Book Title: The Drift Wood
Author: Pratima Srivastava
Total Number of Pages: 300
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Publication Date: 30 May 2017
Genre: Fiction / Family Fiction / Drama
Udit never counted his blessings. And he loved being a rebel. But little did he know that his rebellion would one day uproot him and toss him into an ocean of uncertainty. A moment of rage followed by remorse and then shame all contrive to force Udit the young protagonist to plot a great escape! Soon he discovers that his ship had neither sail nor anchor. And when he is convinced that he would remain the eternal driftwood coasting along the waves, surfacing and drowning at the will of the current, someone walks into his life. What happens then? Does his life change course? The Driftwood is a sensitive portrayal of the trauma the Joshi family undergoes while carrying on with the mundane task of day-to-day living burying deep the memories of an irreplaceable loss. Running alongside is the life of their neighbours and good friends Dr Arvind and his wife Yashoda who battle the empty nest syndrome only to discover greater heights of callousness and selfishness of their son and the unexpected graciousness of a total stranger.
The Drift Wood is a family drama focused on showcasing the day-to-day lives of a family and their neighbours, their simple lives are often encountered with pain over a loss which can never be replaced and with that comes the sufferings brought about by the memories. While The Joshi’s are the central family, their neighbours and good friends also shares screen space with them. The third person narrative of the book allows us to see what goes on in the lives of Joshi’s, a family consisting of 6 members— Udit (the central character), his father Shashank Joshi, his mother Bina, Grandmother and his sisters Shweta and Sonam. Their neighbours, Dr. Arvind and his wife Yashoda has been suffering from empty nest syndrome from the time their son has set his foot outside of their home to live on his own.
Udit, the main protagonist of the book, is a rebel. He loves defying his parent’s words and does what he sees fit. He is constantly at odds with his father and during one such occasion, on a sudden impulse, he decides to leave home and never come back. The rifts between the young Udit and his father Shashank were never ending, but this time it went out of hands. His rage, remorse mixed with his pride which he had clung on to makes him take this extreme step. He considers his situation to be that of a driftwood, drifting and surfacing at the will of the water currents.
In the years outside his home, he manages to find a job as a chef at a hotel in Mussoorie. Later on he finds himself managing the post of Assistant Manager at the same hotel. He has a good earning and is good at what he does, a loner though. He doesn’t get in touch with his family members and has chosen to live an isolated life. In the silence, he often finds himself living those memories when he used to stay with his parents. He remembers his sister Shweta who used to be his best friend, his grandmother who used to bathe him and his mother who used to make round chappatis, his favourite. He regrets his decision of leaving home from time to time and often his thoughts wander off to his childhood days. All it took was a moment to disrupt everything he held close to himself. The sufferings of Udit doesn’t lessen a bit. For what he thought to be a good move back then leaves a sour taste when he suffers from Typhoid. All alone, he has to look out for himself and in those days he wishes that he was close to his parents. One adversity after another follows Udit. First Typhoid and then a car accident.
In the days of Udit’s absence, the Joshi family’s house is graced with numerous misfortunes. Udit’s grandmother passed away, Udit’s sister Shweta gets involved in a accident which leaves her with an inability to walk anymore. Bina, Udit’s mother on the other hand is the sole spectator of the misfortunes which leaves a depressing effect on her.
Udit, in his lonely life decides to adopt a boy named Chottu because somewhere he had been drowning in his own guilt and wanted to take care of him as a compensation for missing out on taking care of his parents. He also notices a sudden change in his diary entries which takes a turn towards positivity.
The Drift Wood, while pivoting on family life gives an insight into the lives of these characters and how the ordinary lives are not so ordinary once you get to see them from the inside. It gives a detailed vision on pain and loss of these families and how people lives off on such meagreness with so many unfulfilled hopes and desires.
The narration is vivid. The striking description of every scene; from the rain pelting on the ground to the creaked walls leaking water to the tree growing inside the house of Dr. Arvind and Yashoda, transported me to the scenes and it felt as if I was actually there, witnessing and living in those scenes. The writing style is descriptive and lucid, describing everything in detail. The language is really good and the author has used a good amount of vocabulary in her writing. The dialogues felt natural and the overall timeline of the plot and it’s setting was managed well.
The narration though descriptive might not string the right chords with some of the readers. Due to the descriptive writing style, the plot seems to be stuck at one place and progress very slowly. So, it might get a bit boring for some readers. As for the characters, compared to the vivid description of the scenes, to me the characters weren’t as expressive as I would have liked them to be. There were a few grammatical mistakes here and there: some sentences missed out on the desirable prepositions. I felt that the author focused more on describing the scenes and the backgrounds than focusing on the portrayal of the characters and expressing their emotions.
MY FINAL VERDICT
Even though there were certain shortcomings which I found, I did like reading this book because I love a vivid narrative that has the power to bring out the scenes in front of the eyes and visualise them for yourself. Definitely lively.
If you’re looking for a book with a vivid narrative supported with good language then you can definitely give this book a read. I would suggest that you take breaks while reading this book because after a while it might seem a bit monotonous as the pace of the book is slow.
Book Cover: ⭐⭐⭐.5
Book Title: ⭐⭐⭐.5
Writing Style: ⭐⭐⭐.8
Language and Vocabulary: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Grammar and Punctuation: ⭐⭐⭐.5
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING: ⭐⭐⭐.5 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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