A Thousand Unspoken Words is Paulami Dutta Gupta’s 4th novel. Published by Readomania, this 2015 novel, though essentially a love story, is also a poignant tale of courage, idealism, failure and redemption. Though I read the book a couple of months back this year, this is one review which I kept pushing, afraid that I might not be able to do full justice to its brilliance
The book cover is a beautiful mustard with the half hidden face of the hero and the Hoogly Bridge in the background. I have a thing for beautiful covers, on many occasions I have picked up a book only because of the cover. The title is almost poetic but what drew me to the book was the blurb ‘journey of a hero who falls’. The story begins with a miserable Tilotamma wondering where Musafir was. Musafir, a writer, a hero, her hero, who dared to write against the establishment. Nobody knows who Musafir is, nor does Tilotamma, but that does not stop her for being in love with him.
A chance encounter brings her face to face with her Musafir, but she fails to recognise him. Their paths cross again after a couple of years but as Ridhhimaan, the one who despises Musafir as much as she still loves him.
The writer pens a soulful love story taking us deep into the minds of Tilotamma and Ridhhimaan. Just as the idealist Tilotamma is not able to let go of Musafir, Riddhimaan struggles to come to terms with the new he. It becomes not just a story of finding love but also about discovering oneself. Though both Tilotamma and Ridhimaan are flawed and relatable, they are also larger than life. The writer succeeds in creating characters that will stay with you long after the book is over. But do not mistake it to be simply a love story, it is also a scathing take on the convenient communism we see in on display today.
As the story progressed I found myself completely engaged, I felt rage and despair as I saw Ridhimaan moving away from Musafir, I, like Tilotamma hoped that he would sooner or later make his peace with Musafir. As Tilotamma pined away for Musafir, not realising how much she was distancing herself from Ridhimaan, I like Ridhimaan, wondered if she was ever in love with him. So much so that when the story ends I cannot decide whose side I am on, Ridhimaan or Tilotamma.
Not only is it a great story, it is a great read as well. The writing is evocative and engaging, the scenes pan out in front of you as if you are watching a film. The language is lucid and beautiful, the pace just perfect.
This definitely is one of the best books I have read this year and as a little birdie tells me that a sequel is in the making I cannot but wonder if Tilotamma will ever go ‘knocking at Ridhhimaan’s door’