Similar Difference! A MORSEL OF DIFFERENT SHADES by S K Sanyal @CinnamonTeal


A Morsel of Different Shades is the story of Sumitra, a teacher and her experiences across her career. It reads like a memoir with stories and incidents, characters and their anecdotes making it an interesting read.

The book is a relaxing read but the various stories and characters delight the reader. It’s like a look into the past, the years after independence when India and Indians were still trying to find themselves.

What Worked:

  • It told a story of the simple times, the old India.
  • The life of teachers and the government schools in India are explored in detail
  • The office politics and local gossip find favour with the characters and their impact is well explained.
  • Life of a single woman is never easy more so in the yesteryears.
  • The incidents, stories and lifestyles make a different, peaceful and interesting read.
  • The people Sumitra meets are the ones that made it a fun journey.
  • Good life lessons.

Some Slips:

  • The pace is a bit slow and a few chapters are a bit dull.
  • The book is like a memoir so might not find favour with all readers.
  • Difficult to relate to the era of A Morsel of Different Shades in present times.

A Morsel of Different Shades is a light read and insight in the life and times of teachers and those yearning for government jobs. Many will find that people like those in the book are present even today.

Times may have changed but human nature doesn’t. We all are just ‘A Morsel of Different Shades’.



Sumitra Ghosal came all the way from Bankura in West Bengal to join the education service in the recently formed Bundeli State. During the period from 1956 to 1990, spanning more than three decades, she got shunted around small towns and semi-rural areas. The book is woven around her experiences on women teachers’ lives. She found, for some teachers, cruel circumstances charting out the unknown trajectory, while for the others, the evil streak already present manifested itself rather blatantly during their teaching careers.

Ranging from weird to quirky, scheming to whimsical, there were all kinds of women for Sumitra to experience and continually learn from. Bearing a religious bent of mind, Sumitra, a spinster by choice, didn’t fail to take cognizance of the bizarre instances of marital co-existence in the couples she met throughout the story.


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