Life’s Beautiful Days
Waltz in Happiness
Life’s Beautiful Days
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“Life’s Beautiful Days” | Vagaries Of Change
Tracing the extraordinary narrative of a woman who is fleeting in her identity, Nilakshi Borgohain has created a novel that subtly battles social facts while nurturing personal spaces, writes ANIL K. SHARMA
Nilakshi Borgohain has handed over a unique novel dedicated to the Omni- ‘to every reader everywhere.’ The expanse of the novel’s theme crosses all geopolitical boundaries of nations, lands, caste, colour and creed as the narrative begins with ‘she’ who remains nameless albeit having several names coined in her journey like Rajkumari, Rani, Chutki, Baabi.
She is a vagrant on the streets who may be found anywhere in the world and called a destitute, orphan, deprived, have-not, illegitimate and more. These are the ill-fated people who have to struggle endlessly to keep themselves afloat. The author presents a diagonal contrast and says about the protagonist– “She walked for hours. She was used to walking. She had walked the crowded streets of Delhi begging for food, scouring every corner for rags and leftover morsels. Now, in beautiful Venice, she was walking for pleasure.”
The author is well-versed in inducting spiritual messages of the religious scriptures and the best tenets ever ordained and upheld by majority of the people across the globe like the Commandments, the Gita, the Guru Granth Sahib, besides turning to Buddhism for solace and peace. The potential and creative thought of the author creeps in to supplement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and further she seeks to elaborate intentionally and in clear terms that its implementation is mandatory as per provision under the Company’s Act. Thus, a new and innovative turn has been given to the orthodox veneration and the new conception of philanthropy within the ambit of laws and regulations. The purpose of introducing the concept of CSR within the novel is no doubt to introduce the readers to the model. And, to pen a picture of a CPSU township is drawn to acquaint readers to the quietly inclusive society of our times, about how Humane Social Responsibility operates.
One-liners are very effective tools of prose writing and Nilakshi has used this methodology impeccably as she begins chapter five with “She was admitted to the school.” It is not a small event for an orphan to be admitted to a school, so summed up in this one liner. The future course of events are dependent on her schooling, knowledge, as the author has put in her preamble to the novel – ‘knowledge leads her to achieve excellence in her profession, wisdom unshackles her to find herself.’ The author has categorically differentiated between ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’- because the former is looking and behaving outward and the latter is looking within to understand one’s own self.
Feminism is another aspect which is touched in rarity by the authors beneath its perfection, but the author has narrated the problems of personal hygiene of a young girl, who has no idea of waxing, smelling, fragrance etc. and has never visited a beauty parlour. The pathetic state and dilemma of a young girl becomes more grave and grim when: “She had no mother, no sister, and no best friend to guide her on the finer nuances of being a young woman.” Then and there, the aspirational climbing starts in the heart of a young woman as she becomes aware of such upkeep and makeovers of the feminine beauty and its typical sought after attractions. The author concludes chapter seven after dressing up the protagonist and says – “She worked relentlessly to fulfil her aspiration to truly belong to that coveted social order; and yet, she was constantly conscious of where she came from.”
Nilakshi has not written an introduction to the novel but certainly has inducted her introduction in the thematic construction of the novel between lines spread across all over the plotting. To make gods out of clay is possible for the good authors like Nilakshi, who has deftly elevated a nameless orphan to the status of a successful lawyer, and then holding a coveted high position in the corporate world, the vagaries of luxurious and aristocratic life do shadow the personality of the protagonist which has also been depicted graphically and ends in an accident in a drunken state.
The philosophical ingredient which the novel envisages in its presentation with Alice who is duped by the protagonist, who publishes the manuscript written by Alice, in her own name, the literary confrontation between them is symbolic and the use of the metaphor of an empty cup is innovative. The conversation between the two old friends is a must read.
The repentance and remorse are the strings to pull down one’s inflated ego and the deflated self comes back to be normal and the author has put the protagonist in that state when she says – “Dear God, forgive me, for I have wavered.” Alice forgives the protagonist ‘she’ for her misdemeanour and other failings and fallings, and the forgiveness is not gross and express but implied and subtle. Alice, to my mind is the author’s alter ego.
The beauty of writing a poetic prose lies in its diction, verbosity, subtlety, gory graphics, pithy presentation, symbolism, minute narration, emotional elation and deflation, all combined together can be found in Nilakshi’s riveting ‘Life’s Beautiful Days,’ a distinctive novel of our times.
As an Assamese who can write so fluently in English, I request you to continue your writings sincerely. Your character “Alice” is a beautiful personality who has tremendous power of forgiveness, human values, though she comes from an elite background.You must write a book based on Alice.
With all my best wishes and love,
Bandita Phukan, writer, winner Bal Sahitya Puraskar, first lady mechanical engineer from Northeast.
Anuradhha Bezbaruah on Life’s Beautiful Days.
