It’s the story of the next door boy getting grown up. So common, yet so uncommon, that we all can easily match our story with the story of Tublu- at some point of time of our life’s journey.
The childhood, the adolescence, the infatuation, the youth all have been described with artistic precision by the writer.
Life is a wonderful voyage. It presents with unexpected encounters at every corner. There are surprises- that sometimes make our life joyful, sometimes make our life painful! But life is the sum total of all these moments-all these surprises-that makes our life so colourful- like a rainbow after a splash of rain. All shades of colours are present there- that all plays in a perfect symphony to make this wondrous journey called life! Story of Tublu by Jahid Akthar is the orchestra of that life- that indomitable life that has the potential to rise above all obstacles, all grief, all despair!
First of all the story depicts the story of semi urban India of the early nineties. So we have to judge the fiction from that perspective.
The curtain of the story is lifted in a small town at Assam- the rainy season at its peak and torrential rainfall has devastated rural Assam. It was the house of Mr. Sharma- better known as Sharma sir in the locality-famed principal of a prestigious public school! Destiny brought here Vipin and Tublu- father and a son- unfortunate victim of the cruel nature-in a quest of a shelter-like a drowning man catches a straw as his last resort. They have heard about the Sharma sir from a visiting doctor at their camp-no previous acquaintance, nothing!
And they were not disappointed. The father had a job as a driver of the warm hearted man and the son -our protagonist got himself admitted in a Government school. From here our story gets propelled.
“Time passed by, and Bipin became quite professional at his work. He really enjoyed driving on the highway whenever Mr. Sharma asked him to go to the city. even through Bipin prepared their own food, Mrs. Sharma sent them a dish or two, particularly when she prepared something special. Tublu was good at his studies and he topped the exams.”
It is a song of the unbound joy of the boyhood of Tublu. When he dances with joy-seeing his ducklings enjoying water- unconsciously we be a partner of his pleasure. Oh- I forgot to mention two more characters- Maina-the little darling of the Sharmas and Paplu- the brilliant and studious – son of the Sharmas.
It was the time to knock at the door of adolescence and probably the time to eat the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Soon our innocent protagonist knew about the first wonder of his life-
“Dimpy had a wide smile on her face and she said ‘you really don’t know about her? Arre buddhu( fool),she has grown up and she’s mature now!
Tublu and his friends looked even more confused and started starring at each other ‘she has grown up now, what the heck does that mean? Why has she stopped coming to school for that?”
Soon a new mystery was unearthed before him- the mystery of reproduction! And then came the first vice-watching the first blue film on screen.
So lively is the picturaisation in words-that sometimes I am wondering that whether those golden days are back-when my hair threatens to turn silver. As a debut author Jahid has shown maturity enough to make his description turns real!
It was the end of the secondary level exams and Tublu went ahead with his science studies and Maina with his arts studies. It was a fun filled journey all the way at his junior college days. Girls, masturbation, all necessary evils, encounter with teachers, funny happenings- all were making a fair at the crossroad of the life.
And what about the relation between Tublu and Miana? Well –they are friends-from two different etalons! Maina naturally kept a distance with our protagonist. Perhaps the mind frequency of Maina was not in resonance with Tublu. But as time progresses, friendship paved way for admiration and admiration to love. But it is all from Tublu. The writer has not given up any scope to see it from her perspective. It was all from Tublu-all classical signs of falling in love.
“His hearts filled with happiness whenever he spent time with her in his imaginary world. Thinking about Maina would make Tublu feel lighter and confident. With every passing day, his unconfirmed feelings for Maina were getting stronger. Tublu was unaware of what Maina felt about him and he was least bothered.”
His silent worshiping of the lady was naturally unnoticed by her and she was imagining a new haven in the embrace of someone else………
Life continued to flow like a river- Tublu became a technocrat, joined in a job………
And if wishes have wings he would have fly to his goddess, but alas it is real life after all…….
So where will destiny take Tublu? Will Maina be able to find the person who had disturbed her in her dreams?
Another aspect of the story is the deceptions of traditions and customs of North Eastern India- which added a refreshing aroma to the narration.
From the beginning to the end-the reader will not have to stumble only once-it is all very real life incidents, characters are very known to us- all threaded in a wonderfully crafted simple narration.
Narration that is as powerful as life-which has the potential to rise above all odds and triumph!
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.