Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review- Murmur Of The Lonely Brook by Debashis Dey

Goodreads Summary: 

After marriage Nisha comes to a remote village near the mountainous Tibetan Border to lead a life among a nomadic clan who follow a simple lifestyle with customs and rituals dating back to ancient times.

Pravin is happy to marry Nisha, the girl of his choice. Nisha loves her husband but also enjoys the infatuation from his brother. She spends her days happily with a perpetually sad mother-in-law Parvati repenting on her past life sins, a short tempered Shevak, a love-stricken sister-in-law Ria, a kid goat munching everything, a lamb with a baritone bleat and her husband’s brother Diwakar lost in dreams. 

Everything goes well until Nisha’s life is torn apart by a proposal, and assumed betrayal, by the one and only love of her life, her husband Pravin when he suggests common marriage, an ancient tradition still followed in this region in which both brothers share a single wife, Nisha. The family is supportive save Nisha who is horrified by the thought of sharing her love with someone for whom she has a brotherly affection. 

She cannot protest or disagree as it will make her an outcast and the family will throw her away. Her universe crumbles and she feels humiliated and tormented with the new turn of events. As ancient ways confront modern mores, Nisha will be torn between her values and age-old customs in this brilliantly observed novel of ancestral folkways and contemporary families.

Will Nisha compromise her values… or will she fight the age old traditions?


Author Debashis Dey spent a lot of time in the remote areas of the Himalayas to find out more about the general lifestyle of the village folk and it shows in his first novel, Murmur Of The Lonely Brook, which is a result of detailed research and profound understanding of the subject at hand. 
Murmur Of The Lonely Brook starts out with a brief description of the main characters; Shevak and Parvati, parents to two boys, Pravin and Diwakar and a girl, Ria. I really liked the idea of introducing the protagonist family in the initial part of the novel so that we get a general idea about them all. Pravin, the eldest son of the family, marries Nisha, his bride by choice. Nisha adapts to the ways of her new family very easily. She is a good wife to Pravin, takes care of her in-laws, has a sweet and tender relationship with her brother in-law, Diwakar and is an idol to Ria, her sister in-law, who is obsessed with movies, the city life and the idea of love. 
For me, Nisha was the core of Murmur Of The Lonely Brook. Everything seems to be going great for her and she is so devoted towards keeping her family happy; until Pravin proposes that he and his brother share a bride to avoid any land distribution disputes within the family.
The book is explained from various points of views, but I found Nisha's to be the most acute and emotional. She is a firm giver and is willing to do anything for her family so long as they are happy. When she is put into the situation where she has to accept the practice of polyandry, her views about it evolve and it is very easy to understand them. I liked how the novel focuses on women, how much they have to go through in order to keep others happy and how they selflessly devote themselves to the needs of others.
Murmur Of The Lonely Brook introduces us to a new culture, customs, traditions and a general way of life in remote tribal areas. It focuses on life in village and how much the villagers have to struggle to put up even one proper meal for their family. The faith of the villagers in God is simply astonishing. They believe that as long as their Devta (God) is watching over them and blessing them, everything will turn out fine in the end. The religious customs did seem a little uncanny to me, but that is the way things work.  It was an enlightening experience to read about it. 
Author Debashis Dey has done an excellent job in researching and writing in his first novel, which is well-written, refined and gives us a glimpse into an India that we thought was a story of the past, but is still very much existent. I enjoyed reading the book and for me, as a reader, it was very informative.


X 3.5


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