his hands in hers. Both prayed eagerly for all this to be over. 

About the author

Paromita Goswami

A nomad at heart and a rebel by choice is the best way to describe her. Paromita Goswami had always believed in making her own path. She says life is full of stories that are waiting to be told. 

Author of Shamsuddin’s Grave, published in 2015, an offbeat social drama based on critical social issue, Paromita Goswami loves to write about life and relationships. She has written many short stories for online magazines. Her upcoming works are, Grow Up Messy, is a humorous collection of short stories of a mischievous five year old girl. The book is a ride down the childhood days.  It was part of blogging challenge, #atozchallenge2016 and second is The Jungle Series, a collection of short stories #paranormal, based on the jungles of Chhattisgarh.

Besides writing she is also the founder of Raipur Little Minds Book Reading Club that has a major objective of developing the book reading habit in children. She is also the founder of Book Studios that makes book trailer, book covers and banners. Making travel documentary is her other passion.

Paromita is married and lives in Raipur with her family including her pet cat and dogs.  She loves to connect with her readers and can be easily traced on all social media sites.

You can stalk her @


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