Patna Roughcut is, at once, an elegy to the intimate neighbourhood and a poem of protest.india Updated: Nov 21, 2005 20:59 IST
By Siddharth Chowdhury
Price: Rs 250/-
Patna Roughcut is both an elegy to the intimate neighbourhood and a poem of protest. It is a story of love, idealism and sexual awakening.
Sensitive, laconic, fool for love Ritwik, apprentice writer and biographer of urban affliction, steers this novel from the coal badlands of undivided Bihar, to patrician Patna colonies and Delhi University campuses. Back and forth through five decades he maps the serrations on which a generation cuts its teeth and a society slowly slits its wrists.
Ritwik’s is a shared world of books, music and films. And thus, the only people he can truly love are those that further his unsentimental education: flamboyant Harryda who blessed by Marlon Brando sees his dreams in technicolour; austere Ila who gifts Ritwik The Communist Manifesto for his thirteenth birthday; Samar Sinha, the brilliant subaltern historian who plays for him Creedence Clearwater Revival albums and takes him for coffee with Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’; Mrinal Thakur-Chowdhury, patriarch of Hriday Kutir who one day disappears clad in his trademark white seersucker suit; Sudama Pathak, the doomed Glee Club chorister who provides Ritwik with his literary double; and in the end Mira Verma who by her own admission is ‘more of a Truffaut girl than a Godard moll’.
With ironic, delicate humour Patna Roughcut peels away layers of sepia-toned memories, to arrive gently at the heart of an aching, throbbing youth.
First Published: Nov 21, 2005 17:05 IST