Have you taken part in the latest craze that has been all over Facebook :-) If you ask me, this might be one of the best things that has happened over there in FB, of late :-) I thought why not convert my list to a blog post!! :-) I also figured this might as well be a wonderful opportunity to share a FEW of the beautiful literary pieces ever published in my native language, Assamese.
I was a voracious reader till my early twenties; actually I was always up-to-date on Assamese Literature. But then somehow other aspects of life took over! I know it’s my fault, but somehow I can no longer manage the time to indulge in peaceful book-reading. I have not read a single book in recent years that have touched my heart and soul! But, as I compiled this list, I was completely reliving the thrill and satisfaction of being a book-worm!! And also to the #bookListChallenge tag, I am able to make a pretty good inventory of my next reads, whenever I can manage some time, that is :-)
Without further ado, here is the list of 10 books (in no particular order!) that has, in some way stayed with me -
- অনুৰাধাৰ দেশ/The Land of Anuradha (by Phanindra Kumar Dev Choudhury): One of the very bold writers in Assamese Literature. This is my all-time-favorite book! I have read it at least 4-5 times. While I thoroughly enjoy the technical aspects of the “oil-rig” operation as the background of the book, I find myself completely lost in the poignant, emotional and romantic journey that the protagonist, "Arunabh” took, every time I read it. This book is my escape land; it takes me to a world of love, and of beautiful human relationships that goes beyond the rules and regulations of society! It takes me to a world where the end is ‘believably” good! This book puts my faith in real love!
- Totto-Chan: The LittleGirl at the Window/ত’ত্ত চ্চান (by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, originally in Japanese): I have such fond memories with this book! I dreamt about being able to experience a school as unique as the one "Totto-Chan" went. I read the excellent Assamese translation written by Toshaprabha Kalita. This is a story of a kid who joined a very unique school and how this new method of education brings so much transformation and vibrancy to her little world! A wonderful and fun read for young minds.
- অয়নান্ত/Ayananto (by Arupa Patangiya Kalita): Story of a unique and bold young girl spanning across her entire life. It’s a story of almost every woman in India (and in many societies). I am lucky that I am born in this era and into a progressive family, but the more I live, the more I realize that the struggles that women have been facing are still the same. They have gotten less severe but there is still a price you pay for being a woman! The melancholy and the pain the protagonist faces while trying to balance being a good daughter and the brave girl who has a strong desire to follow her dreams! It just shook me! One of best written book I read.
- মৎস্যগন্ধা/Matsyagandha (by Homen Borgohain): Such a bold literature, just like the writer. And I LOVE
the intriguing introductory page. I very much appreciate any work of literature
created by male writers where women's emotions are profoundly expressed. "Menaka", the leading character, is a fierce lady who
belongs to a lower caste. When her sister-in-law fell in love with a man from
higher-caste and gets pregnant, Menaka refuses to lose to the tyranny of
society. She prevents her sis-in-law from aborting the child and enables her
lover to gather up the courage to break off his match enforced by his family
and get married to her sis-in-law instead. “Menaka”, is a true embodiment
of Assamese women; bold, brave and beautiful :-)
- দঁতাল হাতীৰ উঁয়ে খোৱা হাওদা/The Moth Eaten Howdah of the Tusker (by Mamoni Raisom Goswami): This is a must read book if you are interested in reading more about the socio-cultural aspects of Assam of yore. The writer is an epitome of grace, courage and hope, and so is her writing. I have read her other books, but this has stayed with me the most. She portrays the change and transition faced by "Giribala", a very young Brahmin widow and the surrounding orthodox Vaishanvite society set in a Satra in Assam just around India’s independence. The writer herself translated the novel in English in 2004, it goes by the title “The Moth Eaten Howdah of the Tusker” (available in amazon). I also love the National Award winning Assamese movie Adajhyo directed by Santana Bordoloi based on the novel.
- হৃদয় এক বিজ্ঞাপন, চাহেব পুৰাৰ বৰষুণ, নাহৰৰ নিৰিবিলি ছাঁ/The Heart's a Showbiz, Rains of Sahebpura, Shadows of Nahor (by Anuradha Sarma Pujari): I am putting all three together, as they all are my favorite. I admire the writer for introducing the soft romantic, yet meaningful genre of novel into Assamese literature. Her books are romantic at the core, but very thought-provoking. The story-telling is also very fresh. The brave protagonists in her novels blew my mind away. I can always relate to them in some way or other. Plus, it also never hurts that I got to receive an award for book-criticism for হৃদয় এক বিজ্ঞাপন (The Heart's a Showbiz) from the writer herself. Definitely a cherished moment for the writer(??) in me!
- Anything and EVERYTHING written by Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia. Specifically his short story collections like প্ৰহৰী/ The Watchman, সেন্দুৰ/ Sindur, গহ্বৰ/The Cave, শৃংখল/The Chain, এই বন্দৰৰ আবেলি/Afternoon of This Port, বৃন্দাবন/ Brindabon, তৰংগ/Wave, সান্ধ্য ভ্ৰমণ/Evening Walk etc!
- সীমান্ত/Ximanta (by Hiranya Kashyap): The story of a teenage boy. I enjoyed it while it was published in the Assamese fortnightly Prantik and had to buy it once it was published as a book. Amazing story-telling and I can assure, you will relate to one or more incidents that have happened to you when you were a teenager. A fun read.
- Five Point Someone, 2 States (by Chetan Bhagat): Well, these are by no way “great literature” But they are about engineers and I really had fun time reading and reminiscing my engineering days! And excellent narrative in the latter.
- How Green Was My Valley (by Richard Llewellyn): I read this in Assamese translation as well. To be honest, I don’t remember the plot clearly. But I simply love the name, and perhaps the “traveler” hidden in a “young” me was absolutely smitten by the story that was based on an entirely different continent.
SPECIAL MENTION: Sishkin, Moi aaru Bahutu (I believe this was the first translated book I read, it completely amazed the my little mind but I cannot remember the original name and hence cannot find any online link to the book :-) ), Ruskin Bond’s short story collection (The man and the magic he creates with his words), অস্তৰাগ/Astarag (by Homen Borgohain), অশান্ত ইলেকট্ৰন/ Restless Electron (Story by Sourav Kumar Chaliha), হালধীয়া চৰায়ে বাওঁধান খায়/Halodhiya Soraye Baudhan Khai (by Homen Borgohain), এই নদী নিৰৱধি/Ei Nadi Nirawadhi (by Nirupama Borgahain), কেথেৰীণৰ সৈতে এটি দুপৰীয়া/Catherinor Hoite Eti Duporiya (Story by Anuradha Sarma Pujari), মৰমৰ দেউতা/Dear Father (by Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia), মৄত্যুঞ্জয়/Mritunjay (by Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya), ন হন্যতে/Na Hanyata (by Maitri Devi, superhit bollywood movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was adopted from this novel, let me tell you the novel is much more intriguing :-) ), সুগন্ধী পখিলা/Xugandhi Pakhila (all time fav collection of poems by Hiren Bhattacharjya).
I am inspired again to get back into the habit of reading :-) Infact, there are a lot of classic books that I have not read yet, so please feel free to suggest some of your favorite… in any language, I will try to find a translation :-) Oh, and this time I have to thank my sweetheart sister for digging up the books from our bookcase and take these beautiful pictures despite her very busy schedule...
Thank you to all of you too for reading through :-) Even though this is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great books ever published in Assamese language, I really hope it gives you an idea :-) Do share your thoughts if you happen to read any of these…. I always appreciate your feedback…