In ‘Life’s Beautiful Days’, Nilakshi Borgohain has depicted a different and not-so-common approach to life .The story is of a miserable, nameless orphan girl in the streets who stops at nothing to fulfil her desires when opportunities come her way. In clear, powerful language the author brings out the complex emotions the protagonist goes through in different situations in her life. Ms. Borgohain unfolds the story in a style of her own: past events and present happenings are smoothly juxtaposed. Also, the ups and downs the girl goes through are aesthetically synchronized by changes of setting and scenery in the places she travels to for relief. An unconventional touch indeed! This again is in keeping with the unconventional nature of this girl for whom life becomes a game of hide and seek. She errs constantly, often treading the ethically wrong path. Interestingly the girl’s predicament is pitiable and poignant at the same time. However, her mind is ultimately balanced by her recollections of the moral teachings of her childhood benefactress. She also grasps the value of her true friend Alice’s unceasing guidance. .The dark side is thus skilfully neutralised – and a message is subtly conveyed that even in the midst of darkness the right attitude will uncover life’s beautiful days. Ms Borgohain keeps us enthralled and in suspense till the end: we do not know at any point in the book what to expect from this bright and daring girl!
This truly is a book worth reading. Theme, presentation, language, character portrayal are all strikingly unusual!
Mrs. Anuradha Bezbaruah, wife of Mr. M.P. Bezbaruah, a distinguished civil servant, was formerly lecturer in English in Hamdard University, Delhi and Gauhati Commerce College, Guwahati. She had an M.A.degree in Applied Linguistics from London University and M.A.in English, Gauhati University. She studied in Loreto Convent, Shillong.
Waltz in Happiness
Shiella Dixit, Former Chief Minister, Delhi releasing the book in CM’s Secretariat at Delhi.
The Assam Tribune, April 18,2011.
Sheila Dikshit releases book by Nilakshi Borgohain
The Chief Minister of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit released the book Waltz in Happiness authored by Nilakshi Borgohain at a function held at the auditorium of the Delhi Secretariat here recently. Launching the book, Dikshit appreciated the efforts and initiative of the author in writing the novel, which deals with happiness and also arouses the reader’s interest in Assam – a region still considered so distant by many.
The story tries to bring people of diverse regions very close. Interaction and friendship between the various characters belonging to different parts of the country leads to greater understanding and appreciation of one another’s cultures.
Director KK Birla Foundation, Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee commended Nilakshi’s writing for its evocative language and appreciated the generous sprinkling of Assamese words that are simultaneously explained in English, observing this enriches and entices the reader’s knowledge about this lush green region.
He observed that the book is surprisingly free of any ideological baggage – not going back to the post colonist cosmopolitanism; no fantasy; sworn of all these embellishments, the story glows as an exquisite Indian novel and thus touches a cord in the readers.
Managing Director, Niyogi Books, Bikash D Niyogi said, “it is a pleasure and privilege to add yet another impressive title to our fast growing number of publications. The Gurgaon-based author received her education in Loreto Convent and St Mary’s, Shillong. She graduated from Miranda House, Delhi University. Her prize winning poetry appeared in several anthologies, including Our Worlds Most Cherished Poems, Of Diamonds and Rust, Between a Laugh and a Tear.
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Emily D.C. on Waltz in Happiness
Few writers in our time and especially from the North East of India, have touched upon the subject of attaining happiness through the pursuit of a code of values that can never become outdated and archaic.
In her first novel, ‘ Waltz in Happiness ‘, Ms. Borgohain tells us in her highly readable style about the personal and moral struggle faced by Pranjal who is the central character of her book. He was raised by his single mother who instilled in him the high values and principles of life. Under the impact of the growing professional corporate sector where traditional rural culture of Gurgaon had undergone a remarkable transformation, Pranjal is now confronted with an entirely different world view. Influenced by his colleagues and friends, his conception of life is changing and he feels no qualms to bend the rules slightly if he can achieve success in his workplace and climb the social ladder.
The gentle author brilliantly explores Pranjal’s conflict in his new surroundings and finally, assisted by his mother and wife, realisation dawns upon him about the magic of a contented life and culture – a life that looks beyond material wealth, seeking happiness in the simple pleasures and joys. The book helps us to see and capture the true essence of life.
The sprinkling of local words throughout the book helps to acquaint the reader to the true Assamese culture, the vivid description of the social lifestyle of the region are all very appealing.
Splendidly readable, the book will capture the hearts and minds of people as it reveals how honesty, truthfulness, compassion can arouse affection, love and acceptance even in a strange place and amongst unfamiliar people.
Mrs. Emily Das Chowdhary, former-Additional-Chief-Secretary to the Government of Assam is an officer and a lady whose leadership qualities shine with artless grace. An IAS,MBA,(Australia), a warm-hearted homemaker and a voracious reader who enjoys travelling, Emily Das Chowdhary seeks out the positive in every individual and situation.
It is this endearing nature and her aptitude to grasp new subjects at the twinkling of an eye that has lead her to craft beautiful, heartfelt, poems soon as she began penning poetry. Read her refreshingly candid poems in the Readers’ Page.