Book Name: The Withering Banyan
Author: Hyma Goparaju
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
Price: Rs. 295
A well-to-do bsiness family, whose members are torn apart by a turbulent father-son relationship shrouded in mistrust, suspicion and contempt for one-another- a result of the vagaries of the son’s mind and its malady- suffers silently. Well-wishers fear that Badri is suffering from a mental derangement, and is on the brink of wiping away his father, Siveswara’s hard earned fame and fortune. Unaware of the boundless periphery of its affliction, descendants of the five- generation lineage are confounded with an enigmatic and stigmatizing battle of their lifetime which they have to decode and overcome in order to ensure the well being of the ensuing generations.
The story begins with a frightening incident where Natya’s mother smashes a large mirror and talks about killing a wicked woman. She is suffering from Schizophrenia. Natya is the daughter of Shraddha Devi who comes from the Marri family. The Marri family which is popular by the name Irram Sweet Makers was considered the best in the village. The fame of Irram Sweet House kept diminishing after the death of Natya’s great grandfather, Siveswara. Lack of proper funds and interest in business led to its downfall. Natya is in India to give justice to her mother by inheriting the Irram Mansion. Natya’s relatives are against it and are making false allegations so that she returns empty handed.
Siveswara was blessed by a son whom he called Badri (Natya’s grandfather). Badri was a pampered child. He was average in studies until the day he met Sundar. Sundar was an intelligent fellow and very soon, he became a role model to Badri. Badri was a rebel. He hated the customs and traditions of our country. It is his rebellious nature that forced him to go against his father and start up his newspaper ‘The People’s Herald’.
Widow re-marriages was not appreciate during those times. Badri challenged the society by marrying Swarnamati. Badri’s orthodox parents did not accept Swarnamati as their daughter-in-law at first. With time, they slowly began growing an opinion that she was the perfect match for Badri.
They say happiness and sadness are both a part of our lives. An incident occurred in Badri’s life which changed him altogether. What incident was it? What changes took place?
Is Natya’s visit to India a successful one? What does she learn about her maternal family in India?
- Transition from past to present and vice versa. Each chapter is linked to the next one in some way. Hence reading is smooth without any scope for confusions.
- Schizophrenic people are not mad. Our society needs to know this.
- Badri’s love for Swarnamati
- The People’s Herald
- Natya’s stand to get Pranati married to Sameer.
- Swarnamati’s Suicide
The narration style of the author is excellent. Not even once, I lost the track of the incidents that are narrated in the novel. They are perfectly woven. I learnt many new words (I had to resort to dictionary to find its meaning) and they enhanced my vocabulary.
The Withering Banyan is a one-time read.
My overall rating for this novel is 3/5
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