Name of the book: Anya's Lyrics
Author: Nikhil Kumar
Rating: 5 Stars
SOME SOUL-SEARCHING LYRIC
Have you thought how life comes to a full circle? Most of us are unaware of it – unless, we are witnesses to somebody else's. Mr. Kumar has given us, the readers, this privilege of being that witness. Anya, one of God's special children, experiences many situations which a girl of her age should never face.
All the short stories are related to Anya and all start with a character from one of the previous stories. Might look random at first but as you go on you can but not admire the author’s mind in weaving such a labyrinth. The characters of the stories, some related to Anya and others leaving their mark on her, are the ones who act as mirrors to our society and make us feel humble as we reflect upon our blessed life.
The story of Anya
The story of Anya does not start with her birth. But it starts when a woman, not at all related to her, is left by her lover. That triggers a chain of reaction which leads to the birth of Anya.
Without a backward glance, she walked away in the darkness to a destination only she knew, unsure of what the next day would bring. At the stroke of midnight, she turned sixteen.
And as she turned sixteen, Anya is born somewhere else.
While reading the story, many things came to my mind. Is Anya just a simple girl or is she the broken representation of our society? Does her experience not relate to our morally dying society which is every day murdered, raped and plundered by many selfish people? Is Anya not in each one of us as we lay whimpering in pain when we are attacked, unable to retaliate or we consider ourselves weak? For me, Anya became our society and each character was someone I knew or may be, to some extent, a part of me.
Anya must have grown up a bit when she saw her dog lying dead on the driveway, whose life she had chocked out. But her half brain never questions why she and the father both had bloodstains on their hands. She grew up a bit more when her young heart fell in love with the boy with twisted legs. She again grew up when her father died. And again, when she had her first orgasm. She grew up a bit more when she was raped and she reached to her full potential when the responsibility of another life was thrust upon her. A responsibility which she took up willingly. This is the story of Anya for you.
Intrinsically woven characters
Have we not met many strangers in your journeys? All of us, at the same spot, at the same time; and then branching out to different areas of our lives? Do we think of those strangers again? Do they leave an impact in our lives – sometimes knowingly and sometimes fate intervened? Mr.Kumar is a weaver of such strangers who don't know each other yet leave an impact in each of the life. A small pink envelope that started its journey in a small town travels to its destination, without the knowledge of the travelers. That was the best thing I loved about the story. When the pink envelope finally reaches its rightful owner, its empty yet it's so symbolic, like a mockery that life does to people when in pain.
The author is very adept at using words to bring out some hard-hitting truth. Not a man to mince words definitely. He wants to paint the darker side of life and he has done a wonderful job with this. From shady places to shady characters – he has shown us the true image of humans without even lifting an accusing finger. A man, a loving father of a teenager who goes to the seedy accomplishments to rape a young girl. A man who loves his own child yet has a heart of a demon when he crawls the side lanes of the seedy part of the town. And he is just one man. God knows how many such men exist in our society.
The Growing of Anya
Not in one place will you find Anya weak. She calls herself half brain and is often shown as a girl in rags. But her spirit is strong and that of a fighter. She won’t let you feel sorry for her yet make you cry at her pain. And laugh at her antics. Every time an irony of life passes her, you want to give her a nudge to go after it and at the same time protect her when she is faced with the masked duplicity.
It was almost evening when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a warm voice talk to me. “Sister,” said the voice. “Are you all right?”
This is what a woman can do to a woman.
The Language and writing of the Author
Is what turns this novel into a page-turner. You can rest assured that this novel will leave an impact on you. One of those novels which deserves a shelf space in your home. The writing is crisp and even while dealing with a very painful subject, the author has not let go of the humor. No characters have been named, (I wonder why) yet you will not confuse the characters. Their traits are their names. A man with a tattoo, the boy with a twisted leg and a woman with a mole. Without even naming them, he has drawn each character, with his words. Only Anya is a name we follow. Like those pictures where everything is black and white and only the main subject is colored. Beautiful.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?
To anyone who loves a bold subject, this book is for you. As I have mentioned before, it truly deserves a shelf place at your house.
THE LINE THAT STAYED WITH ME
She walked with her hand in mine at all times. She rarely spoke, but when she did, I would always be amazed at how sweet her voice was. We would sit on the beach on some days before the sun would rise, and I’d teach her to hum the tune of a song that I’d almost forgotten. I could feel her peace at those times.
A new beginning always touches one's heart.
About the Interviewer: Rubina Ramesh is an erratic writer and a passionate reviewer. Her reviews have found space in international magazines like Global Asia. She has authored two Book- Knitted Tales and Finding The Angel and co-authored three anthologies, Writing from the Heart, Long and Short of It and Marijuana Diaries. Founder of The Book Club, an online publicity group she finds her passion in promotion of books and authors.