There are books that sucker-punch you with a tragic plot twist. Some books will be tear-jerkers that leave you dribbling snot on the pages. Then there are others that portray the life of a normal person where nothing extra-ordinary happens yet you are left with real immersive experience. Dopehri by Pankaj Kapur happens to be one of those books.
I found this gorgeous cover when I was browsing through a bookrack on a book fair that I recently attended. Yes, it was the cover that instantly attracted me to the book followed by the blurb. It was only then that I found out that Dopehri is written by Pankaj Kapur, the acclaimed Indian theatre and Hindi movie actor.
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Amma Bi is an elderly widow who lives a solitary life at her Haveli in Lucknow. She is deserted by her son and family, a typical ‘children-leave-parents-at-old-age.’ The sixty-five-year-old woman finds loneliness terrifying and looks forward to those hours in the evening when her household help Jumman comes to the mansion. However, every afternoon at three she hears sounds of footsteps in the courtyard but cannot find anyone. She is so petrified that she even thinks about living in an old age home. Dr. Saxena, her dead husband’s friend, her only solace till then, advises against it. Thus she decides to lodge her haveli to a young woman named Sahiba. Amma Bi adores Sahiba and she brings love and laughter back to Amma Bi’s life. When Sahiba finds herself in trouble, Amma Bi must bring out her hidden talent and help end the difficulty.
Book Review of Dopehri by Pankaj Kapur
This book oozes out certain warmth and you may be reminded of many old women in the different parts of the country who lives a solitary life. At one glance, there isn’t anything impactful with respect to the story/plot but then as the story progresses, the many layers peel away and you get to feel the soul of the book.
Dopehri teaches us that it is never too late to believe in oneself and carve an identity for oneself. It subtly refers to the prejudice of the society which says a woman needs a man in her life to provide and depend on. I believe that’s the crux of the book.
The narrative beautifully captures the nuances of life in Lucknow. I also loved the descriptions of the Haveli and the everyday life of Jumman. I’d, however, ask you to read the original book written in Hindi because somewhere down the lane, the translated English version lost its charm and wasn’t impressive.
Do I Recommend?
With all my heart!
4.25 Paws on 5!
Get this book on Amazon.
That’s all for now, folks! I’d love to hear from you. Have you read any translated books? Recommend some?