Author: Nilakshi Borgohain
Published by Visions & Reasons Imprint, Publication Division of CEM, Guwahati.
‘When she looked up again at the sky, there were spectacular ribbons of glorious colour. The vision touched her soul instantaneously and she was overcome with a sense of utmost bliss. In that fleeting moment, she perceived something greater than her life. All her fears, frustrations, greed, guilt, suspiciousness and self pity vaporized away from her being. And for the first time in her life, she experienced the lightness of liberation.’ – Nilakshi Borgohain.
After reading her earlier writings which includes the ‘Streets of Fear’, ‘Rhythms of Life’ and ‘Waltz in Happiness’, I always pine for Nilakshi Borgohain’s novels, which are set on real-life Indian backgrounds. All her creations are true reflections of the realities of the society. Her latest gem, ‘Life’s Beautiful Days’ is no exception. Her writing encompasses rich character development and explores the kind of thematic content that tugs your heartstrings.
Interestingly, in the novel, the author did not give a name to the orphan girl and addressed her symbolically as ‘she’. Even her close friend ‘Alice’ does not address her by name, and it depicts an unnamed female character that have suffered neglect and abuse in the street. It was only as a result of a Corporate Social Responsibility activity, did the young girl find a shelter for her little soul in a decent environment but without a loving family.
‘She’ says in her own words, ‘You are all going to recognize me as your equal. And treat me as one of you she muttered, the very first day she stepped into hostel I promise.’ So giving a name to the character would have been unsuitable because whether we admit it or not, when we see a name, we draw conclusions about a variety of characteristics, including demographics like race.
The character’s downfall was like that of a criminal despite being a successful lawyer, as she stole the manuscript from her unsuspecting best friend Alice. She was caught by another friend, a doctor whom she met during her trip abroad. It reflects the true picture of our society prevailing in present day through the words ‘Power has snatched the last vestige of decorum from you, totally shamed you. I am sorry, I came back for you.’
I call it a self realization book but it’s about discovering one self. The author puts forth all possible spectrums of life, from the best moments to the worst ones, from the worst mental state to the best state of realization.
Life’s Beautiful Days is also a story of Alice. In the words of the author, ‘It is a story of her triumph against the numerous ordeals life confronts her with, of her resilience and of her infinite capacity to love.’ Her character certainly adds to the beauty of this book.
Nilakshi Borgohain isn’t sugarcoating anything in this book but she delicately and tastefully illustrates a shade of realism in philosophical terms. Even her dedication is worthy of mention, ‘To every reader, everywhere’. I finished the book in one reading during my flight from New York to New Delhi.
By Avinash Kaushik