On Saturday last, 18.8.18, a date he chose specifically because of the numerical configuration, Rishi Jheengun launched his second book at his residence at Canton Nancy, Pamplemousses. As was the case for the launching of his first book, ‘Untangling the Knot: Tribulations and Legacy of a Coolie’, this time too it was a simple ceremony among several family members and friends held on that pleasant afternoon.
The MC was Satyanand Aujeet, childhood friend of Rishi who also hails from Canton Nancy, who performed that brotherly duty as he had done in 2014 too for the launching of the first book. ‘Untangling the Knot’ was about his travail down memory lane to discover and link up with his great-grandfather’s family in his ancestral village of Chandapur in Uttar Pradesh, India. ‘Beyond 55’ is another kind of exploration of memories, an introspective look at the multitude of experiences and the challenges that he has met so far as his life cycle unfolded through adolescence, adulthood, partnering and marrying, raising a family, the loss of loved ones and so on.
Such issues, situations and events are in fact common to all of us as we go from birth to death, and in one way or another they prompt us to search for an understanding of what is it all about at a certain stage of our life – the ‘turning point’ as Rishi calls it, which he felt as he was crossing 55 years of age, hence the title. The result is this book which should resonate with all of us because it is about our life too. But one does not have to wait until 55 to pick up this book: in fact it should be read by every young adult about to embark on the journey of life. S/he will learn many a valuable lesson which will act as a sure guide about how to surf on the often choppy waves that form the journey.
Mr Aujeet hailed the author for his courage in venturing to publish a traditional book – on paper – at a time when the reading habit was rapidly eroding as the electronic medium was taking over, but was confident that as was the case for the first book, by the by people would discover its value and get their copy.
In his address the author thanked his family members who had supported him and all the friends present. He explained how he had written his first book with the idea that he would use contributions from its sale to initiate some social projects in the village of Chandapur. In fact that had materialized, in the form of a mobile library covering about ten villages, and direct assistance in studies to one of the relatives there. He felt confident that he would be able to continue with this good work with the proceeds of the second book.
The book is elegantly produced, with the cover design – a mix of ivory and fuchsia shades – by the author’s daughters Ridhi, Richa and Sheila. It will shortly be available in the main libraries.
* Published in print edition on 24 August 2018