Anukrti Upadhyay: Daura Author Anukrti Upadhyay



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Full Review I loved most about Anukrti Upadhyay s Daura was how mystic folktales of Rajasthan was integrated into the story Author has written this book in a form of series of documents and journal entries I liked the way characters were explored and dissected It transports you deep into their lives Writing is clear and uniue without any dramatic peaks Story be An idealistic District Collector is posted to a emote egion in Rajasthan of North India where he meets mysterious circumstances Daura by Anukrti Upadhyay opens at this point just as a medical officer is trying to get to the oot of this curiosityAs he interviews people and eads the district collector s diary the novella begins to lead eaders closer and closer to the truth or some would say the myth For Upadhyay s long fiction is a myth in itself a fable a folk tale eimagined and einterpreted Rich with the dialects of Dhoondhani and Mewati tender in its endition of the unforgiving Thar desert cleverly entwining eaders towards a spiralling end Daura is bursting with ustic beauty While it has its share of disappointments and absurdities Upadhyay s first published work in English eleased alongside another novella Bhaunri is a fresh intricate delicate addition to the literary worldThe novella follows an epistolary style with multiple characters providing varied opinions of the district collector The orderly introduces us to his Saheb with an odd liking for ueer places uncouth people He paints the picture of a flute playing people loving hard working official with no sense of hierarchy or decorum Next the tehsildaar a status uo lover who drips sycophancy and irritation through his seeming compliance One who esents the collector mingling with locals and is shocked at land ights being granted to women He heavily hints at the collector having gone cuckoo in the desert The Nat girls have a different story These locals call the collector a boon better than the ains in Asadh So we hear from the guard the camel herder and so on till the medical officer gives us his eport on the matterIt is then that we learn the district collector is suspected of having a daura a bout of madness It coincides with another meaning of daura a trip which is what he makes to the village efusing to go back to the headuarters By coincidence this word in Nepali efers to the traditional clothing for men which the collector would undoubtedly wear in Nepal as a government official This daura then is the crux of this work What has caused the gentle collector to abandon the comforts of city life and take efuge under a tree in the village Into the midst of this arrives an enigmatic character the bard of all bards the sarangiya whose instrument weeps as he plays because its strings are bathed in tears in the heart s blood This character arrives one day to sing about the exalted princess and everything shifts at that instant Daura is an interesting work in that it hides layers of possibilities and meanings under its folksy cloak In the correlation drawn between trees and life giving water it is an appeal to be kinder to the earth In the protest against the inhuman way local tribes are treated by so called higher castes it is an admonition to oot out ineualities and caste based discrimination It is also a satire against the ed tape and corruption that plagues bureaucrac. A young District Collector is posted to one of the furthest outposts of ural Rajasthan As he becomes and involved with the lives and troubles of the common people in his district he finds himself sucked deeper and deeper into the dark heart of the desert And there with the help of the mysterio.

