Banaras Talkies by Satya Vyas (Author), Himadri Agarwal (Translator)
My take on the book:
As the academic year began in the bustling Bhagwandas Hostel at Banaras Hindu University, Suraj, our narrator of the story is determined to find love at any cost. He makes new friends here — Anurag, a cricket fanatic who dreams of playing for the Indian team, and Jaivardhan, a philosophizing history student with a penchant for using the word “ghanta” in every conversation. How college life treats this trio forms the rest of the story.
The story is a hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age novel that captures the essence of college life. The author peppers the narrative with Banarasi colloquialisms, adding to its authenticity and flavor.
The author captures the essence of college life, from the camaraderie and friendships forged in the hostel to the academic pressures and the pursuit of love. The novel is filled with anecdotes and incidents that will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced the joys and sorrows of college life.
The biggest strength is the way the author portrayed all the characters. The supporting cast of characters, from the professors few of them border-line weird to the mischievous hostel mates, adds depth and humor to the story. The essence of an ancient city with its moder quirks is also well captured by the author.
Stories revolving around college life, especially life in hostel, has been portrayed in numerous books and in movies. However, any new story around this theme still captures the readers interest due to the relatability such stories have. College life is full of wonderful memories for all of us and this story is sure to hit the reader with nostalgia.
Though it is a translated work, the translator has done a commendable job in retaining the originality of the prose while bringing it close to wider audience. The story takes time to pick pace and will feel slow at places. Also, the ending feels a bit abrupt and under-developed.
Overall, this is a story of friendship, love, and self-discovery that will leave you laughing and reminiscing long after you are done reading it.