Author: Pandey Kapil
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PhoolSunghi or flowerpecker is a tiny bird known for its noisy bustle around flower plants. However, if trapped in a cage, it loses its liveliness and withers away quickly.
PhoolSunghi by Pandey Kapil translated by Gautamxchoubey published by Penguinindia is translated from a Bhojpuri Novel.
It’s a Story of Dhelabai or Gulzaribai, a queen among beauties and an unchallenged sovereign in the realm of music and dance.
Words of her beauty reach Sahay and he decides to bring her with him, build a golden cage for her – the Red Mansion. The story revolves around Sahay, Dhelabai and Mahendar Misir. Tangled with love, emotion and destiny, each of them has a journey to share, a story to witness.
I couldn’t leave this book to the next day and hence, I finished it in one sitting. It kept me awake till 4.30.
With a crisp, enthralling plot, the author weaves an amazing tale of survival, morality, gender, empathy, friendship, politics, wealth and of course Love. The unexpressed emotions, unsaid friendship, shared responsibilities, and a lot more is caged in this book.
PhoolSunghi is a metaphor for the free-spirited creatures, striving for survival. With a gripping, descriptive narrative, it’s a story worth witnessing, I would say.
The way the author described the journey of each of them, be it Revel Sahib’s journey of Sahay’s or Dhelabai’s each of them tells us how they strived to fly, escape the cage but destiny had other plans for them.
It’s a smooth paced story with simple language and the rich fascinating writing style of the author will amaze you. With each chapter, the story gets more intense making readers curious. Misir’s songs, his story, too was interesting to read.
The strong, well-developed characters adds charm to the story. Be it Pataluwa’s Lil story and his obedience or Ramnarayan’s friendship, everything is just beautiful. I loved Revel Sahib’s character and of course Sahay’s.
As the story moves towards the climax, the readers witness the new Avatar of Gulzaribai which I enjoyed the most. It’s a beautiful tale that you must not skip
‘Babu Sahib! You must have heard of a phoolsunghi—the flower-pecker—yes? It can never be held captive in a cage. It sucks nectar from a flower and then flies on to the next.’
When Dhelabai, the most popular tawaif of Muzaffarpur, slights Babu Haliwant Sahay, a powerful zamindar from Chappra, he resolves to build a cage that would trap her forever. Thus, the elusive phoolsunghi is trapped within the four walls of the Red Mansion.
Forgetting the past, Dhelabai begins a new life of luxury, comfort, and respect. One day, she hears the soulful voice of Mahendra Misir and loses her heart to him. Mahendra too, feels for her deeply, but the lovers must bear the brunt of circumstances and their own actions which repeatedly pull them apart.
The first ever translation of a Bhojpuri novel into English, Phoolsunghi transports readers to a forgotten world filled with mujras and mehfils, court cases and counterfeit currency, and the crashing waves of the River Saryu.
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