Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The fight between the Idealism and Reality is what the story is all about.
A man haunted by his own pen name, who cannot live up to the image he has portrayed to the world, his struggle to be accepted by people for what he is....Musafir turns out to be more of a myth for all his believers.

The story started off at a slow pace for me. The girl, Tilotama, in love with the author who is very vocal about the current political scenario, she is very much smitten by his idea of perfect 'society' that she cannot separate the real from the assumed. Nor can she believe that he can be anything else other than what he portrayed in his writings. That is the reason she cannot accept Riddhhiman because he is too practical and human, a person who is selfish and materialistic. She still believes that he still has the power to reform the society if he becomes Musafir; when he himself does not think so.

Their love story is riddled with doubts and conflicts, she trying to look above his imperfections as Riddhiman and he trying to prove to her that Riddhiman is equally desirable. They marry in haste, yet it is Tilotama who can understand him perfectly and who can save him if at all he wants to be saved because she still sees the potential in him.

Riddhiman's complexity of character is revealed in the way he interacts with other characters in the novel. He has an intellectual connection with Mr. Sen, Tilotama's father, who is also inspired by Musafir's writing yet is very grounded to accept Riddhiman. Though he shares a very lovely bond with his mother, he fails as an "ideal" son, putting his needs first than that of his family's. He is indulgent because his family stands by him in all the phases of his life, which he takes for granted. The way he treats Gopal, his long time friend and secretary, shows how egoistic he is! In the end, he is not able to cope with all his shortfalls and feigns mental disability holding his family to ransom. Tilotama sees through his facade. It is her love for Musafir that she tries to put sense into him only to realize that Riddhiman can never be saved because he is too full of himself.
"Nothing is sacred to him,' as Tilotama says. It is this crisis of identity that makes him incapable of writing a decent piece of story.

Tilotama is THE heroin of the story all the way. She sticks to her idealism. She works for the upliftment of women and makes them self sufficient. She finds a mother and a friend in Krishnakoli, Riddhiman's mother. To her Krishnakoli is an example of a strong woman who has made it on her own, who works for others selflessly, Though initially she blames Riddhiman for his mother's death, she is also quick in rectifying her judgmental attitude. She is unapologetic in her ways when she sees through Riddhiman's lie of pretending to be losing it and becoming suicidal. She does resurrect him, only to lose him permanently. I loved the ending when she decides to let go rather than fight for a shadow of what Musafir was as Riddhiman is still unable to come into terms with who he really is.

I loved the complexities of the characters and the way they are unraveled. Paulami has taken care to dissect the layers of Riddhiman and also Tilotama's thoughts, weighing of pros and cons very objectively.  The romance is strong yet does not overshadow the crux of the story. It is the strength of the women in this story that shines in this novel. A well written story.



  1. A very interesting review, Janaki and sure sounds like one Hatke novel, departing off from the run-of-the-mill:)


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