"There is a story behind every story and there remains a story even after it ends"- Sunil Gangopadhyay.
We always seek to find the meaning of life. We look around for some reflections, some thoughtful endings, or a dramatic climax.
Our lives are nothing but some interrelated events – a grain of tear, some moments of joy and an eternal search for an ending.
Renowned singer Zunayed Evan's debut novel 'Shesh' is an effort to dive deep inside the cave of life and extract its meaning.
On a rainy night in a suburban railway platform, Hasan met Neetu for the first time. And they got to know each other through P B Shelley's poems.
It could have been a regular meeting but as the writer went, "There comes a moment in our life when we know that something has come to stay for long."
Their first meeting was one such occasion that came to shape their lives.
Evan's novel has two protagonists. Shihab, a struggling writer who tries to write a novel but cannot make up a story and Hasan, Shihab's roommate, who suffers through contemplating his past deeds.
Shihab starts persuading Hasan to commit suicide for the sake of his story and one day Hasan decides to end his life.
Before committing suicide, he decides to write a long note. After finishing it, he goes out to buy a rope. But in the evening, he returns home with an aquarium.
He decides to not commit suicide. Instead, he starts telling Shihab about his past –a story that revolves around many beings and multiple situations.
The story then tells of a time when Hasan goes back to Neetu and they sit together for hours in silence.
Hasan borrows Shelley's book from her and returns home in a numb state.
In that book, he finds a letter to Rudra, someone from Neetu's past and a new character enters the story.
Throughout Hasan's narration, Shihab tries to solve a puzzle, a puzzle of their lives.
Shihab wonders, "Hasan had been married to Neetu and two years ago she had left. Where had she gone and who is this Rudra suddenly emerging from a hidden letter inside a book?"
Sometimes we meet a stranger who ends up being our closest companion. The night Neetu escapes her home to flee to Cox's Bazar, she hardly knew that the person sitting next to her at the Kamalapur Railway Station would be one such companion in her life.
Had she known, would she have asked for a lighter from him? That person was Rudra and they had walked the whole night together on the vacant Dhaka streets. And they fell in love immediately.
The couple shared a different kind of happiness, but also the same kind of grief. And one fine summer morning, they got married.
What happens afterward? How did Neetu end up marrying and then divorcing Hasan?
Zunayed Evan's 'Shesh' is a mixture of such 'what nexts?' Curiosities that keep a reader glued to the text.
The writer included a number of characters and a complex web of interconnected stories.
The author has a unique non-linear storytelling narrative. The story runs from one direction to another, keeping the reader engaged.
Evan has captured the nuances of a modern city-based life with both his sublime imagination and rich vocabulary.
From Shelley's verses to Leonard Cohen's lyrics, this 112-page novella will introduce you to the writer's sound efforts in creating a unique story.
His characters search for their lives through lines from Tagore and Kahlil Gibran. They all live their different lives but loneliness and remorse keeps chasing them.
'Shesh' is a good read, especially for a thoughtful reader. The author introduces us to the anxieties we often feel in our lives.
There is no cinematic hero or heroine, nor any dramatic turn of events. The characters are as ordinary as real-life normal beings.
By the time you finish it, this book might make you stand in front of a mirror. The mirror would not show you a 'snow white' reality. Instead, you may catch a glimpse of the crisis of our metropolitan lives.
The author is an official contributor at The Business Standard