SHEIKH FAYAZ AHAMD, CENTER FOR STUDIES IN SCIENCE POLICY, JNU- NEW DELHI
Title : THE WINNING STORY
In the current scenario, when we feel to know more about the northeastern part of India, there is a cool breeze in the form of “The Winning Story” a novel by Ayangti Longkumer, a budding writer from Nagaland. The prologue of the novel says it all, “The last course of the meal is the best, but if you have stuffed yourself so much with the starters then you have to choose between what your heart wants and your mind. I am claiming to keep your mind free from any preconceptions of what the story is going to be, for there is so much twist and turns. There is an urgent requirement for lots of empty spaces in your mind and heart, the domains in which I will proudly pour out my words so to make it everlasting for you to argue upon it.” It is a story about a woman named Eve and the various relationships that twirl around her; and various situations which refines her. It unravels the various relationships that circles around a person and has flavor of love, compassion, commitment, and trust. At times we might sympathize with the protagonist but it is to be noted that it is not weepy story. Although it has an imaginary setting where the protagonist narrates her decades of memories, one can find oneself in her shoes. The greatest strength of Ayangti Longkumer’s debut novel is that it is not a story about mindless twist and turns or high intense actions, which as a reader we have become so accustomed to, but it has one straight story line which makes it natural and delightful to read, for readers might find themselves in her shoes. The interesting part is that it tells how circumstances shape the protagonist’s life and her response to the world. The author does not make a superhero of the protagonist but engages her in the emotions which any person can feel when countered with.
To give the autobiographical touch the novel is written in first person. It has poems and notes which shows the author’s brilliant creativity, adding sweet touch to the story. The following lines extracted from the novel could support the claim,
“Was I a saint in my last birth or did I fed the poorest of the poor to deserve you?
When I shed a tear, you cried a river,
When I faked a smile, you drew a rainbow of laughter;
When I slapped you real hard, you give the sweetest of kiss,
When I was all cold, you were the eternal sunshine to my buried soul.”
Indeed, the author has carefully placed the words and lines, and has been successful in not making the readers bored, she deserves applaud for that. The readers of this story need not be of a specific age group and that is the versatility of this novel. Though the settings are contemporary, the story of the novel has a classic touch which students of literature might easily agree with. Plot wise, Ayangti has chosen not to have the staple set-piece of the panoramic novel; she has avoided the cliché ending as there is no climactic scene where all the disparate characters meet. The ending lines could make the reader thirst to have a sequel of the novel. The author has done justice to all the characters, and the story is fresh and appealing. All in all, The Winning Story is a diverting read.
Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad
New Delhi, India