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?
Santosh Jami from Bengaluru writes……
” Amazing book, very easy read.
Honestly I am not much into books lately but when I read the preface and the first few pages, I could not put it down, especially the parts where historical facts were interwoven into stories is real magic. The narration of battle of Plassey, events surrounding fall of Bengal when mixed with the characters in the stories – all of them came alive.And the mix of history with contemporary events is beautiful.
The open ending where the Chronicler slowly fades away is really thought provoking and leaves the reader with self reflection and space for introspection in a very subtle way.
Overall, an excellent read.“
The book continues to make emotional waves worldwide with around one hundred and fifty excellent reviews and ratings on Amazon and Good Reads. Available on Amazon, Flipkart and leading bookstores.
Frank Marinko is a Leadership and Executive Coach and the Founder & Managing Partner of Empathinko. He resides in Melbourne, Australia.
Frank says this about the ‘Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’ :
‘Reading a Shakti Ghosal story is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. His stories are akin to the gossamer of a fine and delicate spiders web, subtle, alluring and surprisingly clever. The narrative expands with coherence and a subtle obliquity and yet as I read, the feeling is one of being comfortably lost in a vast and sumptuous tale of intrigue and mystery.
The way Shakti writes this story with grace and ease allows the reader to immerse themselves into the main character’s experience. One can easily become that character, plunged into the complexities of the circumstances as the story unfolds.’
The book continues to make emotional waves worldwide with close to a hundred and fifty excellent ratings and reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.
Prem Chandra of the Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineers (Jamalpur cadre) is a senior professional ( retired) who has seen the world.
This is what he writes about his engagement with the Chronicler.
” After a long time, I read a full book, breaking my big inertia. I found your book very enjoyable, at the same time, I travelled in a time capsule few centuries back, living in those times, and had some foreign visits too, of US and Gulf.
Sorrow of Shanti in Ashtami, was very touching. In our society, we need to evolve much more to take proper care of handicapped people. Come to think of it, each one of us, have few major physical and/or mental handicaps, which we are able to hide somehow, or we are not even aware of them.
Pandemic has shown us good mirror. Glimpse of the same a century back, was quite informative and brought good memories of our Calcutta days.
Fault Lines, nicely depicted the hindu karma theory, with a good pinch of mystery.
Finally, The Chronicler…, was superb climax. I learnt lot of our own history in a very interesting manner. Some characters in it like, Joba Sundari, Omichand, Satya and Rani Rashmoni, will remain in my memory for a long time. Effect of mixing supernatural in the story was too good and divine.
Congratulations Shakti, for writing this book so well in your first such attempt. It is of a high standard. Best wishes for your future such endeavours. In fact, now I look forward to your next.”
From Ashtami :
As preparations got underway to take the body for cremation, no one could miss that low pitched moan from the room of the deceased. It emanated from Shanti as he alone held onto his mother’s hand. It seemed disturbingly like a sound from the past trying to come to terms with that of an uncertain future. It ricocheted through the house and beyond, and failing to tug at the heartstrings of the folks around, carried to the heavens the sadness, tiredness and the irrelevance of it all.
Ya Devi sarva bhutesu Shanti rupena samsthita
Namestasyai Namestasyai Namestasyai Namoh Namah
Ashtami, part of the Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories, continues to make emotional waves around the world with more than a hundred excellent ratings and reviews on Amazon.
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.
Each of the four stories in this book draw inspiration from such crucible events that I have had to face. The protagonists in that sense carry a bit of my own ‘experience and thought’ genes. As I see them now within the larger fabric of the stories, I do notice shades of myself and others who have been part of my life. Writing the stories has been a personal journey in that sense. At times the stories seemed to write themselves.
Come……….rejuvenate your emotions!
Swastika Bhattacharya has found her life’s calling in supporting children with special needs to take their rightful place in society. A beautiful and empowering profession.
My sense is that Swastika would relate wonderfully with Shanti and the other protagonists in ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’.
The book continues to make emotional waves worldwide with more than a hundred excellent ratings and reviews on Amazon.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Riya with daughter Tiri decide to have a fun day with the elegant Mice couple, Mickey and Minnie. They have chosen to live by the Chronicler’s coaching philosophy of, ‘Life is….‘. As Professor Gracy Samjetsabam mentions in her review, ‘……..sprinkles of confetti of coaching in life skills.…..’
The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’ is available worldwide on Amazon, Flipkart and select bookstores.
Adjudged ‘Book of the Month’ for March 2021 by Booknerds, The book has already got more than a hundred excellent ratings and reviews on Amazon worldwide.
Professor Gracy Samjetsabam teaches English Literature and Communication Skills at Manipal Institute of Technology, MAHE, Manipal. She is also a freelance writer, authors a column in Sunday Guardian Live and a copy editor. Her interest is in Indian English Writings, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies, Culture Studies, and World Literature.
In her review of the Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories in Borderless Journal ( May 14, 2021), she writes :
“ … stories help us make sense of our realities. Ghosal admits that intense and traumatic events in life have contributed to the creation of these stories. Part-memoir, part-historical, Ghosal paints the stories with strokes of personal experiences and from chapters of India’s long history, selecting those that converse about Kolkata. This tapestry makes the readers more aware of the nuances of history and vividly recreates these scenes in the imagined reality. Ghosal impressively weaves history and imagination to blend fiction and reality, thereby providing a voice of the unrecorded, the myths and legends around what happened on the other side of known history during the colonial period in pre-independent India or at present.
….. Ghosal sprinkles confetti of his coaching in life skills into the storytelling to create a set of modern-day tales that are easily relatable and palatable. The style and the settings are like fresh air that enlightens as it entertains. The stories are vibrant and close to current realities, making them a worthy read.”
As the capital of the British Raj shifts from Calcutta to Delhi in 1912, Junior Clerk Sujit with his wife Bina is forced to migrate from Calcutta to distant and dusty Civil Lines in Delhi. Shanti, born of a forceps delivery gone horribly wrong, comes into their lives. A tale of evolving relationships against the backdrop of momentous events in the nation’s history.
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.
Do past flavours motivate folks to pick up and read a book? It appears to be the case for these two veteran Railway men.
Pradosh K. Sinha of the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, looks forward to a rendezvous with the Chronicler of the Hooghly.
Sushil Luthra is a Railways and Transportation veteran, a logistics and Cold chain expert and currently the Director at Alfresh Supply Management. Sushil wonders if the Chronicler can bring in some fresh perspective during the current times.
Book of the month, creating waves globally with more than a hundred excellent reviews and ratings on Amazon.