Blue Sky, White Cloud – Nirmal Ghosh: Book Review by Asha Seth

Author: Nirmal Ghosh | Genre: Indian Literature, Animal Literature | Pages: 212 | Publisher: Aleph Book Company

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A defenceless male elephant calf, born on the grasslands of the great Brahmaputra River, grows into a formidable tusker, journeying through the verdant green hills of northeastern India and Burma. With him, we walk through the vastness of the Indo-Malayan rainforests as he attempts to understand the humans who have irretrievably changed the jungles he roams.

Hira Singh, a forest guard in the Nadhia Wildlife Sanctuary, crosses paths with a female leopard who is facing shrinking forests in the hills that are her home. Their lives closely mirror each other’s, following similar patterns of love and loss, as fate resolves to bring the two together, perhaps for the last time.

Nadia, a wildlife biologist researching geese, travels to Mongolia, where she tags two geese: Blue Sky and White Cloud. As the birds fly southwards over the Himalayas, she meets Vivek, India’s Minister of State for Environment. Their instantaneous friendship soon takes Vivek to a lush valley at the base of the soaring Himalayas, where he must make a decision that will impact the lives of all around him.

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It’s been a while I read a book in a sitting. Clearly, my favorite book of the year, so far. This book so wasn’t what I expected and I am glad for it. Now it shines proudly on the top shelf and each time my eyes rest on it, I pick it up and read a few verses randomly. Oh, the magic of beautifully written prose!

What vivid descriptions, what beautiful evocative imageries, what lush story-telling, what a brilliant show of compassion for wildlife and nature, what a heart-wrenching view of the plight of animals due to growing urbanization, what an introduction to the lesser-known kinder side of nature’s most ferocious, and what a remarkable depiction of the rare amiable bonds between humans and animals!

The writing, the central characters, the settings, the narratives from animal POVs, everything in these novellas is a sheer delight which proves the prodigy the author is. At every level, this book is a perfectly charming read that much urges our primitive minds to look beyond the ferociousness the wild are known for, to remold ourselves and shed some of the self-centered insensitivity we show toward animals and nature, to be more human and patient for only then this world can be a better place for all.

Despite all the words, I cannot nudge you enough. Do grab this book right away and then tell me if it doesn’t make you want to drop everything and pack your bags for a walk in the woods, and make some friends of the wild.

P.S.: I received a review copy from the publisher but the review remains unbiased.

Have you read ‘Blue Sky, White Cloud’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem!