BOOK REVIEW: her resurrection
By Soumyadeep Koley
Released by Gargi Publishers
Rating: Three and a half
When Soumyadeep contacted me for the review of ‘her resurrection’, the first thought that crossed my mind was whether it’s just another book on the struggle of women in society. It took me a fair amount of time to start reading the book and the moment I started on my kindle, there was no looking back.
At a glance: Soumyadeep Koley has hit at the right nail in his depiction of Maya, an unwanted girl, who finds herself in the dark and underbelly lanes of prostitution in Mumbai before she rose like the phoenix, as the tagline in the book aptly puts it- a journey of emancipation, reclamation, and redemption. The writing is powerful and engaging that makes the reader empathize with Maya-the unwanted child. Maya encounters a soul sister, subterfuge Siddharth, exploited by corrupt men in khaki and meets her soul mate in Damien who sets her free.
What is it like to be an unwanted girl child in India? What is it like to be sexually harassed at a tender age of five? After being tricked and forced into prostitution, can such a woman fight back to emancipate herself from the unyielding shackles of that life, and intermingle with the ‘society?’
So begins Maya’s story in the picturesque countryside of Maharashtra, where she grows up amidst cruelty and domestic violence, being an unwanted girl child. Yet, like a lonesome beacon beset by sinister wilderness, she pursues her dreams of reaching the stars with her tiny wings. One night, a twist of fate triggers a series of incidents, when she loses everything she had—even her virginity.
Inspired by true stories of survivors and real life events, ‘Her Resurrection’ bravely paints an appalling picture of the society.
The story is dark, poignant and sinister. The character, Maya, a child or woman we encounter every single day in metropolitan cities or in far-flung villages whose hesitate smile or pain hide a permanent wound that destroys their soul every single moment. The sequences are poignant and like an arrow, it pierces your heart.
“One evening, the mother came to the girl with an old, half torn doll, with which the girl played in her childhood..the mother broke the silence, ‘Let’s play bride and groom…the toy got dropped from her hand, and she covered her face as she broke down into tears, her chest heaving.” It’s a tragedy to see how a woman’s life turns into a half torn doll, robbed of childhood and exploited at every end. Powerful analogy.
The description of Mumbai and Jaipur, two cities in sharp contrast to each other is done with competence in the narration. The author explores the underbelly and poverty pockets and it shows his mettle as a writer. He describes the emotions involved, whether the communion with the aged prostitute, Saadia with utmost ease whose tenderly and motherly affection for Maya is built on hope.
The author makes a strong statement on the objectification of women through Siddharth the crooked fashion photographer during scenes in Goa where Maya is shown big dreams, posing as a model. One cannot help but feel the pain of Maya who is deprived of love, unrequited, whether it’s from her father or Siddharth, the subterfuge, who turns her down. It’s unfortunate that Maya lives in the dark.
Soumyadeep has successfully weaved a strong character in Maya whom the world see as weak and she consider herself as a curse to human existence. The subconscious voice of Maya, perhaps an illusion reflects, “I have so many reasons to live. I have so many reasons to carry on my journey into life, leaving behind the sinister depth of the bordello, the sensual greed of Purushottam, the stabbing words of Mr Chhetri, and the subterfuge of Siddharth. Nothing can hold me back. Today, I am not alone.” Words that pricks your skin and cooks a storm in your mind. The author’s Maya has various nuances and facets to her character and dark life that she leads. Her words come as striking and powerful at a time where numerous atrocities are committed on women, regarded as inferior victims of verbal and physical assaults.
The author’s has lent credible nuances and facets to Maya in depicting her dark existence. Her words come as striking and powerful at a time where numerous atrocities are committed on women, regarded not only as inferior but victims of constant verbal and physical assaults.
‘She puts her hand on her belly and whispers to the blowing wind.”I’ll not kill you. I have enough strength to be a single mother..if you are a boy, I’ll raise you to be the perfect man who’d be made of love, who’d respect a woman, and fight for the ailing humanity of womanhood..if you are a girl, I’ll never let you come against what I’ve been through in life..ill be your sword and shield.
These are not words but a flash of thunder , that must hit the brains of the horde of patriarchal morons who make unfortunate statements and look at women as under caste or second class citizens.
There is a tendency for the author to depart from the main theme of the story, be it the Goa romance that makes a slight departure or the over emphasis on the functioning of the camera, nonetheless, very interesting but quite technical. I think it got to do with the fact that Soumyadeep is passionate about photography.
Soumyadeep Koley’s Maya is a tribute to women in any society and the rape victims whose soul is ruthless snatched away from them. He explores the world of poverty, the innocent child subjected to the evils of the world and the dark cell she finds herself in. Hats off to him for pouring his emotions and everything in his first novel which is about rape victims, a rape victim who finds retribution. There is no happy ending but the beauty of the book is Maya wins when she loses her everything. Perhaps, the Nirbhaya and Mayas have a reason to cheer! Their souls will never die and they will be present in each one of us.