20 September, 2020

Deja Vu

You can't get by on idle chatter

Deja Vu
IF there is an overwhelming feeling of deja vu, it's because Across the Lakes is so reflective of contemporary reality. Steeped in Kolkata nostalgia—right down to the pot of tea at Flury's, kal baisakhis or "spring thundershowers", the ubiquitous Niz-am's rolls, adda and phuchkas (gol gappas), lavishly dismissed as "light puffed pastry"—four characters tread four different paths that meet, but with tragic consequences.

There's the Scotland-returned economics-educated Putul who will have to take up his uncle's business as soon as he can shake off his languorous ways; Meena, budding poet, idealistic yet unable to conceal her excitement when her cultured Sen parivar shortlists her dada's marriage potentials; Scotsman John Stewart who wanders into India in search of, what else, his roots; and Choto, the para bekar (unemployed) who obviously ends up with the local mastaan Nawabda.

Lyrical in parts, images of Calcutta fleet past as the narrative delves into, well, everything—politics of both the Left and the rising rightwing (the Hindu Sangh),...



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