Chasing the Rainbow: The Growing Up in an Indian Village by Manoj Das

It is a book of short stories. They are light hearted and give a vivd description of the village life. The author paints an enchanting canvas of the sea and the village through this writings. He takes you alongwith him to the places he explores in his village Sankhari, District Balasore, bordering Medinpur districts in Bengal. Or the time spent at his uncles home in Koraput, bordering Andhra.

The author recounts amusing tales from his childhood. Most of the stories are from the time before India won freedom. The author claims that he lived in a village in Odisha, which was untouched from the stirrings of freedom struggle of the nation. A ‘gora’ had never set foot in the village and neither did they witness a vehicle being driven. The village administration was headed by the President, a person appointed by the British to govern twenty villages. And the author had the privilege of being the President’s son.

Even though his father was appointed as a President, they lived a humble life and the author wandered to every nook and cranny either alone or with his friends. Each stories narrates the escapades with charm and delight a child experiences while discovering new places and encountering new challenges.

“The sun was setting. Outlined on the opposite horizon was a range of hills. Over it had flashed a rainbow. A year ago, another rainbow spanning the eastern horizon in my own village had tempted me to try catch its end hidden behind a row of trees though it had eluded me rather treacherously. But who knew if the rainbows in this region were not more friendly.” What an innocent description of a rainbow! I have always been awestruck with a rainbow but never did I try to catch it but after reading this account, I am waiting for the rainbow to appearing so that I can be a child once again and look for its tail end!

All of the stories are also a homage to the rural life which has almost disappeared and with its disappearance it has taken away the innocence of the humble souls residing in them.

The book has 28 stories in 160 pages. You can read all of them together or pick this book while you read another one. A good read indeed! Go for it!

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