I think “Byomkesh Bakshi” needs no introduction for the present generation of 20 somethings in India. At a time when there are no cable TVs and a plethora of TV channels, the only source of entertainment was our Door Darshan. Ofcourse, we had several good programmes, which people still remember with nostalgia. Stories of Byomkesh Bakshi were a part of one such program. Rajat Kapur immortalized the character to such an extent that thinking of Byomkesh Bakshi, I remember only his face and get-up. Anyways, coming to the point, I found a book titled – “Byomkesh Bakshi stories” at A.A.Hussain & Co last month. It was then that I came to know the author’s name! Saradindu Bandopadhyay wrote them in Bengali. Monimala Dhar translated some of them in to English and Rupa &Co made it in to a book which I read. 🙂 I was too young back then, to recollect “seeing” any of the seven stories mentioned in this book now, except one. However, I verified from my mom that I indeed used to watch him on TV in school days. Lets take the seven stories.
The stories are:
1. The deadly diamond (Raktamukhi Neela)
2. The hidden heirloom (Seemanta Heera)
3. The Avenger (Achin Pakhi)
4. The man in a red coat (Chhalanar Chanda)
5. The phantom client (Shaila Rahasya)
6. Quick Sand (Chora Bali)
7. Room number two (Room number two)
Each of these stories appeared thoroughly interesting and gripping. The one that are the best in my opinion are: the avenger,room number two and deadly diamond. Hidden Heirloom was very well narrated. But then, I guessed the secret towards the end which spoiled my feeling of awe 🙂 Same was the case with Phantom Client and Quick sand. Having read so many detective stories since childhood, its not very difficult to guess who the culprit is in these stories. But then, guessing the right person is sometimes purely coincidental and some times purely logical 😉 Well, keeping your indulgement in to detective profession aside, if you read them as a normal reader, all the stories are thoroughly enjoyable. I long to see the videos of these stories now 🙂
The only complaint being: Its too expensive for the 7 seven stories it provided. 195/- for a small book! least expected from Rupa & Co!!
Details of the book:
Byomkesh Bakshi stories
Bengali Original: Saradindu Bandopadhyay
English Translation: Monimala Dhar
Publishers: Rupa & Co
Cost: Rs 195/-
my verdict: Must read for B.B. fans and good try for general readers.
Reading all these translations of Bengali fiction makes me feel sad for one reason. I hardly know of any such character (say Feluda, Shonku or Byomkesh Babu) in Telugu literature. I don’t know if this sadness is for myself (for not knowing some character) or Telugu literature as such (For not having many such characters like Bengali literature). Yeah, there might have been a couple of characters in Telugu too. But, how many of them were translated in to English and read by many other language people?