Che in Paona Bazaar by Kishalay bhattacharjee

North-East India is not an ‘imagined community’, separated from the politics and policies that govern the rest of the country. It is as real as the violence that has torn the land apart, leaving its people grappling for a semblance of normalcy, if nothing else. The north-east isn’t just a hotbed for insurgency and deadly casual encounters, a stop-over on every international rock band’s schedule, or where used syringes lie waiting in dark alleys. There are other realities as well— of forbidden love, weddings, fascinating cuisines, childhood memories and other 'unimportant stories' that never made it to our newspapers and television screens. 
Years in the media have taught him that not all revolutions will be televised. Che in Paona Bazaar finds Bhattacharjee deep in the heart of Manipur, demystifying a state that was once just a source of ‘news’ for him. He delves into public memory, digging up collective histories to bring to life a people forgotten by their fellow-countrymen, of women hardened by constant hardship and of a youth struggling to merge their multiple identities.

My Views : I took the longest possible time to finish this book , considering the fact that I loved it from page 1. When I started the book, All I had in mind was the term "seven sisters" , but it took me a while to name all seven of them without referring to Google . Ok, i am not really proud of this but well , this is all I knew of the states. I felt this book will tell me a lot about the states - both good and bad. But this book surpassed all my hopes and expectations. This is an easy and engaging read if you let the words be nothing but words. and that is the difficult task in itself. Every once in a while I paused , expressed my disbelief on what I read , told it to my husband and still I could not make sense of what I actually felt.The author has incorporated a character Eshei( the word means music / song ) and through her journeys and feelings he has expressed the anguish , pain and how some find a path while others resign to the darkness. The folktales , the culture , the food of these lands is so fascinating while living there is no heaven. Why we are bothered by the north eastern people coming to other states for work or settling while never asking why there are no such opportunities in their homeland ? there is so much to know and explore about this mystical part of the nation and I hope I get a chance to visit north east once in my lifetime. Absolutely loved Kishalay's style of presenting his observations and tales of the common people.

I wanted to know more about my country , the people and how we differ , for the first time. And I am happy I got a chance to read this book as the beginning of my quest for knowing my own nation as a whole or state-wise

Rating : 5/5 
Please do give this book read.

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