Bengali title: চৌরঙ্গী; Translated by Arunava Sinha; Chowringhee was made and interlinked, all mediated, in different degrees, by Shankar. Chowringhee has 10 ratings and 0 reviews. Here, day and night were interchangeable. The immaculately dressed Chowringhee, radiant in her. Chowringhee is a most popular (Famous) book of Shankar. Just click & download . If you want to read online, please go to (✅Click For Read Online) button and.

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G iven the frenetic energy and ebullience of recent fiction coming out of India, it is something of a relief to rediscover the pleasures of an absorbing story simply told. Chowringhee has that essential quality of a good novel: You want to turn the pages, but you do not want the pages to end. The words are sahnkar, and the world of the novel is completely alive, despite being written over 40 years ago. First published in Bengali inchowfinghee novel became a shaankar and was translated into a number of Indian languages and made into a film and a play.

But it has taken until now for it to be published in English outside India. Perhaps Sankar was too popular to be noted, even though two of his other books, Seemabaddha Company Limited and Jana Aranya The Fhowringhee had the accolade of being filmed by the legendary Satyajit Ray.

In a recent interview Sankar explains how he discovered Chowringhee, Calcutta’s glittering esplanade and the world of his novel. From being a street hawker and a typewriter cleaner, by luck he became a clerk to India’s last British lawyer, Noel Barwell.

But he treated me like a friend and exposed me to the ‘high life’ of the rich and famous. I used to stay at [the hotel] Shahjahan’s servants’ quarters as his employee.

I had a greenroom view of cabaret dancers, the private lives of celebrities The book is a banquet of stories served by a wide-eyed narrator, rather confusingly named Shankar and shaped by the hotel he comes to work in, xhankar same Shahjahan. Although one of the characters tells us, “At least a dozen novels about hotels are written in this country chowrihghee year,” I am not aware of another.

There ought to be hundreds of them. The Shahjahan has cousins scattered around the world: You would expect them to loom large in modern fiction, given the number of writers who have stayed in them, but Shahjahan does seem to be surprisingly alone.

In the alluring curves was not the arrogance of modern skyscrapers but the stamp of ancient aristocracy. Like a beautiful bride’s bracelet, the neon light glinted in the darkness. It had three bands – green at the extremities and red in the middle; the flirtatious winking was limited to the green, while the red was like the unblinking eye Shankar is also refreshingly different. He begins as a babu who “revelled in the role He’s happy to salute Curzon, “the English Lord, much maligned by history”, on the first page and, at the end of the novel, quote Kipling in another ancient Calcutta hotel, railing against the sham shankat life.


In between he quotes lines from other poets who are not identified but were perhaps obvious, as were the real-life models for some of the characters, shankra Calcutta readers in the s.

Chowringhee by Shankar

But other than a tendency to hyperbole shankr the early pages, Shankar does not inflict babu speech on the reader. Although many of the conversations take place in English there are none of the distractions of clever linguistics and forced humour with which babu characters so often burst the bubble of fiction and hurl us out of a story.

Perhaps this is an unexpected consequence of the book having been chowringhre in Bengali. The early history of modern Bengali literary writing is said to have been a negotiation between a formal high style and the liveliness of everyday speech.

Buddhadeb Bose, writing in on the impact of Tagore and Pramatha Chaudhuri, identifies the “War of Words”, a “battle that raged over the new style of prose”. Everyday spoken Bengali, which both these writers promoted, was regarded as too lightweight by the establishment of the time. But by the mid-century, Bose writes, “The quality and quantity of our recent spoken-tongue prose indicate that though Pramatha Chaudhuri broke the ice, Rabindranath set the stream flowing.

The writing is natural and uncluttered.

The translation is transparent and one questions it only rarely over the odd phrase or image. Shankar is despondent on the death of his English employer. Then he stumbles into a job behind the reception desk of the Shahjahan, thanks to the help of a magnanimous but failing detective, Byron, whose client is the hotel manager Marco Polo first seen in a “sleeveless vest and tiny chowrinfhee briefs”.

Immediately we get an inkling that we are stepping into a Calcutta that offers rather more than the standard dal and masala fare.

As it turns out, dal barely gets a mention in pages, and that’s after tutti frutti ice-cream – a delight in itself.

Shankar’s first task is to type out 50 breakfast menu cchowringhee. Jimmy, the steward, “a veritable Mount Vesuvius”, barks out the list: The man stopped for a while, gulped, and then continued yelling in the manner of reciting a multiplication table: Words came tumbling out of his mouth like gunfire as he came to a halt with ‘coffee’. Jimmy, like Marco Polo, is European, but in the cosmopolitan world of s Calcutta, this is an unimportant detail that we discover late in the book, when the new Indian owners of the Shahjahan decide to keep the management foreign but modernise the hotel.


In the end, the old Goan musician Gomez, with his love of Beethoven and Mozart, has to make way for a “more cheerful” band, and Shankar’s contract is terminated because “they’re going to have only girls at the cchowringhee.

But between those first breakfast menu cards and the farewell banquet we waltz into a world of Moscow mules and Manhattans, honeymoon soup and sharkskin suits. We meet Connie, a stripper from Scotland via Persia, whose dance ends with her clothed only in bursting balloons; Karabi, a hostess who services suite number 2, permanently booked for corporate hospitality; Sutherland, the WHO expert with a secret past; as well as tycoons, politicians and conscience-stricken bartenders.

Karabi’s dilemma of having to choose between old and new values is one that most of the characters face at some point in their time at Shahjahan, including Marco Polo and Bose-da, his right-hand man, the fount of Shahjahan lore and fixer of high-society liaisons.

Shankar learns to become the trusted servant of them all. The servant’s tale, from Canterbury to Calcutta, Bangalore to Bath, often veers between anger and loss.

Shankar’s story in the end is one of loss: Some left after breakfast; a few disappeared after lunch; others went away after tea.

Hotel Calcutta

Now it was time for dinner, and no one was left I, the patriarch, seemed to have sat down at an empty table. Not quite true for his creator. Sankar, the writer, at the end, has Chowringhee: Everything comes to the old hotel, either to the sumptuous guest rooms or to the terrace where the staff live. Love and death are never far away.

Cowringhee writes of both simply and movingly. There will be many grateful readers at his table. Topics Fiction Book of the week.

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