Book Review of Remnants of a Separation by Aanchal Malhotra
Reading Remnants of a separation was intensive for it encloses in itself the stories on partition which give a jolting but lingering aftertaste, similar to one which is observed after savouring a hot cup of tea.
We time travel into the lives of people before, during and after partition through material memory- a concept of memorabilia through objects.We walk hand in hand through this emotional journey of revisiting a past which one deliberately doesn’t want to recall for all it brings back is loss. Loss of an era where humanity was held prime, of a culture which depicted oneness and of their home and loved one’s.
In here are 19 handpicked stories emotive, evocative and colloquial, you almost feel you are a part of that conversation hearing them in the same living room they sit to talk about it. The recollections of past made is stimulated by the objects they have with them in possession now from across the border, which they once called home. Be it a regionalist who often slips “farak toh hai”, there is a difference between Hindus and Muslims in their dialogues or a nationalist who keeps India and its people as a whole in his heart, we hear a unanimous voice saying- Partition will always be a horror, a massacre to never be remembered. And so when questioned - do you remember those times and what it was like, were answers only justifying the reason of time. “Eventually and Inevitably, one does forget”. Reading about kinship among people before partition with zero grounds of religion felt like a tender keepsake.
Calling It a beautifully written and compiled book would be an understatement with respect to the work that has gone in creation of something so substantial and harrowing. It makes your heart skip a beat, there is a lump in your throat and you don’t realise how long you were holding that sigh inside of you when you finally let it out, in awe. No matter how much I try to express it, reading this book will always remain an aesthetic experience, one that won’t blossom with magnanimity in my words but will stay wrapped up in my heart, only to be re-opened at certain instances.
If you are looking for that one perfect book on Partition, your search ends here. This is "A must must read".
Nothing less than ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 glorious stars.