I started following Amit’s website (previously known as Mashed Musings) immediately after he started writing journals about his experiences with his newborn daughter. His writing filled with his brilliant sense of humor is so addictive that I couldn’t afford to miss a single post. And when I got to know that his first book was getting published, I could not wait to get my greedy little hands on it. Finally, I got my signed copy.
The story, a family saga, spans between the pre-independence era in the 1920s to the futuristic tech-revolutionized era in the 2060s connecting numerous inter-linked incidents and characters. The main protagonist, Shakuntala, has seen it all from the freedom struggle, to the partition, to the world wars, to the 1984 riots. The fragility and vulnerability of human hearts and minds is brought out very well by Amit. The inheritance of mindless fears, insecurities and jealousies among generations has been showcased powerfully. What I loved most is the fact that Amit has made enough and more efforts to stress over the fact that almost every vice or crime that (was)is prevailing is nothing but the repercussion of an utterly silly act or issue.
I immensely enjoyed the portrayal of every single character from the various eras. Especially Aaryan, the central character and the female characters; from Radha Devi, to Shakunthala, to Meena, to Lipi. The father-daughter relationship in one of the remotest corners in the pre-independent India happens to be my favourite chapters for obvious reasons.
His description of Delhi in the pre-independence era to the post-independence era is something that is worth a mention. It is not everyday that you read of how contrasting the two Delhis are. Even the simple and steady lives in the hills of Dalhousie are beautifully described and the characters from the various eras connected to it in some way or the other. A lot of history goes into this writing and I admire the efforts of the author in weaving them seamlessly within the plot.
The book also highlights the fact the education can only serve a willful mind. Our surroundings affect the way we think, feel and act. And as parents, we must be careful about what our children inherit from us because that goes a long way in shaping their future. The central character Aaryan that the book begins with, kept me hooked on with his craze for ‘If-Then-Else’ statements that had been the base of my own educational background. Life is indeed a nested loop of If-Then-Else. And this book proves the point.
The mystery of the secret passed on between generations through the false ceiling of the wooden almirah is well-kept till the very last chapter of the book. This book was a very interesting and intriguing one highlighting the issues that surrounds our families, our societies and our culture plaguing our minds. A must read is a very small phrase. I would say False Ceilings has a secret not to be missed.
“Why does it always have to be something physical? Why does someone have to strike you or burn you for people to sympathize with you? Is it because the truth is stark only with a proof? There has to be a mark on the body, a bruise, for someone to sympathize? Otherwise it’s just manipulated and exaggerated sentences?”
~ An extract from the book
For the reader’s sake, the book does not progress straightforwardly. It takes you into the flashback and then into the future only to return to the flashback. Twisting and turning, it’s a loop in itself. There are parallel stories and then there are interconnected characters. None of them seem to connect in the beginning. The reader only gets to connect the dots towards the later half of the book. And this I would say is the strength of the author. It is not everyday that you read a book that keeps you glued without the slightest hint of how the characters are finally going to fit into the puzzle, finally completing it.
The language is simple and engaging. Though the beginning of the book might suggest that the book will be more comfortable for those well versed with the If-Then-Else statements, it was nothing of the sort. A truly delightful read.
The only shortcomings to the book I would say is a cover that not at all does justice to the brilliant story line and a few spelling and grammatical errors here and there.
You can follow the author on his website: http://amit-sharma.co.in
This is not a sponsored post. Neither is it an editorial review. These are personal views from a reader’s point of view.