Title: The Garden of Solitude
Author: Siddhartha Gigoo
Publisher: Rupa and Co.
PP: 260 pages
Price: Rs. 195
When I received The Garden of Solitude from the publishers, for a long time it sat on my book shelf without being read. I was too engrossed in other books that demanded my attention and would not let me be. That’s what reading and reviewing does to you after a point of time. You just do not know what to read next and what to keep for later. Well that’s the story of my life most of the time when it comes to reading and now to the review of “The Garden of Solitude”.
I was taken in by the book’s title – it is carefully chosen and for sure describes the mood of the book. A lot of books have been written about the Kashmir Situation, so much so that I have almost stopped reading them, till I read this one. The Garden of Solitude is about a Kashmiri Pandit Family driven away from the Valley in the wake of armed insurgency and political turmoil. The family is uprooted and forced to live in Jammu, in the wake of loneliness, suffering alienation and no place to call home. Sridar – the son of the family is the protagonist and the story is seen through his point of view.
What does it take to survive in an unknown territory, when all you have are memories of home? How does it feel to lose someone dear to a situation that you never wanted to be a part of? The entire book is about Sridar wanting the solitude back – the longing for peace and quiet moments that he and his friends have lost along the way.
The topic is touchy and the premise is dangerous, in the sense that it takes a lot to write on a subject like this one. All in all what I can say about the book is that it should be read. The writing is beautiful and the emotions are raw and lucid, to touch every reader who picks it up.