Hiraeth – Book Review

Hiraeth – The desire, the longing, the nostalgia…

I’m a die-hard logophile, lover of words, and this word had a deeper sense in it. The name ‘Hiraeth’ itself just made me curious when I saw it. I ordered it I was excited to hold this book in my hands. The only thing I missed is the Author’s signature on it. So here’s my small attempt to present my view on her debut book in my words, Hiraeth – Book Review.

Why this Book?

To begin with, would love to share why I had a more than one connection with this book –

  • The word Hiraeth was intriguing for me in the first place, the moment I read it. It’s telepathy or what I don’t know I had just read a few lines that very day and the other day comes the book…

हिराएत है हिराएत है
बस घर लौटने की भूक है

  • Then comes a lovely blogger cum friend who had written this, we had connected suddenly realizing the fact that we grew up in the same area of Delhi, wish we had known it earlier to be bonded in more terms. I still feel the sound when Shivani called me immediately after reading the word Paschim vihar in my chats… I still have the same smile on my face I had that day when we both chatted for long. It’s surprising to know, how the places can bring one together even when you are kilometers apart, isn’t it?
  • Another reason, well I grew up in Delhi and I grew up in the Model town area which is near Kingsway camp where all the partition stories had begun. In my later life, I shifted near Punjabi bagh which is yet another colony of refugees as they still say it. I had heard many such similar stories from the biji of the house I lived in. This book just took me back to the visual image of biji, the caring, lively, full of stories, white-haired grandma whom I met in my early life and still had an effect on me. Another one is khanduja daar Ji who had seen me grow and I this book again took me back to days when he used to shower love on me similar to his own daughter. I can never forget my early days spent in model town among these few families who had often shared their stories of grief, struggle, and strength. I feel wish I had talked to them little more to remember them all with stories to connect.

What’s in the book?

The heartfelt partition stories, all inspired by true events. I’m glad that Shivani has narrated stories so touchingly.

So if you want to re-live the bitter truth of life, If you want to see the glimpses of the struggles people went thru, If you want to just close your eyes and imagine those days this is the book to pick.

Do you want to meet Taro, Shashi, or Shanno? Peep into Chandni Chowk ke kuche, Kingsway camp from 1947 or Lahore lanes and market, then just pick the book and read for yourself.

A great tribute to those who had lived with the word ‘refugees’ to date. They have lost their loved ones, their homes, and lives for the so-called partition. I can feel the camp alive in the stories.

Since the author has herself experienced the term Refugee in her life, as her grandparents had to move to leave their homes to the wake in independent Indian 1947, she has narrated all the stories from the heart. You can live each story and feel the pain, plight, and cries in each and every character.

The stories that touched me-

Beaaz (Book) – Cant take my thoughts away from the last line when Kartaar’s eyes feel on the familiar book his bauji was clutching in his hands. It says so much in just the hold of the book.

Chinh (Mark) – Visualising that mark which Omi had made just cause he was curious about the sign that actually saved their lives that very night.

Hiraeth (Longing) – Taro’s surprise in difficult times that brings her hope.

Ghiza (Meal) – Can’t get over my thoughts out of uneaten food.

Saans (Breath) – Tough time make you tougher… so true

If you wanna have a glimpse of the book here is my read of a very dear chapter – Hiraeth

Who’s & How’s of Book?

Book Title: HIRAETH

Author:  Dr. Shivani Salil

Number of Pages: 272

Publisher: Room9 Publications

Available on: Amazon and Artoonsinn

I ‘dil se’ congratulate Dr. Shivani Salil for a fabulous debut book of hers. It’s not just a book but a combo of emotions, time travel, history, nostalgia.

In its 24 chapters, each and everyone leaves a mark(Chinh) on your mind.
It’s a Book (Beaaz) of Longing(Hiraeth), Emotions(Jazbaat), Grief(Kulfat), Memories(Yaadein), Honour(Izzat) and Wounds too(Zakhm).

You have presented a very sensitive and disturbing topic with ease and emotions. It made me cry, smile, it even gave me hope, and made me nostalgic completely.

All the best for your future book and keep inspiring and motivating as always. I still am looking to get your autograph on this book Doctor Sahiba…

This is a personal touch to the Hiraeth – Book Review as the book stands close to me.

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4 Responses

  1. Hiraeth… Wow yes the word itself makes one curios enough…

  2. Alpana says:

    wow…thats a heartfelt review. Felt the connection that you have experience while reading this book. When I first heard the title of the book, it made me curious to know more about it. Reading the review, I can say that Shivani has picked a very thoughtful title and knowing her, I am sure, she must have done a fabulous job.

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