With fingers trembling, I begin a journey on a new path. Having read some amazing book reviews over the last couple of months, I had been toying with the idea of writing one myself, but hesitated at the thought of being taken for a critic. Being a blogger, I just adore each and every word out of my mind, and no matter how much a self proclaimed feedback loving person I am, I would disappointedly question if some novice someone were to review and criticize my blog. But then, somewhere it has to begin, and before the thought of writing a book review itself translates into a blog post, let me begin the review.
“If I could tell you”, by Soumya Bhattacharya – Mr. Hubby suggested this book one morning to a grumpy me when I was complaining of a mundane schedule, stress, no “me” time, etc etc. Knowing I had conveniently stayed away from fiction for a long time, he suggested this would be refreshment.
Didn't know the book I took up to read for time pass would end up engrossing me for 3 days and some wee hours as well, right through my daily metro ride oblivious to the swarm of people in the metro, jostling against each other. Wanting to avoid bias, I avoided reading any reviews.
They say, never judge a book by its cover. So true. What seemed like a series of lecture filled letters from a typical Indian father to his daughter actually is much more than just that – a father sharing candid insights about his life with his daughter, sans any effort to idolize or inculcate anything. Just an honest account of his life & its various shades – the triumphs, failures, dilemmas and running parallel throughout is a beautiful depiction of his feelings about his bundle of joy, the only accomplishment in his life that makes him swell with joy – fatherhood. Often, authors get swayed by the emotions and that’s when such books become boring. Not this one. Soumya, in a completely “Soumya” and subtle manner knows how to keep his readers hooked on. So, layered between the various crunchy memories are creamy fillings of how a father bonds with his daughter despite the odds in his life, how he feels about the transformation in his daughter, from a chirpie toddler to a shy yet responsible kid coping with the ever changing situations – a perfect cookie that just melts in the reader’s mouth!
New parents would enjoy reading the initial half, and even if you are not, Soumya’s depiction of his earliest memories with his daughter would make you desire your little one too.
When the narrator ensures you are glued to the book, he slowly introduces the story of his life – a life that begins with a zero and ends with….well, you better read for yourself. A life of struggles despite having everything, of stress despite a laid back life one would envy, feeling of emptiness despite a fulfilling life. Its takes guts to accept ones mistakes and failures in front of one’s child and he shows that grit. I loved when at one particular moment; he celebrates rejection of his manuscript by a publisher. Instead of sulking at rejection, he saw it as his entry into the literary world, whatever small interaction it gave him with the fraternity. Now that’s what we call optimism!
However, the story gets sad in the second half. The narrator’s return to Mumbai, the city he began with, inability or rather I should say, laziness to manage and grow money, the constant hammering of failed ambitions, frustration at facing so much change and the twist in the tale that changes the fate of father daughter duo forever.
Life if anything, is about picking up the broken pieces and moving on so that’s exactly what they do. No matter how many hurdles come their way, the father never ceases to care and comfort his daughter. But how long can one sustain with failures and grief staring in the mirror every morning? The protagonist is after all a human being. What happens next is what I leave on the readers to find out since I don’t wanna spoil the fun.
Well, I began the book with a smile and by evening when Mr, Hubby was home, I was all tears, reading the last page. The author’s account is so real, so detailed that you end up believing it’s his own story. It was only at the last page that I realized it was just a creation of his mind and no inspiration from anybody’s life.
I enjoyed reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing this post. Go for it if you share that special father daughter bond, you will love reading every bit of it. A book to be felt and relished and not just gobbled down…