I would beg to differ but i did not like KOSALA at all…! I just could not digest the fact that this novel is so popular. I cannot stop myself from saying that this is truly a mind-f*****g sort of a book, where you will unnecessarily get the feeling…”why the heck am i reading this book…”I knew that this book is supposedly of a person who has described his hostel years in a non-glamorous and pathetic manner. I was completely aware that i would not get a nice feeling after reading this. I was completely prepared for the same even. With all this when i started reading this book; i found it to be an utterly hopeless book with no logical representation. I mean i have read many disgusting, un-glamorous, straight to the point novels/books but all that i read had some logic, some flow so that i could connect/bind everything very well. The most disgusting part of this book is the manner in which it is written and irony of the fact is that for the same type/manner, this novel is praised in many other blogs and articles. I found it completely unreal. I mean what’s the point in writing a page, which a reader will not understand. There are many paragraphs in this book which after you read will make absolutely no sense at all. I mean many a times i would seriously get furious about the content that i was reading. It was actually testing my patience and i would feel like leaving the book and not read it further. But later on i too decided that, by hook or crook i will complete this book, as i do not like leaving the book in the middle, hoping that this novel would make sense at the end atleast. Neither was i expecting a logical end nor an explanation of all the events, but atleast i was expecting some connect between the two lines, so that i could then read between the lines. But there also this book failed miserably.
However there are certain events which i liked and one of them was the description of his small sister Manu’s death. That part is described with much intensity and author has tried to make it as dark as possible. And the other thing which was good was the part where Suresh (Sanghvikar’s friend) and protagonist would describe the contemporary world (20th century world) in the language spoken by people of pre-historic ages. Also one small incident which was aptly described was the flow of thoughts when protagonist couldnt sleep. But out of 265 pages these incidents are very few. Rest of the book is highly disgusting.
The most disgusting part of this book is the diary which Pandurang Sanghavikar tries to write. I can completely identify with the person who is out of his mind or who is euphoric or is under depression. Still if you read that diary, you will not be able to make sense of many entries in his diary, barring a few. I mean why to write such things which the reader will not be able to digest and eventually will start hating the novel. I read few lines of the diary to one of my friend who also reads a lot and asked him if that made ANY sense to him. He also said that its ridiculous and any person under the sun cannot derive any meaning out of the same. I am not that kind of a hypocrite who will just praise something because that has been praised by many others. This diary event is just one example. There are many such mind-f*****g incidents which will literally get way above your head and you will then wonder why author has mentioned that and what’s the significance of the same in this context. If you ask many others who have read this novel i challenge if they too have understood the same. And i feel they haven’t too.
I know in literature and poetry, not everything can be explained, some has to be left on the person’s intelligence/ability. And for some other abstract lietrature/poetry, even if we understand little, it still feels reasonable and gives us a good feeling. Having said this, i can quote many such poems by poet Grace (Manik Godghate), Sandeep Khare, Na Dho Mahanor, Borkar etc where many of there work couldnt be explained in words but could be understood and many meanings can be derived from it, if given a try. But this is possible when you have a “dil-logical” (remember LAYS:-)) connect with the piece of work that your are reading, even if you dont completely understand it. In case of Kosala exactly that was missing. I mean i can very well connect with the hostle life, having lived the same. But the manner in which it is presented, it just drags you away from the logical connect and overall peace of mind as you do not find anything in Kosala binding with each other. I still feel if someone would explain me many of those unrelated lines/paragraphs in this novel, i would be highly grateful to him/her.
This is just the critic in me that is saying all this. I have nothing personal about the author. Nor do i want to pass any judgement on the abilities of the author. I know, i am not at all of that calibre to do so and i will not, as i am not authorized at the same time. This was just my honest opinion on Kosala, after i completed it today.
I have completed this novel today, but if i try to recall anything or any meaning of any incidents of it, i barely can. I will not be able to narrate this story to someone, if someone asks me what was the plot, how was it and how the story flows. This was not the case with any other novels that i have read so far. I strongly feel that the writer’s success is in the fact that the reader should not feel like leaving the novel aside. It should generate such an interest in the reader’s mind about, “What next now…!” While i was reading Kosala, exactly the reverse happened. The plot just moved helter-skelter without the proper connect. I have read many such novels of NOIR genre, but even after being disgusting, they still had some connect, which would drive me to the book the next time. This was what was lacking while i was reading Kosala.
All said and done, i would still recommend this book to all the so called voracious readers, just to get some other (unique) flavour of novel writing. But my only advice is to be patient and just go on till the end (if you could) without any irritation…!