28 August 2016

The Folded Earth - Surreal and real

Book: The Folded Earth
Author: Anuradha Roy
Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The word that comes to my mind every time I read Anuradha Roy's books is - surreal. Her words create wonders of vision, smells and tastes as she writes. Forget the story that's not important, her weaving of the words transports you into the pages of the book. Last time it was 'The Atlas of impossible longing' written around the waters of Sunderbans. With 'The Folded Earth' you find yourself in the folds of the Ranikhet hills. The beautiful mountains, tall pine trees, dense shadowed forests, green walking paths, piercing chill winds, warm bonfires, wet soaking rains, cosy hill cottage, crumbling old mansions, grazing cows and goats, creaking wooden floors, army cantt, Christian cemetery, old church, post office and Mall Road. The quintessential hill station and its people. 

Their is love, heartbreak, longing, family secrets, history, property, legends, clash of past heritage and modern times. Every time I opened this book I knew I was diving deep into a sea of human emotions and the story took care of you. 

Amongst all the angst and sadness, there was a sweet little love story of a simple girl and boy from the hills. The matriarch, marriage proposals, secret love letters, running away to Delhi and marry! Isn't that just wonderful. So ms Anuradha Roy is a wonderful writer but at heart somewhere she is a girl who hopes for true love. And yes it happens on this very folded earth.

Their are layers and layers of us. The masks of happiness, sadness and longing, only if we understand that life is simple only if we believe so. 

Here are some lines to cherish -
Some people have mountains in them while some have the sea. Ocean exerts an inexorable pull over sea people wherever they are - in a bright lit, inland city or the dead centre of a desert and when they feel the tug there is no choice but somehow to reach it and stand at its immense, earth dissolving edge, straightaway calmed. Hill people, even if they are born in flatlands, cannot be parted long from mountains. Anywhere else, the ground is too flat, the air too dense, the trees too broad-leaves for beauty. The colour of the light is all wrong, the sounds nothing but noise. 

A time had come when I became a hill person who was only at peace where the earth rose and fell in waves like the sea. 

The railway people said an engine driver had to know the difference between red and green - for the signals. I understand, but as life is all shades of grey, and as for fifteen years I could tell red's shade of grey from green's. 

Every adventure story has its exaggerations and embroidery. That doesn't mean all of it is untrue. 

He climbs the high Himalaya, the mountains give him his loving. Yet with all this climbing and walking, what does he know if the forest or mountain, it's wildlife or its plants? There's no sense of wonder in him. 

His death felt more a disappearance, still unreal, leaving behind a smoke- like vestige of hope. 


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