A Life Misspent by Suryakant Tripati ‘Nirala’

Pages: 104
Genre: Fiction
Read: April 2018
Rating: 8/10

I did not know what to expect when I started reading this book. What I do know now is that back in the 1930s, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ was WOKE AF.

Okay, sure he might talk a lot of the caste system and mention how he was a ‘brahmin’ at least 40 times, but he still had very forward thoughts for a person from a time back then.

In this little ‘biographical’ novel, Nirala tells us about his life, the times then and in particular his relationship with and the life of a man named ‘Kulli’ – an untouchable from his wife’s village. But as he does so, he comments on sex, sexual orientation, inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, death and dealing with grief, the sheer stupidity of religion and the feudal system, the hypocrisy of people and so much more. All this packed into 104 simple, beautifully articulated pages.

His writing was funny, biting and satirical but also insightful. This book was translated from Hindi to English by Satti Khanna and there were times while reading this book I tried to imagine what the actual words were. Even though this book may feel disjointed, I came out having a lot to think about.

Overall, great short read. And I fully recommend it – specially if you’re trying to read more Indian translated literature which is what my initiative for the month of April is all about. Check it out – #LitWithRegionalLit!


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