Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Mrinal Chatterjee's fourth Odia Novel Kandhei published

I am sure that each of us know Prof Dr Mrinal Chatterjee as journalist-turned media teacher, heading the IIMC campus in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Some may know him as a novelist. I had a vague idea, but now I am delighted to inform you that the fourth novel of Prof Dr Mrinal Chatterjee in Odia, 'Kandhei' (The Doll) has recently been published in Bhubaneswar. 

What is more interesting to know that the novel is being translated in Hindi and English. I read its review which gives a broad idea about the theme. 

Congratulation Dr. Mrinal. The theme is different, and I am waiting for the English version!! 

You will also have a similar feeling when you read the review at

Kandhei (a novella) Author: Mrunal Publisher: Prakashan Timepass, Bhubaneswar 

A cat who writes a secret diary, vows vengeance for all the problems she faces because of her human landlords, and tries to live her dreams. A dog named Rajnikanta who gets scared by monkey kids. A squirrel couple named Branjelina who always leave their audience stunned with their speed and incomparable love. 

There are many such interesting characters in this thought-provoking Odia novella written by Mrunal (pen name of Dr Mrinal Chatterjee). 

Story of Kandhei, the cat, begins with her arrival to an almost cat-hating family. The owner of the house, Nabaghana, has ailurophobia (fear of cats). He believes that cats are bad omen and this is why they are always shown in scary movies. His wife Rangabati and son Luv Kumar have similar fears and anxieties. Only his daughter Lata finds Kandhei cute because of her soft fur, yellow spots on the brown skin and blue eyes. 

The novella is divided into three parts. The first part appears to be lengthy. On a lighter note, the author attributes this to his inability to stop when he starts saying something. However, this phenomenon is not unique and Dr Chatterjee is not the first writer struggling to contain his thoughts. In fact, all creative people face this problem. They create a world of their own, and many other entwined worlds within.  Here also, the author creates many layers in the first part and ends up building the foundation for an interesting story of a cat that follows in the second and third parts.   
As the story progresses, the reader is exposed to the world of Kandhei as she harbours desires, guided by her own urges. Her stay at Nabaghana’s house is marked by resistance from other members, even the animals. But Kandhei lives not only her life but also her dreams despite all odds, aptly summed up in the words of Jim Davis quoted in the second part of the novella, “Way down deep, we're all motivated by same urges. 

Cats have the courage to live by them.” Dr Chatterjee’s cat, or that matter no cat is an ordinary animal. Cat bears the soul of a woman, split in her desires. On the one hand she wants to become free and explore the pain and pleasures of the world on her own, on the other she needs the security provided by domesticity.  

Her split personality is not just limited to the dilemma of choosing between freedom and safety but also in the choice of male partners. She romances two tomcats at the same time.  Both of them are examples of two extremes of male personality. The one gives her love and treats her as a duly wedded wife while the other lusts her, violates her body and yet gives her the pleasure (as she thinks) she does not want to live without.  

Kandhei flirts with her dilemmas and for once steps out of the shackles of the household, only to return when the thoughts of safety of her children fades her own desires. Being an animal is bad. Being a cat is perhaps the worst. People kill some animals for food and leave some to die in want of a safe abode. However, cats are the only one of its kind persecuted everyday because of superstitions.  In this novella, Dr Chatterjee not only breaks many myths about cats but also make the reader see the world from the eyes of a cat.  - See more at: 


1 comment:

Discover Marcom said...

Delighted to read about Mrinalsir's latest novel -- Kandhei, an intricate and cute travel into the mind of a cat and the philosophy of life she espouses. I come from a family which once had 12 cats. Yes, would like to grab an English version at the earliest. Kudos Mrinalsir for finding time for creativity & literature!

Deepu Joy