Khoka – Moupia Basu.
How many times has that happened with you that you actually meet someone in person casually and are told by some else that this first someone too has written a book 🙂 and guess what – you end up getting a copy from them, read it, love it, cherish and never want to return it back :). This is exactly what happened with me when I met our own “Moupia Basu” at her own place as she invited quite a few of us over tea and snacks to talk about books and what not. Till then I had no idea and as I was told while meeting by one of her own friends who found a copy in her book rack and gave it to me I was shocked. Literally I finished what I was reading (A Jodi Picoult book) and grabbed this one as fast as I could and let me sum it up here – I totally totally loved it. She herself wasn’t that happy with the publisher who has made some mistakes in the book and it isn’t at par from her standards that I too noticed during the course of reading but let me tell you – that takes nothing away from the heart warming story which took me back in time almost six decades or more and was totally fantastic. As I met Moupia, I was delighted as she is one person with whom you can talk about Books, Literature, Bengal and of-course my favorite personality Satyajit Ray – all day non stop without break and her book actually reminded me so much of Ray’s simplicity as depicted by his books, movies and whatever he touched and did. Now my wife and kiddo too are reading it plus I am going to impress my mother tomorrow as she arrives first thing in the morning by giving her a copy 🙂 she always made us read those books related to India’s struggle of Independence. Oh and I ordered a copy from National Book Trust too which should be coming shortly so I can get it signed by the Author in person as I meet her again soon.
Khoka as the name suggests is a young kid and these are his adventure stories told by a mother to her own teenage son in flashback mode. I had another great connection with the story as the name of this kids father is actually “Rohit” you see what a coincidence :). They live in Hyderabad around the year 2006 and that gives us a perspective of present situation as well as the past. Khoka’s story is of-course pre-independence giving us a glimpse of that time and a brief but damn good mention of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Indian National Army as well as the mention of Jagdish Bose was such a refreshing story, it indeed took me back in time as I am sure we all have forgotten those great people. Simple stories with great meaning – I mean who doesn’t have a memory of childhood climbing up far fetched hills to climb up and reach a temple up there 🙂 or cross a gushing river with friends making a human chain of sorts. Also, spending some time in a jungle full of wild animals – current generation may not have experienced but people born before 70’s or 60’s will definitely know what I am talking about. Khoka does all that too with his cousins and friends and that too in style – how Prahlad the kid who is reading his stories learns important lessons of life is the book all about. Although its written in short story format but doesn’t feels like that with a single protagonist it actually feels like one big story. The book cover says its for 12-14 year old but worked big time for me too as its no less then a perfect story and I was hooked like anything and end up finishing it in one shot (150 pages). Even the illustrations are too good and very beautifully done, I am glad that the maker too is credited right on the cover of the book.
I had a great time reading it and I will highly recommend it to all to read it. The only way to get the book is the National Book Trust website.