Sharanya Misra

Yuvrani Rathore. Bold, beautiful, regal, confident and the youngest ever President of NDP, the ruling party of India. Comfortable in her skin and her status, almost as if she were preparing for this her whole life. Toya Mahapatra or ‘Dinkey with an O’ as she is fondly called. Young, quirky, sensitive, caring and intelligent with a great sense of humour. A student in Kolkata who lives to die for her best buddies Ollie, AJ and Goenka. Two very different worlds, one rooted in Indian politics, another simply trying to get through the hiccups of college life. What could possibly make these two worlds collide? A mere coincidence? A simple act of providence? Or are they pawns in a much larger game that threatens to wreak havoc on all their lives?

Aqson (Leve I) is a book that impresses on several fronts. Seemingly categorised as fantasy at the outset, this book gradually evolves into a story with many faces. Swaying between the sobriety of political drama and the wonderfully fun and complicated lives of teenage college goers, Aqson has a little something to please readers of all ages and interests. Author Koel Ganguly, who goes by the pseudonym Sreejib in memory of her late husband, is a superb writer, adept at keeping her reader hooked and intrigued! Her style is impeccable, blending in all the genres almost effortlessly in a story that has subtle hints oozing all over, yet cleverly keeps the bigger surprises just out of reach till the very end!

Toya Mahapatra’s narration is delightfully full of wit and a refreshing, sarcastic sense of humour. The relationships the story harbours – the love these kids have for their parents, their protective instincts as they look out for each other, the night time discussions on the rooftop and the mealtimes at a grandparent’s place – are so lucid that they evoke reminiscence of the days and friends that were, a breeze of wistfulness as it were. Yuvrani on the other hand, is an epitome of grace and power, her words and actions while apparently straightforward on the outside, always leave you with the feeling of something deeper and mystic lurking underneath. The contrast in the characters and their thoughts makes one realise how superbly well-developed the protagonists are.

My personal favourites are what I perceive to be glimpses of the author’s own traits in her story. For example, her love for Bengali food evident in “we were busy gobbling this yummy meal of rice, dal, aloo-posto and pomfret curry”. Or, her (and my) palpable love for books in “Antique carved wooden bookshelves ran along the walls of this very large room. Pristine, leather-bound books stood neatly lined…in their identical leather covers…Royal blur carpet covered the floor”. Her own words of wisdom such as “I advocate financial independence of every human being, irrespective of their sec, but it cannot be a medium to earn respect. What if a person fails to make money for some unavoidable circumstances? That person doesn’t deserve respect?”. And finally, her stomach clutching floor rolling inducing sense of humour – “The way Appy was stuck on that egg. I doubt any of us would ever be able to have one ourselves. I saw this as our official goodbye to egg” or “Oh Jesus! What is this stupid fellow trying to do, Mrs. Demello screeched…Ramnarayan hurriedly scrambled to her feet and grabbd them..Blessh me Ma, Ma-go”!!

Aqson (Level I) is a brilliant book and a great read! Do grab yourself a copy. I can’t wait for Level II already!! 😊

 This book review is a part of “The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours, for details log on to“.




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