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BOOK CORNER: THE LEGEND OF LAKSHMI PRASAD by Twinkle Khanna

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–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE LEGEND OF LAKSHMI PRASAD

TWINKLE KHANNA

PUBLISHER: JUGGERNAUT BOOKS

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2016

    When Twinkle writes it goes straight into your head and not over your head. I bring to you this title which is a collection of four short stories. The sequencing of which is as follows:

  • The legend of Lakshmi Prasad
  • Salaam Noni Appa
  • If the weather permits
  • The sanitary man from a sacred land.

    If you are interested in light reading that has stories with a social message this indeed is the book. Where, the lady author focusses on women centric issues. Issues, that are in everyone’s mind, but are seldom talked about. The novel has an assortment of stories from Bihar, Mumbai, Kerala and M.P. almost a national integration.

    The book starts with the ‘LEGEND OF LAKSHMI PRASAD.’ It is about a young girl who resides in a village, sandwiched between river Kosi and Ganga, in Bihar. Her name is Lakshmi Prasad (Prasad being the family name). She has an elder sister whose name is Sukriti.

    The village has a rich foliage. Mainly trees of a precious fruit called Jardalu—a golden mango which is very sweet. So sweet that once eaten, its taste, lingers in your mouth for days. Lakshmi’s elder sister, is just three years elder to her and is married off at an early age. Like it happens in most villages. But sadly her marriage runs into a rough weather. After a while she is tortured by her in-laws and sent back home to her parents.

    Where, Sukriti discovers she is pregnant. She hopes for a son but as luck would have it she is blessed with a daughter. Her in-laws refuse to accept the baby girl—calling her an illegitimate child.

    The baby girl is named Radha. But unfortunately there are no resources to raise the child, especially, because Sukriti has been thrown out by her in-laws.

    This is when Lakshmi comes as a saviour. They use a wooden stick to cut ten ripe mangoes off the tree and plant the mango seeds evenly in a straight row. These ten Jardalu trees are Radha’s trees. They will grow along with her, taller and stronger with each other. When Radha will be eight they will bear fruit. We will sell them in Munger and that money will be hers.

    After that every year her trees will bear fruits and the money will be saved for her education and for her marriage. Even the village decides based on Lashmi’s Prasad’s advice that each time a daughter is born. We will celebrate and plant ten Jardalu trees for her and they would belong to her forever. Ten trees like ten fingers with which we women can hold destinies firmly in our hands.

    SALAAM NONI APPA: Is a very touchy and emotional story of an elderly lady Noni Appa who is a Muslim widow and lives in Mumbai. She also has her sister staying in Mumbai in a different house nearby. Noni Appa comes in contact with an elderly yoga teacher Anand ji. Anand ji is married with a grown up son. But he doesn’t get along well with his wife, who keeps insulting her often. Matters precipitate, when, she once insults and gets physical with Anand ji in front of Noni Appa and her sister and servants. That forces Anand ji to take a decision. Meanwhile Noni Appa is admitted into a hospital in a very critical condition but she survives. There is no one to look after her. Just as there is no one to look after Anand ji. They start giving each other company by playing rummy. And gradually one day Anand ji moves into Noni Appa’s flat. She a Muslim and Anand ji a Hindu. But the soul connect is divine. In life when the odds start bothering you what matters most is a one on one relationship. The story truly depicts that.

    IF THE WEATHER PERMITS: This is a story of a girl named Elisa. She is a Keralite born and brought up in Mumbai. Her father puts her through several marriages but none fructify. Finally she is married off to one Chacko. Chacko is from Kerala. He is a drug addict and even smokes hashish. The marriage again goes through rough weathers. I shall not reveal the end. The readers will have to do it themselves.

    THE SANITARY MAN FROM THE SACRED LAND:  The story is based on Padma Shri awardee Arunachalam Muruganantham (better known as Muruga) and his marvellous invention. That happens to be, the low cost machine, for manufacturing sanitary napkins. The chief protagonist of this story is Bablu (official name Prabhash) who is a lowly qualified mechanic-cum-plumber. Yet he is quite perturbed about the fact that Indian women don’t use proper sanitary napkins during their menstrual cycle as a single unit is sold for forty rupees by these multi nationals which women cannot afford.

    As a result of which they use all sorts of unhygienic cloth on account of which they catch infections of various kind. So, Bablu is determined to make a cheap machine for manufacturing cheap sanitary napkins.

     And since he stays in a small town Mohana he keeps his ambition a secret. But then matters do leak out. Because of which he is considered as a mad guy and even a pervert by some ladies and men in the town. As a result his family which includes his mother, sisters, wife and child they all desert him except for his dog Choti.

    But inspite of all these hardships Bablu is adamant and doesn’t give up his mission. In the process he even loses his house and finally shifts to Indore where he works in a dingy rented workshop.

    The story throws up the struggle of Bablu in great detail. Finally he comes out victorious. He is then invited by IIT and even Unilever in London to give a talk on his invention. He even starts visiting a young lady teacher to learn English as he is now a renowned man. The story is quite well written.

    The book is around 232 pages. The book is in easy read format but has a good flourish of vocabulary. The detailing is excellent including little knick knacks.

    I would give the book seven out of ten.

    Price of the book is around Rs 270.

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Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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