Y in the way the collector dares to work for the people instead of carrying out formal orders with no understanding of the local context Above all Daura is a sadhana a meditation on the power of art and creation The idea of this novella begins and ends with an ode to music the power of art to give birth to and destroy the need to espect those who hold this power The sarangiya with hair white like the silk cotton of the semal tree and face like a map of pain as the kalavant whose art is for his own pleasure is a tribute to artistry in all forms There are few true pleasures says the guard and even fewer are those who are able to ecognise them The novella then exerts us to ecognise them before it is too late and we end up like the unappreciative tehsildar or orderly who is blind to the beauty and invitation of the desert spring all around him The story is told with poetic hythm with a furling of eality and fancy that is a perfect complement to its tone For example this exploration of the desert s dhanis which is enough to transport eaders The huts are small and built in neat little clusters with whatever is handy mud cow dung dried twigs and palm fronds Their mud walls are decorated with murals from stories told in these parts with turmeric or vermillion handprints of women and children The women draw patterns on the floor with lime and ed clay a different one for each festival These clusters of grass and mud huts are often screened by the dunes completely You need to climb the soft sand slopes or descend into troughs to discover them At times what you take for a ipple in the sand detaches itself and ises and you see that it is actually a camel s hump and at others what looks like a ounded mud oof turns out to be a dune There is a certain intimacy that Upadhyay has with the desert and its language which seeps into her words and enders them fragrant The author loves her cuisine and describes dried beans and kadhi bitter kankoda and ipe smelling kachari camel milk kheer and hand crushed bajra with near everence With the same confidence she sprinkles words in the local language generously throughout Chaupad chulha tehsil daaru naashvaan tikkad baati chaach saavan baoli khejri sangar To speakers learners and lovers of this language the words are like cool pleasant whisperings To non speakers they will taste gritty and feel distant and might be a deterrent to eading on for they are sans explanations in many placesThe novella in its attempt to paint the Saheb as a good character goes overboard at times This saccharine sweetness so difficult to digest the constant epetition and assertion that the Saheb is a bhagwan a daata this grovelling servitude to the saviour complex just doesn t suit the flow of the book It is also plain annoying that a work of fiction should have all these dashes that euest you to fill in the blanks with a coyness to not divulge the name of the tehsil the date of the complaint the location of the camel fair and so onBeyond that though Upadhyay is definitely a very different kind of writer who deserves to be welcomed Daura and the strong willed girl s tale Bhaunri both make for great short eads whose depth and musicality linger in the mind for a long time Perhaps that is so the truth does not always take you foward but it can help you seeIf I could sum up my understandin. Us musician the Sarangiya he has an encounter with beauty in its purest most absolute form An encounter that precipitates a dangerous descent The pages from the journal he keeps are combined with the narratives of those around him a Tehsildar a Circuit House guard a camel herder a pair of triba.

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G of the plot it s these lines uoted from the bookDaura a tour or a fit is what one thinks about the word itself is a book based on the life of a District Collector posted to a emote village in the Thar Desert The book comprises of his work as an efficient administrator of the betterment of his tehsil districtA famous Sarangiya a nomad playing the Sarangi musical instrument is a character as profound as the DC himself The Sarangiya and his influence on the DC s life and the change in the desert village are what the book is all about Black magic and superstitions lifestyle of the nomads tribals are beautifully depicted Impact of folk tales their elevance to the villagers the eyes being a mirage to the desert folk and their affinity with the village folk tales describe the desert life Desert folks having lives full of hardships yet they endure the pain so simply and wonderfully are a surprise to the eaderThe author has used local egional words in her writing which make the dialogues of the characters sincere and impactful The entire book is about ecords maintained by the DC his orderly the Tehsildar the Medical officer and a few other folks about their experiences with the collector and the changes in the village after his posting Daura has a serious undertone with magic woven all throughout The plot is unpredictable and intriguing with some clashes of science with folktales evered by the villagers Descriptions of events seem eal and intimidating due to the clear backgrounds of the characters make this a great ead DauraLet me start off by admiring how stunning the cover is The tree which initially seemed meaningless to me only made sense once I finished eading the book Set in Rajasthan Daura is a I aced through this book in a single sitting Brilliant writing stunning prose and an eually engaging story made this book a great eadThis book is about a DC District collector who is posted into one if the ural and far away districts of Rajasthan a state in North India The DC becomes oddly mesmerized and engrossed in the people s lives and with the mysterious sarangiya he plummets himself in danger It s a collection of accounts of the people who worked with the DC and narrated their experiencesThe book is written in an epistolary format The story eads like a folktale and we are engulfed in it I loved the use of local language the dialects of Dhoondhani and Mewati I admired how the collouial words didn t become a hindrance in eading Upadhyay made the words eader friendly I loved the subtle imagery used in the story I also loved the eclectic mix of characters especially the Sarangiya one who plays the SarangiAt its core Daura is a delicate folktale with its heart in the desert the music and the many alluring secrets of the desertThis is a perfect book in learning how bureaucracy works in the country The all too familiar incidents of people stooping low to win favours worshipping the government and ignoring the ights of certain people are written cleverlyIf you want a short and an impactful ead about the lives of the people in Rajasthan I highly ecommend this one This makes up for a uiant and scenic ead The mystical tree was so symbolic The book is simple and unadulterated A fresh story which will take you to the heart of the desert and will make you ponder over its strange beauty and Rajastha. L girls a Medical Officer a Police Superintendent and the Collector's orderly to create a compelling account of his slide away from eality Half eal and half fable and edolent with the songs and myths of Rajasthan Anukrti Upadhyay's Daura announces the arrival of a powerful new literary talen.