Monday, January 19, 2015

Ri- Homeland Of Uncertainity by Paulami Duttagupta

My Views on Ri- Homeland Of Uncertainity by Paulami Duttagupta

Idealism at its peak. That is what my first reaction was when I first read Ri. First of all what does Ri mean. Google Uncle told me it means Homeland. Ri- a homeland. The word rings very pure when you say it aloud. One of those small words whose vibrations outweighs its meaning. 

But the Homeland it is referring to, is not resonating with any peace or love. There is a tug of war for power between the rebels and the authority. Now this is not something anymore 'uncommon' in India - or for the fact in any part of the world. Why and the morality of this is debatable. 

The author Paulami Duttagupta, brings out a complete society by etching four characters

Kyndiah: representing the law 
Janet - representing the press
Manbha- representing the outlaw 
Emika- the society

It is Emika's character that makes me think that this story is too idealistic. The cynic in me will not be able to forgive Manbha. Whatever his reasons might be, to become a killer has no justification. There should not be any excuse to terrorism.  But again that is my personal opinion and bears no consequence to the writer or her story. 

Coming to the story, my favourite character is Kyndiah. His has all the shades of life. Bitter yet positive about the changes coming his way. Open to all changes, even if he has the authority in his hand. Fighting for a cause because he believes in it. Just the kind of a hero our society needs. 

What the society doesn't need is Manbha. To fall in love with Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak or Sharukh in Don/ Don2 is really ironic. Of course these things happen but as I said I don't think I can sympathize with a man who resorts to terrorism. Manbha is shown as a man who has lost his way and he can be brought back. Brought back ? After taking up arms, mass killing, arms smuggling... brought back? Can anyone ever return from the point of no return? Here is my one request to the author... Ri Part 2 if she ever plans to write- can she deal with this character and the aftermath? It would make a damn interesting subject!

To complete Manbha's character, one needs Emika. Somehow I felt she represented India. Too forgiving. Too ready to move on after a disaster occured. Too blase. Somehow the post effect of Mumbai attack became fresh in my mind. Yes life has to go on and life is for the living ... but as Emika accepted Manbha and forgave him - well, it takes a large heart - A very large one. 

Of all the characters, Emika's character didn't gel with me so well. Somehow I felt there was a co-relation between Emika and Manbha's character. Emika had to do this for Manbha to do that. This really froze up her character. She had to ignore the gun when her son walks in. Smile when she was threatened. And forgive Manbha for the role he played in her ruining her life. It was too easy for Manbha. To forgive a crime of this magnitude is not possible - at least for a mere mortal soul like me :)

Janet represented the Hounds of Journalism. How and why.. read the book :)

The Language - is clear and precise. A fairly easy read. The voice of the author is quite distinct and its very clear the love she has for Meghalaya. You can feel the reverance in her tone. 

Characterization - too many in too few a pages. This stunted the growth of the characters. Why was Janet rubbing Kyndiah the wrong way? Why was Emika not afraid when the nozzle of the gun pointed towards her? A terrorist group forgetting about Manbha after he .... (sorry cannot tell ) is hard to believe for they do have a code of (mis) conduct too. Don't they?


Reasoning ..

1. When the terrorist group is introduced- too many characters and too much actions. 
2. I found Emika too tolerant.  --- I suppose I am the harsh one :(
3. Too many questions were left unanswered - specially regarding Manbha.... ( Do I see Ri part 2 coming out soon?) 

Would I recommend this book ? Yes, I would. But this is not a light read. I read it 3 times before writing this review. I needed to see the justification in many places on the actions of Emika. I don't know why I am bitching about Emika but I really feel that you forgive such an act - you have to be a saint. And I am no saint :)

Ri - Homeland of Uncertainity
Paulami Duttagupta 

The Blurb
Ri- Homeland of Uncertainty is adapted from the National Award Winning Khasi film by the same name.

Trapped in the limbo between ideology and conscience, Manbha finds him himself part of a terror outfit. An unexpected opportunity, anger, squalor and disillusionment - followed by and armed combat and injury lead to the soul- searching that form the substance of this moving tale.
Buy @

Watch It 

Meet the Author

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.

She has written for ‘The Times of India’ in the ‘Guwahati-Shillong plus Edition’ and also ‘The Shillong Times’. Television had always attracted her and was connected to the Bangla TV industry for about 6 years. She was associated with ETV- Bangla, Akash Bangla and Sony Aath in this period.

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 14,2014

She 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. 

You can stalk Paulami Duttagupta  @



Check out The Book Club Tour Schedule 

A Giveaway 

The Prize 

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Some extra Info on the book 

This book is an adaptation from a movie. Why? The author will answer that in one of our blogs which we will post soon. Stay tuned !!!

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