The book begins in 1978 and culminates to present day and traces the life of a tragedy bound family. This book is a simple story narrated well, giving us a glimpse of a tranquil life and a world of kids before television, a world when things were simpler and smaller issues had a tendency of snow balling into major issues.
Sia is the story of a little girl who grows up to be a dutiful wife and a devoted mother but a childhood trauma, her elder sister Munni’s suicide never really stops haunting her. It is only years later does she discover that she needs to delve deep into what led to the mysterious suicide. It’s heartening to see that Prionka Ray’s book is a sharp departure from what contemporary writers are writing about today. Her writing feels a lot like Jhumpa Lahiri’s writings, based on themes such as family, shifting cities and lifestyles difference being of that of a Bengali and UP-ite. The narration speaks of Sia’s life through three decades, which is again not the style of most contemporary writers who generally opt for light, fast-paced novels.
It takes us through a very emotional experience. The author has been witty, sensitive and hilarious as the situation demanded. The book is very detail oriented, beautifully describing each place and the setting of characters throughout the book. As a reader I was literally transported to the ghats of Benaras, the streets of Delhi and hustle bustle of Mumbai. One can relate to all the emotional threads of relationships that are so thoughtfully woven together in Sia.
The book is very real in its portrayal and observations. The author has done a good job of maintaining how people and their mindsets in Benaras are different from those in Delhi and Mumbai. At the end, when she gets to know who had leaked the pictures to a magazine, she realises that the entire photograph episode was blown out of proportion: that place was Benaras in that day and age. She realizes that the pictures certainly did not warrant the trauma her family and sister went through.
Moreover in the book, debutant author, Prionka Roy talks about many issues plaguing the society – generation gap, infidelity in marriage, not having a son in the family, etc. Prionka has also done a very good job of sketching characters very well. Be it Ammi, Rajat or Mili all the characters are complete, multi-dimensional and real.
However the book has a few grammatical errors here and there. Wish they were done away with. It’s a good read nevertheless.
Overall Rating: 4/10
Jai is a vital combination of bones, blood and brains haunts this earth with a pen and camera capturing the various dimensions prevailing on this planet. With flare for sarcasm he writes for politically correct reasons. When he gets time from gym, discussing, networking and reading he also participates in writing and composing songs. His ambition is to become the head of United Nations and BTL is his way.