The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta


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A memoir full of nostalgia that immediately transported me the idyllic, carefree yet busy days of our summer vacations. Visiting cousins, exploring the neighbourhood, hours spent relaxing under shady trees, playing in the parks and just being kids. In the words of the author, we see what the book really wishes to convey. How in one summer boys grow up, learning the ways of the world.


This novel is an attempt to capture that innate, unfettered sense of adventure of the young in general; that spirit which sets us forth to know and realize and come-to-terms with the immediate world around us (and what lies beyond). Who can really deny that that same indomitable spirit of adventure is in fact the quintessence of all true human endeavors?


As Shoumu shares his story in The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur of that one memorable summer when new avenues, new experiences and new insights make for a delightful but scary summer –  I read and joined him. A fantastic feeling of being a kid again, seeing the world fresh and new, I enjoyed the book with the five boys –  Joy, Shomik, Tonu , Pinku & Shoumu on their summer full of adventure, carefree, endless days of the summer break. The days before 24 hours TV and nonstop gaming, where we find it difficult to find any activity that does not involve the screen. The ‘ghost’ is there, in the different episodes and incidents. The stories add to the aura of “The Ghost Of Rajpur” throughout the novel and I knew before the final page the mystery and ghost would be found. I found this book a perfect reminder of the ‘right way’ of spending our vacations – how wonderful it is to be a child and while away the days with relaxed abandon!


Tiny, bright yellow butterflies hovered in pairs over the unruly bushes, playfully frisking through the maze of darkness and sun-spots.


The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur is has a lyrical note to it when the author is describing nature and the imagery transported me to the languid lazy summer days. The days and nights described with such perfection. The boys with their love interests had to be shared and it was such a subtle addition that it blended beautifully with the story. The days of reading comics, mysteries and adventure stories, revisiting the old favourites like Enid Blyton, Tintin & Batman when sharing and exchanging comic books was all the rage. I actually took a look at my own dog-eared collection of Tintin, Target and Phantoms!

No childhood can be complete without the ‘ghost stories’ and this is no exception. Haven’t we all sat together, close but not close enough and traded stories? This book takes the stories to a new level, adding a reality to them. The ghosts we find are not always the spirit kind but those that are far evil hiding behind the veil of a phantom and tearing at the lives of innocents. Priyonkar manages to find the ghost and the reality as they merge and meld often blinding us to the facts. I found the climax quite interesting even though the moment Shoumu accepted the challenge I knew there would be trouble. The pace was fast but still that of a small town – a whole new lesson in ‘taking it easy in life’. The part where Shoumu is lying on the floor and he is not seen by the evil had me on the edge but what I liked was the ending. The various threads spread throughout the book all come together and form the cloth that wipes clean all the doubts, suspicion and follies. Even why Shoumu is not seen.

The book is well written, the story interesting and the narration smooth yet the main issue I faced with the book was the use of words like ‘stuffs’, ‘The smell of all that cooking only watered our mouths even more’, ‘our shirts slowly wetting in the rain’, – these are a bit awkward in reading and spoil the flow of the book. Tighter editing would do wonders to this book adding to the reading experience.

If you find yourself thinking of the good old days – not so old, just the nineties then this is a must pick. The dusky damsel who was Miss Universe era, the days of cycling, gorging on homemade snacks and going to the shop for your gaming fix kind of days. Priyonkar had me revisiting that time of my life when life was so sorted.

Do take a trip with The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur will you?


{Review was commissioned by the author. Opinions are my own.}


The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur



It is the early 1990s – the ‘picturesque’ small-town of Rajpur is in ‘full summer bloom’ and there is a definite sense of mystery in the air. Amidst its scenic setting each year a group of boys band together to spend their summer vacations – going cycling to far-off forests, sharing books, discussing everything under the sky and ogling at girls…


But as youth would have it, their curious minds are more inclined to seek adventure and (hopefully!) uncover some mysterious affair. However, unlike their previous vain attempts, this time certain unusual events and the sudden appearance of a curious case of a ghost in their midst seem to hold the promise of some real adventure.

In the pages of The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur rest assured you will soon be whisked off and plunged into a headlong journey of adventure and romance of your own – on a path of discovery of friendship and brotherhood, of life and love – and, who knows, you might even get to encounter the Speaking Ghost itself!






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