16 June, 2021

Lord’s Sweet Blows

A school swaddled in sensuality, saffron and rectitude packs an ominous presentiment

Lord’s Sweet Blows

There is an educational institution near Calcutta where the students—most from well-to-do, middle-class families—wear spotless white dhotis, bathe in outside stalls and start their day with meditational chanting while monks in saffron conduct classes. It is easy to fit the world of Saikat Majumdar’s novel into its walls, the rituals, the drapes, the subduing of the flesh and the discipline. Though whether its swamis are scented with cardamom is debatable.

Simmering tensions are revealed as the boys watch an India-Pakistan cricket match with an ear cocked for the reactions in the Muslim village outside the gates. Another kind of tension also comes to the fore, Anirvan’s feelings for Kajol, and the challenge is to keep their relationship secret in the atmosphere of saffron and incense through idyllic activities like plucking puja flowers together. Of course, it is a boarding school packed with raging hormones, so much of the reactions and expletives are exp­ected—not to mention outbreaks of violence both on the disciplinary and rebellious...

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