I raced through this book in a single sitting. Brilliant writing, stunning prose and an equally engaging story made this book a great read.
This book is about a DC (District collector), who is posted into one if the rural and far away districts of Rajasthan (a state in North India). The DC becomes oddly mesmerized and engrossed in the people’s lives, and with the mysterious sarangiya, he plummets himself in danger. It’s a collection of accounts of the people who worked with the DC and narrated their experiences.
The book is written in an epistolary format. The story reads like a folktale and we are engulfed in it. I loved the use of local language, the dialects of Dhoondhani and Mewati. I admired how the colloquial words didn’t become a hindrance in reading, Upadhyay made the words reader friendly. I loved the subtle imagery used in the story. I also loved the eclectic mix of characters, especially the Sarangiya (one who plays the Sarangi)
At its core, ‘Daura’ is a delicate folktale, with its heart in the desert, the music and the many alluring secrets of the desert.
This is a perfect book in learning how bureaucracy works in the country. The all too familiar incidents of people stooping low to win favours, worshipping the government and ignoring the rights of certain people are written cleverly.
If you want a short and an impactful read about the lives of the people in Rajasthan, I highly recommend this one. This makes up for a quiant and scenic read. The mystical tree was so symbolic! The book is simple and unadulterated. A fresh story which will take you to the heart of the desert and will make you ponder over its strange beauty and Rajasthan.
Thank you Harper Collins India and Anukrti Upadhyay for the copy. Picture and opinions my own.
You can get a copy for yourself here.