Book: Rafflesia the Banished Princess
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
Release: 20 March 2017
Buy @ Amazon
There is no princess in this story. I too, like everyone else, was expecting this to be a story revolving around a female protagonist. Instead, there is Appu (Apoorva Sharma). This is a story about Appu’s journey from childhood to adulthood, the journey from a suburb of Guwahati, Assam to Leeuwarden, Netherlands; about his struggles, friendships, and relationships with people of different ages. It is a third person narration. The timeframe of this story is from 1982 to 2008.
Appu, a sweet, timid boy from Assam lived with his father Aabir, a Bengali and his mother Trina, an Assamese in a rented house in Guwahati. The family struggled with poverty yet was very happy with each other. As much as the poverty tried to run over them, his father’s Violin and music shielded them from any negativity. His parents dreamt and hoped that one day Appu will be a successful man and pull himself out of that miserable life.
Appu always struggled to express his emotions as a child and he never could change himself even when he grew up. His best friend since childhood, Rahul, always complained that Appu never shared his feelings, thoughts, desires, and hopes with him. Appu never really shared his feelings with anyone else either. He was extremely introvert and somewhat naive. He didn’t understand the complexity of the world. He kept on hiding his emotions to himself. He hardly understood people yet loved them dearly and never hated any even if they harmed him in some way.
I could relate with Appu to some extent. His mediocre, humble upbringing and surrounding was similar to mine. The revelation of his love of different languages made me feel I could very well be his friend. At the workplace, he was the outcast, distant, silent one, just like me. Still, he managed to get so many affectionate friends who doted on him.
He treasured little things of life and kept them as a collection. A piece of paper with a scribble from Rahul and two books he got as gifts made his precious collections. Rafflesia, the Banished Princess was one of them. He even carried them to Netherlands. Those things helped him to cope with the loneliness and emptiness he faced in his life. As a reader, it was difficult for me to understand whether Appu ever fell in love with anyone or desired anyone in his life or not.
If you like a slow, melancholy story you must try this one.
Things I liked:
- How the story handles a lot of emotions. It even breaks the stereotype that “Boys don’t cry.” They do cry and feel all the tender emotions.
- How Appu treasured books gifted to him. Like Appu, I too have such books which I carry everywhere. The nostalgia and the good memories attached to it along with the story itself gives a lot of comforts in hard times.
- All the main characters and their stories.
Things I didn’t like:
- Some goofs. Like in 1982 there were no STD booths in India. STD booths were opened during the late 80’s.
- Grammatical and typesetting errors. Text needs careful editing.
- So many insignificant characters and names which made the story lengthy.
‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’