I have read couple of novels by Samaresh Majumdar. His writing style is very energetic and is marked by its flow. However, none of his novels sticks in memory and seldom invokes any deep emotion or thought in heart and mind. Usually one comes across fiction written in third person. Occasionally, you might also have come across stories written in first person. I have noticed that several of Samaresh Majumdar’s stories and novels are a combination of these two approaches. I mean, a paragraph starts with narration in third person, but as one sentence follows another, the narration transforms into first person. I mention this at the very beginning because this is a characteristic of Majumdar’s writing and it looks very awkward.
The first book written by Samaresh Majumdar that I read this year was Unish-Bish. Usually when we want to remark on a trivial or insignificant difference between two items, we call it as a ‘difference of 19-20’. However, in this novel there is nothing of that sort. Here 19-20 denotes the age of protagonists and bracket the age group of late adolescence. The girl is studying in 12th standard and the boy is in first year or so at college. The girl is shy, darling of her father and very simple and studious girl. The boy is completely opposite to her in nature. They are family friends; the boy used to visit the girl’s home often since childhood and had developed a liking for her. The girl was neither aware of his feelings nor had any emotions of the sort from her side.
Once in a small family gathering, before going out of station, the girl’s father remarked that they are looking for a suitable match for their daughter and would soon get her married. It was just a casual remark made to tease the girl. However, the boy took it seriously and the news came as a shock to him. It affected his mental stability for which he underwent medical treatment. The girl was unaware of these developments and came to know about it only when told by her friend. One evening the boy confronted the girl before leaving Kolkata for Darjeeling where he planned to find a job with the help of a friend and settle permanently. He persuaded the girl to accompany him to the railway station. But several twists and turns and circumstances saw the girl being forced to board the train with him and travel all the way to Darjeeling and Kurseong. During their journey, they came to understand that the girl’s parents have started looking for their daughter and already informed the police. As the girl soon found out, the boy was very adept at telling lies and would make up stories at the drop of a hat. Staying together and travelling — or rather running and hiding — from one place to another, the girl starts developing concern, care and a little liking for the boy. The whole novel narrates the story of their run and chase by police. Eventually police catches up with them at a foothill, where the boy climbs up the hill top shouting and screaming the girl’s name and expressing his love for her in sheer madness. It denotes that the boy had once again lost his mental stability and was most likely going to commit suicide. The story is ordinary, and not unlike several love stories you come across in newspapers, magazines and even movies. Don’t worry if you have not read this book. I won’t even give it any rating.