Among the most beautiful methods of telling a story, is the art of accurately representing the impressions the character’s mind makes in situations of conflict, anticipation, anger, solitude or anything that involves being alive.
Chandrahas Choudhury, projects these impressions using the form of a novel, much like how Arzee projects the films in Noor using the projector. I strongly recommend that you buy this book, and in order to assist you to make this decision, I will relay some basic data about it. Along with some links displaying the author’s own work that is available online.
Who is Arzee?
Now that is a question that troubles Arzee himself at times. That said, on a basic level, Arzee is a dwarf who works as a projectionist in a cinema hall called Noor. He is also, a lonely character with a lot of bad luck.
What is the book about?
The book begins with Arzee holding dreams about the life he’d have, once he gets a promotion in his job. He does not hold back in expressing these dreams to his friends with whom he drinks and plays card games. To quote a passage from the book:
“And now, though he was keen not to be interrupted, he paused for a moment before he said what he’d been wanting to say, and yet was unable to say, for fear of getting ahead of himself. But he’d gone over the possibilities so carefully! There couldn’t be any conclusion other than this. He couldn’t be fearful any more- he’d told himself that a hundred times. Yet old fears weren’t so easily shaken off- they seeped into you, and became a part of you. Then again, to not enjoy what was yours- that was almost as bad as not having it at all.”
Arzee dreams of having a bit of company for his lonely existence,
“His brother Mobin would have to move out of the room they shared between them, and in would come his wife- that certainly was a great bargain.”
But, as the inside of the book cover says, Arzee has got it all wrong. In a brilliant conclusion to a chapter, which preludes the ending of his delusions.
“And here Arzee paused and waited to hear the warming words to follow, as surely as the interval follows the twelfth reel. He didn’t want to sound the conclusion himself – why should he? Let Abjani say it. Later he’d repeat it many times anyway. Let Abjani speak the sweet words the first time round!”
What follows after this, I will urge you to read the book and find out. (I am aware that I am repeating this.) Good literature, needs more patrons.
Here are a couple of Choudhury’s stories: Dnyaneshwar Kulkarni Changes His Name and The Classical Novel, On A Fall Morning In Iowa. Here is a song of Arzee, the Dwarf (Why did they not use it on the back of the cover, along with the quotes that are very nice and all, but does have the potential of scaring a few readers off.), and here is a series of blogposts on the novel. Scroll down a bit, and you will find links to the interviews. Lastly, if you’d like to see the writer in flesh and blood, here’s a video interview given by him.