Category Archives: Personal Musings
Books on love are available dime a dozen in India. Unknown writers have shot to fame and built careers by selling the mushy-formulaic romance that tugs at the heartstrings of college crowds. Romance is a genre that sells – dynamics of relationships intrigue readers like no other.
To describe ‘The Nine Chambered Heart’ by Janice Pariat as a book on love would be like trying to describe love in a word. It is near to impossible, and everyone would have a different interpretation. The book is a kaleidoscope of emotions, a profoundly illuminating tale about a woman.
The book has 10 chapters. In nine of those, nine characters recall their relationship with this same woman. We get to know about her through their memories. Their stories breathe life into her. Every encounter we have in our lives leaves a mark in our being, and in this book that momentary imprint takes us closer to the personality of the protagonist.
The success of Janice Pariat’s book is not in what she writes, but in what she chooses not to. The slivers give us an insight into the ever-changing identity of the girl, who falls in love. The events take place in familiar, nameless cities, moving between east and west. From the art teacher in school to another woman in university – the girl experiences love in all its forms.
The book personally appealed to me because I have recently fallen out of love, and I have loved men of varied hues in the past. Every relationship has a bearing on our personalities – and we retain memories from them. It so happens that a random line of lyric of a song may remind you of your first crush, or a movie may bring back memories of a loved one who is no longer in our lives.
‘The Nine Chambered Heart’ is a must-read for anyone who has been in love, and has been madly in love with the concept of ‘being in love’. Janice Pariat’s book makes for a delectable journey of self-discovery through the written word.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
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P.S. This review is part of the Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme
“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There are two kinds of Bengalis – those that prefer the mountains for vacationing and those who are enticed by the sea. I fall in the latter category. Having grown up in north Bengal, with mountains and forests abound, my heart always yearns for the majestic view of the sea – serene, endless and unrestrained. The sea epitomises a boundless bundle of energy which follows its own rhythms and refuses to bound by any rules. Who can say no to such charm, right?
My latest trip (on Bhaiphonta) was to a little-known beach near Digha in coastal Bengal. Tajpur, located 180 km away from Kolkata in Purba Medinipur district, is a quaint, secluded and serene destination, ideal for those who want to break free from the maddening city-life and relax in the lap of nature for a weekend.
With an abundance of Casuarina trees, the Tajpur beach is a joyous territory for those who want to explore nature. The greenery is striking, and the air so fresh and pure that you feel alive again. The place is also known for its red crab island. With small shacks serving fresh fish right next to the beach, the experience attains fruition.
The Government of West Bengal is currently constructing a road connection Shankarpur with Mandarmani. The road passes over Tajpur and is a tourist’s delight. The mighty sea on one side and the lush green, idyllic, rural Bengali landscape on the other side – this certainly is a sight to behold.
You can just sit on the sandy beaches (or the rocky embankments made by the administration to prevent erosion) and stare at the waves; there can be no better purpose in life.
How to go
We had hired a car from Kolkata to Tajpur (180 km). The route we took was: Kolkata – Kolaghat – Nandakumar – Contai – Chaulkhola – Balisahi – (turn left) – Alampur (turn right) – Tajpur.
One can also take the train from Howrah to Digha (and a local vehicle from there). There are several buses that leave from Esplanade for Digha.
A rain soaked ride
Where to stay
While there are a few hotels to stay in Tajpur, I would advise staying in Shankarpur or Digha. The facilities are better there.