Some stories are simplistically told with underlying social message and these stories stay with you. Zorba Books published Amma by Rajjan Shinghal is one such book that I came across.

The book follows the story of Amma who lives in a quaint village of Uttarakhand. She has two sons – Birju and Shibbu. Birju likes the teacher of the school, Radha and wishes to marry her. This news is broken to Radha by Shibbu. Soon, Amma follows up and Radha reveals her story. We get to know how Radha is a orphan who was left by her parents in a dustbin. She was about to be gnawed by the street dogs when she was saved by an old man. Soon she was handed over to Guru Maa, who took her under her wings and became her mother. Radha has two sisters who have a similar tale. And the past life of Guru Maa isn’t all that happy either.

The story is fun loving and emotional as well. It is written and told simplistically. The Hindi language used is lucid and understandable. The story gave me feels. I had become a part of Radha’s life in no time. The story though woven seamlessly yet it was episodic. The highlight of the story was the difficult life of a girl child. How they are disowned and what would have happened to them if Radha, Meena and Machlu hadn’t found shelter with Guru Maa. Then the author also makes a strong statement on the casteism. All this is done quite subtly is what I loved the most about this novel.

Another fact worth mentioning is that the narration mostly is in conversation format and the characters are brought alive through these dialogues. Primarily you will see Amma, Shibbu, Birju, Radha and Meena as main characters in this novel but there are other characters like that of Kaki Maa and Guru Maa, the villagers like Billu Taii, Chaudhari mama, Rahmat chacha, Panditji, who also give attendance from time to time. I loved the character of Shibbu. He was fun and often brought a smile to my face and pulled off laughter because of his innocent banters.

Overall, if you wish to begin reading Hindi books then you can sure start with this lighthearted, fun loving story.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Publisher: Zorba Books
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