Ri is not just the story of Eastern India; it’s a story that rings true in every part of the world. In the entire human history of 3400 years there has been peace only for 268 of them or lets say 8 percent of recorded history. And who suffer the most? The civilians of course! They are brushed aside as collateral damage. They are shot, bombed, raped, starved and driven from their homes.
The statistics of common man suffering in the war-ridden countries are more than scary. Be it the two great wars, or the genocide in Bosnia, the ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, terrorism in the name of religion from Afghanistan and Pakistan or the annihilation of population in Syria and Libya, it’s the common man that has faced the worst of circumstances, yet, ironically, the wars are apparently fought to usher in a better life for these very people.
We don’t have to go all around the world to see how human beings lose their family members and are torn to grief, we can just look around in our own country. Strife in the name of religion, administration, marginalization, ideology has become rampant and Ri very vividly brings out the dilemma and the helplessness of our times.
The story revolves around two characters. The hero Kyndia and the so called anti-hero Manbha . While, Kyndia has sworn to bring end to terrorism, Manbha has resolved to make India pay for marginalizing the North Eastern States. One wants to stop blood shed and senseless killing of inncent men, women and children and the other wants the men in power to finally look at his brethern and acknowledge them as human beings. Both men are bound by their ideologies and a sense of duty but their methods are different. One stays in the system to make lives easier and the other is wanted by the system for making trouble. One is the protector of the masses the other, the liberator of the masses, ushering in freedom.
The story gives us an insight to the everyday struggles of the people in these terror-ravaged states of North East. The uncertainty of life and the fear in which people live is a set back to the entire community not just in terms of education and business but a shadow of despair and gloom has shrouded them and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
The author ends the book in a positive note that provides for some kind of hope to the reader that perhaps not all is lost. Nevertheless reality most often t not that kind and the plight of the common man remains interminable.
Paulami Dutta Gupta weaves a story of desperation and hope in a simple moving narrative. It is at once lucid as it is expressive and makes the reader crave for more. What impressed me most is the little detail about Meghalaya that the author has penned at the beginning of the book – a beautiful state with nature at its best yet so consumed with violence. She has kept the narrative short, unpretentious and to the point which accentuates the impasse that makes for a poignant storyline .
Born in Shillong, many moons ago, with schooling at Loreto Convent, and an English Honors from St. Edmunds College, Paulami Duttagupta started her career with All India Radio Shillong. She had written and also given her voice to a few shows there. Later she came down to Kolkata and got a post graduate degree in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. She had also taken up a fancy to learning Spanish, but today confesses that she has forgotten most of it.
Having left her day job in 2012, Paulami took up full time writing. Her first novel, “Pinjar” released in early 2012.
Her second novel “Unplanned Destinty” released in 2014. She is also the screenplay writer of the national award winning Khasi film – “Ri Homeland of Uncertainty”.“Ri” has been adapted into a novel and was released on September 14,2014She is currently working on her next project as movie script writer.
Apart from writing full length novels, she has written several short stories and articles. She has also contributed to the “Minds@work Anthology” and the “Family Matters International Anthology” in 2013.
Recently she has contributed to the “Learning and Creativity Anthology” , “Her Story Anthology”, and “Celebrating India – Love across Borders Anthology”.
When she is not writing or watching movies, Paulami is either reading biographies or classic pieces of literature. Cricket, food, cinema, books and music are an integral part of her life.
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