Urvashi Basu , a British national, is a lady always on the move. Owner of Realty Design, Le Cafe Seine’and design studio, Urvashi effortlessly juggles the myriad roles of an entrepreneur, interior designer, wife and mother.
Can the Chronicler fit into her scheme of things?
Author Sambit Daspatnaik, author of the The Last War and other stories, now in its second edition, has this to say about the Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories.
I love historical fantasies… and one may call it synchronicity that I had this wonderful opportunity to connect with Shri Shakti Ghosal, author of the book ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly’, which is a historical fantasy. When I read his debut book, I was fascinated to see how beautifully he has narrated such wonderful tales. I would call it as one of the finest historical fantasy with a pure advantage of getting a chance to experience the historic city of Kolkata during the British times. The portrayal of complexities in human relationships in the backdrop of the British Raj is impeccable. Each of the characters are well thought of, along with a good amount of research done on history.
The portrayal of Shanti, the differently abled child in the story Ashtami is heart touching. The subtle change in the chanting syllables of Goddess from Shakti (power) to Shanti (peace) at the end is thought provoking and leaves the readers to draw their own references.
The complexities in the human relationships, the evolving social fabric and the affluence in India over the past 100 years and a critical comparison of the pandemic in the 1920’s and 2020’s makes the story Pandemic commendable.
The story Fault Lines, subtly juggles between the technical fault lines in the building construction and the fault lines that we often see in the human nature and fallacy.
Coming to the main story, The Chronicler of the Hooghly. It is in itself a masterpiece that weaves the history of Kolkata through the centuries, interwoven beautifully through the strings of the pearl necklace. Along with a historical ride, the story carries with it a sense of eeriness. Earlier, I had read the stories and works of Swami Vivekananda, about the temple of Maa Dakshinwshwari Kali and the appointment of Gadadhar as the temple priest who later came to be known as the beloved master, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. But this story references this from such a different and beautiful angle, that I had never imagined. The story reminds me of the story ‘Monihaar’ written by Thakur Rabindranath Tagore and later made into a movie by Shri Satyajit Ray.
Overall, the multiple stories remind me of Shri Satyajit Ray’s short stories and movies, while the beautiful narration in the backdrop of Indian history reminds me of E.M. Foster’s ‘A passage to India’.The language, the diction, the knowledge and the references shared through the stories reflect on the in-depth knowledge of the author, and how well read and experienced he is.I wish Shakti all the best for his future books and strongly recommend everyone not to miss this amazing book.
The book is available on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.in/Chronicler-Hooghly…/dp/B08X7M93DL