Refreshingly original

Dr Prem Gupta
Title: Kashmir Konnectivity:
A BiosketchAuthor: Rachna Vinod
Pages: 112 (Kindle version) 140 (eBook)
Publisher: Inkalab Publication, Mumbai
Price: Available free on Google Play Store and Kindle version of Amazon
Kashmir Konnectivity: A Biosketch, a novel written by Rachna Vinod about a group of friends in Kashmir valley is a wonderful reading experience.
The hallmark of a great book often lies in its ability to bring something new to the table, and “KASHMIR KONNECTIVITY:A BIOSKETCH” certainly achieves this feat. The narrative is refreshingly original, avoiding clichés and worn-out tropes that can plague many books in the same genre. Its simple language, vivid description of valley’s beautiful landmarks and the true human relations among the group right from childhood to later life have indeed been portrayed immensely well by the author. Rachna Vinod demonstrates a remarkable capacity to breathe new life into familiar themes, making the reader feel like they are exploring uncharted territory. The impeccable flow of the book takes the reader on a journey that feels natural and engaging. Readers will find themselves eagerly turning pages, driven by the desire to uncover what comes next.
Delving deep into excitement of childhood while travelling by road on national highway 44 in chapter by the same name, ‘NATIONAL HIGHWAY-44’, “Years later in addition to what the character Sikhya had read in the books about the origin of the river, she actually saw the two rivers Chandra and Bhaga merging with each other to become single entity Chenab in Lahul -Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh where again she had taken a road trip:. The book doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult questions or presenting challenging ideas. Instead, it invites readers to engage with these themes, e.g. in ‘A DREAMER’S NOSTALGIA’, ‘A new class of opinion-makers had emerged, driven by a firm belief in the significance of their Indian identity… This class of opinion-makers struggled to exert their influence over a large section of people who, with equal conviction, believed that utilizing their Indian identity was the sole means to gain global attention for their cause. The nature of their cause itself seemed illogical, much like the individuals advocating for it.’ The author skilfully explores the intricacies of relationships in ‘UNSPOKEN PROMISE’, “What does it truly mean to be considered ‘local’?” Harry responded with surprise, “It’s quite astonishing to hear such a question from a local like you!” Sofi chimed in jokingly, “I’m certain that studying in the UK hasn’t made you forget your roots.” … Walker remained mute spectator and kept listening silently this childhood group talking openly about prevalent scenario in Kashmir. There was definitely an air of unspoken promise of carrying on with their closeness whatever be the circumstances.’
The book never shies away from intellectual challenges. It encourages readers to reflect on their own beliefs and values, making it not just an entertaining read but also a thought-provoking one e.g. in ‘FEAR PSYCHOSIS”, ‘Where was fear psychosis? Life seemed so normal. ‘But Sikhya got first jolt when she headed for her home, the rented house which was her home throughout her growing years, when she found the area heavily barricaded…She tried to call on Amin Chacha but again, she saw the whole area including his house, barricaded in the name of security threats to Amin Chacha, a spiritual head.’ Challenging readers intellectually, emotionally, and morally, inviting them to explore the depths of human experience and thought with moral dilemmas, ethical choices, and the consequences of one’s actions, you are drawn to its thematic complexity, its exploration of dislocation, e.g. again in ‘BATTLE WITH SELF’, ‘Paras and Rama left the valley temporarily with the hope of returning back when this initial hysterical frenzy was over. Returning back to ancestral home situated on the banks of mighty and roaring Chenab river, was always a pleasure but they always looked forward to going back to the place where they had set up a home of their choice and which had been their working place for years together’.
The content of “KASHMIR KONNECTIVITY:A BIOSKETCH” is undeniably rich and thought-provoking. Additionally, the research and attention to detail evident in life in real places, enhance the book’s authenticity, making the world within its pages feel vivid and immersive. This book is a captivating journey into a world where content reigns supreme. “KASHMIR KONNECTIVITY:A BIOSKETCH” is a literary gem that excels in originality, flow, and content. Whether you’re a fan of literature or simply looking for a book that will leave a lasting impact, it a must-read for those who seek not only entertainment but also enlightenment through literature. The life and character of Sikhya, her parents and her group of friends has been described extremely well. The harmony and togetherness among these youngsters have been shown very skilfully despite the politically disturbed atmosphere in the valley. Congratulations to the author for a commendable effort. Wishing her all the best in her future endeavours.
(The author is former Drug Controller of India)