Almost every one of us went through many ups and downs in the last two years of the pandemic. Many lost their loved ones whereas many lost their livelihood. But what about those most middle-class ordinary dreams that got caught in the extraordinary of times?
Well to answer this, Author and Columnist Chetna Keer’s third book “Giddha On My Gulmohar” is here. The book is a racy, literary satire mapping the ups and downs of pandemics about people like you and me. A poignant portrait pulsating with the heartbeat of incorrigible hope.
The Chandigarh-bred and aborted economist who trotted off to turn Travelista, Chetna Keer says just like any other writer she too followed her passion for writing, and during the lockdown, she connected with the situation of people around her, the challenges that they were facing, the lockdown window became her lens for seeing the pandemic-something that even her protagonist endured.
The narrative of the book follows Lollita, a fortyish writer, and Saree-a-holic single mom, who chases her small-town big dream of making it to the B-Lists. With Lit Agent Lamba Ji in tow, she collides into not only speed-breakers like ageism, but also the choppy timelines of Before Corona, Lockdown, and Unlock where she also finds herself drawn to a younger artist, Ruhaan.
The author says, “The story is about how Lolita’s literary dream of making it big gets stuck on the cusp of timelines, which is followed by several questions like will Lollita’s summer-spring romance survive quarantine’s clash of cultures and the pressures of Hashtag-ism and Status Update-ism? What fate awaits her Wannabe Bestseller?”
Keer started writing this book in the first lockdown, then in the first unlock she went to the mountains, to witness the whole corona-scape as a bystander, and she finally completed the rest of the book in the hills of Himachal.
Keer further explained that the story of Lollita is so much the story of any creative woman belonging to a middle-class, small-town who wants to take in her creative field and reinvent her dreams in mid-life. She added that many characters of the story are inspired by her quirky neighbors whom she saw from her window during the lockdown.
She tried to touch the serious issues with a light heart. The whole narrative not only travels through different timelines but also through various literary landscapes as the little stories of how Dilli Haat looked before the pandemic and during a pandemic, how the artisans were impacted; all of these are there in the book.
Chetna’s book ‘Giddha On My Gulmohar’is not just a metaphor for the change of season but also for the changes before and after the pandemic. Different moods of pandemics are being reflected through this piece. Whereas on one side the Gulmohar in the title defines the mood, the Giddha symbolizes happiness, celebration and gives the message of hope in the darkest period.
Keer believes that whosoever will read the book will find them in the book as it is connected with everyone’s life.