Nirmala Govindarajan is a complete Bengaluru writer. Sitting in the most iconic restaurant of the city, Koshy’s, with the usual suspects of the restaurant featuring in quite unusual ways through the naming of all male characters in the story, her thoughts slowly manifest into a book.But the topics she grapples with, aren’t as urban or uber modern as her surroundings. They are probably one of the oldest issues, poverty and hunger, plaguing one of the poorest states in the nation, Orissa. Her book is a juxtaposition of the heartlands of India and what happens in the corridors of power in New Delhi.
Her style of writing was attributed to raw journalistic tendencies. A raw journal that the book imitates, has been seen as a welcome departure from the polished intellectual standing that most authors tend to take. When the narrations took place, Munira Sen very emotively conveyed the step by step heartbreak one experiences as they see hardships and horrors so removed from normalcy. The book is in the present first person and doesn’t fail to convey an underlying sense of urgency, immediacy, a calling for change. All the characters are depictions of people in the flesh and blood.
It looked at their journey through the lens of political conflict and major personal conflict. We trace the journey of the protagonist who endeavours to come out of hunger, their greatest enemy. But the discussion doesn’t limit itself to it. Through the usage of streams of consciousness and magical realism, a great deal of ideas was explored. Missing persons, gender politics, undercurrents of the ‘me too’ movement, corruption were some of the topics in relation to the hunger battle that saw the light in this book.
Despite the grim setting, do not be disheartened by its premise. Because the ending of the book sees quite a happy flip giving the protagonists the last laugh. Nirmala’s activist opinions have brought forth very personalised engagement with the truth of our hinterlands. We must look forward to her enlightening journey, in the book,’Hunger’s Daughters’, hitting the stands in the next couple of weeks.
About the Author: At 19, Deepika Aiyer is an avid reader, crazy kdrama fan and loves to explore the What ifs of the world in her spare time.She currently writes for Bookstalkist.