"Look for the tumult in the silence within yourself. That's where you will find your story."
"If you keep looking for glitter outside, the one inside will be forgotten."
"The body rides on the wings of change in order to live."
"Is disappearing into the limitless, into Shunyata, the destiny of mankind?"
"Are comforts the same as happiness?"
"The impression of experience can never let the mind know the intense bliss of innocence."
The music of solitude is a soothing love song that one wishes would never end. In the autumn of their life, Aranya and Ishan come to know each other as neighbors and then as friends and eventually in their shared solitude as they revisit their pasts, observe their present, discuss philosophy and the ways in which both come from distinct schools of thoughts, something tender and beautiful blooms between two souls.
Krishna Sobti builds his characters and incidents with fluidity of life as it unfolds over numerous cups of tea served with cookies and cakes. Just like its protagonists, the story is in no rush to reach any conclusion or a definite end. The author brings out the various moods of his characters - melancholy, warmth, romance, contentment, vulnerability, anger, irritations, urges to provoke the other that influence the colors of their conversations.
The music of solitude is philosophically heavy material that feels as light as a feather, while it pours itself in the mind of the reader. Originally written in Hindi, Vasudha Dalmia's English translation works perfectly n terms of its effect. However I found myself wishing that the translator had given more emphasis on using punctuation marks. The book more than redeems itself for that one drawback by its intricately woven conversations and its slowly evolving characters with dense strokes of individuality.
The Music of Solitude is an immensely beautiful and profound read...
The Music of Solitude written by Krishna Sobti & translated into English by Vasudha Dalmia uncovers the life of Ishan and Aranya who are in the autumn of their lives with no trappings of family or other domestic compulsions to weigh on their solitary existence. However, as it happens, the two seek solace in a shared solitude that is as sweet as apposite for two people slightly haunted by thoughts of their impending death.
The book is written in a manner to provide you only snippets, brief recollections and glimpses that reveal the history of these characters without baring it all, which if I am honest, felt more like a tease than anything else. I found myself unable to appreciate the book and here’s why:
- I couldn’t distinguish between the voices of the two characters although Sobti makes it very clear that they have contrary beliefs and principles
- I was constantly going back to see which dialogue belonged to which character and this felt really frustrating
- As someone who is still in the youth of her life, I found it difficult to relate to the thoughts of both Aranya and Ishan who are always brooding over death, almost to the point of obsession. From ensuring that the shoes are not wet while taking a walk to eating right, everything they do is motivated by their will to keep death at bay instead of their will to live (I am not sure if I am able to articulate this properly but there’s a difference between the two)
- The narrative style left a lot to be desired
Now I know that themes like death or melancholy or probably anything that I don’t personally relate to presently can be rendered beautifully enough to earn both my admiration & interest. Unfortunately, the book failed to achieve either.