I essentially have always found reading as a boring & monotonous activity. Until recently I hardly used to read anything apart from the daily newspaper- which I can’t do without. However a long spate of sitting idle within confines of my room has over a period of time make me take interest in it. The latest book which I finished is “Train to Pakistan”. It has been written by Khushwant Singh- one of India’s prolific writers & a personal favorite. TTP is often regarded one of Khushwant’s classic works. It is a coming of age story about a small village on Indo Pak border set in the back drop of partition.
The plot is gripping & seldom fails to keep the reader intrigued. Khushwant Singh has mastered the art of story telling- the plot literally takes you to Mano Majra- the remote village where the story is set in. The characters feel so real, all of them capture your imagination, whether it’s the Gurdwara priest Meet Singh, the dacoit- Jugga, Iqbal Singh- the political activist or Hukum Singh the magistrate. It starts off with individual plots involving the characters , which soon happen to be interconnected as the plot unfolds. Each character even if not directly coming in contact with the other, manages to influence the unfolding of events in the other’s life. The book gradually shifts focus to human emotions in times of adversity. How fast men unknowingly see a shift in their loyalties & their affiliations by the sheer turn of events is captured in the book magnificently. Friends who swore by their friendship for many generations soon turn out to blood thirsty savages. Amongst all this mayhem & morbidity where humans have turned into nothing less than beasts, there is that inherent trait of kindness & compassion amongst all of us- irrespective of caste, nationality & religion. The climax is one of the high points of the book which again reflects all those aspects of human nature beautifully.
This book is however not for one’s with a taste for non fiction plots & people into serious reading. The beauty of the book lies in its simplicity making the process of reading hardly seem onerous. Definitely worth reading once…….