Saturday, April 27, 2019

SASSI BY RAJVEER SINGH PRAJAPATI: A Journey to be remembered with Closed Eyes

Sassi is a Hindi translation of the novel written by Rajveer Singh Prajapati titled Destined Lives - Journey till the Start published by Leadstart Publishing Private Ltd. in the year 2013. The Hindi translation titled Sassi published in the year 2016 by Redgrab Books followed the success of the English title.

After reading Sassi, the Hindi translation, it is difficult to say if it's a translation at all. One may wonder if Sassi, the Hindi novel is the source that was translated to English under the title Destined Lives - Journey till the start. The only criteria I adopt here to differentiate the source text and the target text or translated text is the chronology. Only after the publication of Destined Lives did they release Sassi. So if you find me addressing the Hindi title as a translation, the publication date is only to blame.   

In Sassi, the author uses nostalgia with skill. From the cover, which looks classy to the yellow cream-coloured pages of the book, to the literariness of the language, the book plays with the art of nostalgia. Sassi reminds us of the great writers of the Hindi realm like Premchand and Suryakanth Tripathi in the use of language and tonalities.

Rajveer Singh Prajapati 
This novel would invoke those forgotten memories of strong women who we know exists amidst us though unnamed. The titular character is a young woman named Sassi who journeys through the peaks and valleys of life and shines through all her pain as an admirable hero of the story of her life. She is just nine years old when the story begins. She is from Darjeeling. More than her family, it is Mohanty Babu who becomes the pool of solace for her at her young age. However, the story of her life changes when she is sent to live in a hostel. Mohanty Babu vanishes and never returns. Sassi promises herself that she will forget her past of lumbering pain. However, she couldn't help but sketch his face but in vain.

Sassi had lost her beloved one. The pain of loss captures Sassi. She is a slave to the memories of her past. How could she ever dream about overcoming the chains of painful memories? She had to consider these chains as her comforters when it was their time to rule over her mind and body. But before long, Sassi realizes that the chains that bind her are not there to protect her.

As part of a student exchange programme, Sassi goes to Sikkim. There she meets the charismatic young man named Veer. He is an army officer. His manly voice and demeanour attract Sassi. However, they were never meant to be together. With grief still in her heart, Sassi's life takes her to Delhi. In Delhi, Sassi finds herself lost to the multitudinous concerns of the city. Raj enters her life. There, in the city called the heart of India, Sassi realizes the true meaning of the many events in her life.   

The story of Sassi is narrated with a sad undertone. Melancholy marks every turn in her life. However, there is hope in the end. Rajveer Singh Prajapati's skill as a writer is evident in the way he structured the novel. He uses ample Urdu expressions in this Hindi classic. His passion and love for language are evident from every page you read in the book. Every sentence is lyrical and feels like a quote deep with the multilayered meaning of life. Sassi's journey is a memorable one, a journey that needs to be remembered with closed eyes.

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