The mystery of the Rupnarayan river


The name ‘Narayan’ literally means the Eternal Man. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words, nara, meaning “man” and ayana, meaning “resting place.” Narayan is the name of a Vedic deity who is also believed to be the supreme Hindu God, Vishnu.

Thus ‘Rupnarayan’ might be taken to imply ‘the beauty of Man in his eternity’.

The river Rupnarayan, emerging as it does in the Chota Nagpur foothills, twists and turns like a snake towards the South East till it unites with the mighty Hooghly.

The Chota Nagpur continental plateau in Eastern India is all of 65,000 square kilometres and spreads through the  states of Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Chattisgarh.

The Rupnarayan’s place of origin in Chota Nagpur holds another mystery. This is the remains of an ancient civilisation replete with its collection of artifacts consisting of copper and bronze vessels, ornaments and magical figures of men and animals.  A civilisation that is believed to be  contemporary to Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus valley.

As their waters mix, the Hooghly and the Rupnarayan would surely be murmuring to each other of the Rise and the follies of Man through the ages.

We spent a couple of days at Rupasi Rupnarayan Kuthir  resort on the banks of the Rupnarayan near Kolaghat….

The eternal delicacy of Bengal ‘Bhappa Illish’. From fresh Hilsa caught in the Rupnarayan
‘Kochhi Patar Jhol’ Mutton curry

#shaktighosal

Authors’ collaboration


Collaboration between two authors can be a virtuous cycle of learning for both.

In her review of ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories, author Manali Desai writes:

  • All the stories compare a time in India (especially Kolkata) from pre-independence vs now, making us ponder whether things have really changed and also highlighting the fact that ‘the past repeats itself’ and some actions/decisions have their impacts resonated through ages.
  • The writing style doesn’t always paint a pretty or desolate picture, but in fact, manages to preserve the beauty of simple simplicity by interlinking the heritage of Kolkata with commonality. Though the colours are a bit subdued and faded, but they carry lineage and ancestry.
  •  The most striking feature of the book is how the author has let his creativity rewrite history. It comes out especially well in “The Chronicler of the Hooghly” where the paths have been intertwined with well-known historical figures of Bengal.
  • The writing is simple and yet holds the capacity to make a reader fall in love with old Calcutta making them curious about the city’s past.
  •  The stories are thought-provoking and represent various human nature/emotions like greed, sadness, anger but the most applaud-worthy part about the actions in each story is how they bring home the message of karmic ends.

In my review of Manali’s book, I had said :

 “I was coaxed to read the book by a Facebook friend. I had downloaded it in Kindle a while back but could complete the reading only today.

Author Manali Desai took me on a journey. A journey inhabited by three millennials Ayesha Banerjee, Viren Joshi and Abhi Agrawal. A journey which spanned Mumbai, Kolkata and Chandigarh. A journey  into the mind and the world of the Millennial.  And I have come out enriched!

The prologue containing Ayesha’s poetry recital is at once heart wrenching, as it punches the reader in the guts. Showcase as it does one of the evils of our societal mindset.

Adopting an easy and racy writing style, Manali’s narrative does manage to operate at two levels. At one level, the tale is one of the proverbial romance triangle and what that shows up as in social interactions and conversations – during morning walks, in the college canteen and situations. At another level exists the unsureness and the confusion about making a choice. For me the end was somewhat abrupt. Apart from this a nice read.

I would urge Manali Desai to keep on writing.”

In our author collaborative session, we had an interesting discussion on the above aspects.

#shaktighosal#chroniclerofthehooghly#nazmesahityaaward2021#bookofthemonth#manalidesai