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Book Launch: Come, Before Evening Falls / 22nd February 2010

by: RWA Webmaster on February 16, 2010, 9:45 am in City Updates
 Book Launch: Come, Before Evening Falls / 22nd February 2010

"Come, Before Evening Falls" Book Launch, Written by Manjul Bajaj, at Epicentre, Gurgaon - 7:30pm on 22nd February 2010
 
Time : 7:30 pm

Entry : Free

Place : Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44, Opp. Power Grid Residential Complex, Gurgaon

Event Details : Launch of the book 'Come, Before Evening Falls' Written by Manjul Bajaj, in conversation with Daman Singh, author of Nine By Nine.

Manjul lives in Gurgaon, India with her husband and two sons. She is a part time consultant on environment and development issues, a full time wife, mother and homemaker and a time-less writer. Her favourite fantasy revolves around being locked up alone in a prison cell with reams of paper and endless supplies of ink. She is the author of the novel Come, Before Evening Falls. To know more about the book please visit- http://comebeforeeveningfalls.blogspot.com/ To read her writing in Hindi please visit - http://manjulbajaj.blogspot.com/ To hear her poetry in her own voice - http://www.youtube.com/ManjulBajaj

Publisher : Hachette India

BUSINESSWORLD

Tuesday 16 Feb 2010
Rooted In Rurality
A sensitive portrayal of life and conflict within a village culture
By

With her debut work, Manjul Bajaj has chosen to open a new domain in the Indian writing in English; the Haryana Jat culture. Though the culture is both loud and silent, at no point in Come, Before Evening Falls do the facts become overwhelming or does the reader feel talked down upon.

The story is located in the early 20th century but is as relevant in today’s atmosphere as well with its representation of honour killing and struggle for identities. At one level the book is Raakha and Jugni’s love story. At another level it is an exploration of how the society frowns upon a relationship which is outside its purview; the khap panchayat would not allow the protagonists to marry. Beyond that it is a story of how the sins of the father are visited upon the son and how Raakha turns on his head, like Iago and Othello (Othello) fused into one. Morover, the novel  delineates a failed attempt to create a utopian society because the man who could change the village in a few months is unable to rise above his own darkness.

Fifteen silver coins. Was it enough to set you on the road to becoming something then? If you saved for months you could buy buffaloes but no land to graze them on. A horse to ride perhaps but not a horse-breeding farm. After a few years of living sparsely you might save enough to buy a plot of land the same size as the poorest peasant who tilled your father’s land part-time to make ends meet.

Money meant so little in a village. In a town or big city, money was everything. Money and pedigree. In a village assets were everything. And his education was his best asset.

Jugni glows in her own light. Using interior monologue to show her intensity, Manjul penetrates into the heart of the women who remain behind a veil. Jugni chooses to conform to what, according to her, is the right path. The other characters , Dadi, Tau, Raakha's mother and the boys –are well etched. The Chaachi, once she tastes power, wants to retain it at all cost and drives the action towards the end of the book where the plot twists and it took me by surprise. Manjul is a poet and uses language evocatively, retaining the gently omniscient point of view.

Words. Words didn’t lose their point, their ability to pierce your heart and make you bleed, with the passage of years. They remained poisoned-tipped, sharp-pointed, shooting straight, their trajectory unwavering, headed directly for the part of you that you most want to protect. Becoming something then, she had raged at him.

Through her inversion of ion Guru Nanak and King Ashoka she makes contemporary the fall in values thus increasing the need to look at characters in their realistic ironies. I felt that maybe the real horror of the opponent, the khap panchayat should have been depicted somewhere earlier on in the book. Also, the title of the book could have been hard hitting.

Come, Before Evening Falls  does not read like a first work of fiction. Its greatest strength is in Bajaj's ability to gently carry the reader. Buy the book, it makes for good reading.

Amandeep Sandhu is the author of, Sepia Leaves, Rupa and Co


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