Book Review | Kailash Chandra Mishra | The Literature TodayApril 6, 2021
A person’s life is defined by the hard work and all the achievements they have as feathers in their cap. For some, those lives strike as an inspiration, while for others, their courage becomes the fact that they would always look up to. When a reader goes through “Neelima ne Chuaa Aasmaan: Ek Space girl ki Kahani” by Prayagi Kalash, they feel more or less these emotions as they go through the book. In the short yet detailed work of fiction, Kalash explores the life of the title character as to how it changes with time and how she evolves as time and situations change in her life.
The book cover is suggestive of the dreams that could be in the eyes of any child, whether a boy or girl and has a positive message as to how they would work to make their dreams come true by working hard and making a difference in not just their lives but also the lives around them. Neelima and her family are symbolic of any small town or middle-class families who dare to dream big and desire to live life on their terms. Through one character, the author artistically shows the stories of 3 generations and also captures the essence of the changing time, which more or less remains in the background. But the readers do observe even the things that have been unsaid by the author. They read between the lines and conclude that the book is not merely a depiction of the plain journey.
At the same time, the author also explores a variety of themes in “Neelima ne Chuaa Aasmaan.” These themes are the importance of hard work, family, desire, faith in self, ability to evolve with changing circumstances, the unpredictability of life, and the different phases it can show, focused and goal-oriented approach on the part of the one who dreams and many others. Every reader would trace one theme or more here and there in the book. Other than that, the author’s selection of keeping the language Hindi gives the book a touch of Indianness and helps a native reader connect more closely. Simultaneously, the author’s usage of English words time and again shows how the two languages are spoken in a blended form in an ordinary person’s life. Also, the interest of the modern-day Indian student in technology and India’s steps of progress in space show the advancement of not just technology but the widening horizons of the mindsets of people.
Calling “Neelima ne Chuaa Aasmaan” merely a story of a girl reaching the skies or becoming a space girl would not do complete justice to the diverse content the author explores. There is a lot more than the title, and the readers agree more and more as they read through the book. For some readers, the book would be a work of inspiration; some would feel motivated to make a difference in their lives, some would feel the strength of Neelima to not give up in whatever circumstances she faced. Every reader would find something to connect with. Therefore, it would not be wrong to consider the book relevant for both younger and grown-up readers. From the corners of college classrooms to the space journey Neelima would undertake, there is something or the other for all readers.
In between all this, the author also gives a message that the tool to breaking free of anything and making a difference in lives in education. He suggests that those who have this weapon and can use it in the best possible way would be the ones whose names would always be remembered with pride and written in the pages of history. This message is not too obvious or direct, but it does find a place in the few words the author uses in mentioning education, scores, grades, the resultant career opportunities, and the difference it casts in the lives of people.
The readers who are interested in reading Hindi writing would find this book catching their interests instantly. The development of the plot is swift and linear with adherence to chronology. The author does use the flashback technique, but more or less, the story develops and unfolds as the layers of Neelima’s life and opened. This book is recommended to not just the readers who are interested in reading Hindi books but also those who are interested in reading books of shorter lengths or plan to venture into reading the literary writing of this language. The younger readers can read this book to find inspiration in their lives and also dreams to live by. The mature readers can read the book for other serious aspects which they would find the author exploring through his themes and characters.