The Saratchandra Omnibus

Some twelve years ago, I had picked up a short story collection by Saratchandra, begun it with great expectations, however, was disappointed with the continuous tragic experience, and abandoned the collection.

Much later, I watched the movies Parineeta and Devdas, and came to know that the tragedy, though a continuous feature in Sharat’s novels, can be quite entertaining and involving. Ever since, I had been thinking about reading Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novels, but as destiny would have it, never laid hands on one.

However, last week, I noticed a fat book lying on the shelves of my local library, with a single line written across the front page ‘The Saratchandra Omnibus’. In a jiffy, I picked up the book and sat down to rummage through its contents. As I flipped through the pages, I realized that I have hit upon the first volume of a collector’s edition, which boasts of not one, two or three, but five novels in just one book!

The Omnibus in its first volume comprises of Srikanta, Devdas, Parineeta(Espoused) , Palli Samaj(Village Life) and Nishkriti(Deliverance), five novels translated by Aruna Chakravarti, Sreejata Guha and Malobika Chaudhuri respectively.

Though, I was kinda familiar with two novels, courtesy Bollywood’s craze for love lore, the rest of the three were totally unknown to me. My first impulse was to read Devdas and find out whether all the hoopla about Sharat’s ability to sketch painful, love pangs, were true or not. However, then I decided to surrender to the wills of Penguin Classics, and began with the very first and the longest novel, Srikanta.

And, I must say that I was so enamoured by Sharat’s writing prowess, that I finished Srikanta and Devdas at jet speed and only as I began reading Parineeta, I realized that in my over zeal to comprehend Sarat’s world, I simply forgot to write reviews and lavish all the praise upon the worthy writer.

So, in an effort to mend my mistake, I am taking a breather and presenting a few of my humble views about Srikanta, in my next post.

Title : The Saratchandra Omnibus
Published by : Penguin India
Edition : 2005
Cost : Rs. 650/-
No. of Pages : 738


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