Title: The Casket and Besky
Author: Nita Bajoria
Publisher: One Point Six Technologies Pvt Ltd
Genre: Literary Fiction, Novella
First Publication: 2022
Book Summary: The Casket and Besky by Nita Bajoria
The Casket and Besky is a set of two novellas about women striving for their career. The Casket, set in two eras, is a story of an archer and an author who find each other through a hidden casket, and their meeting brings forth a lost past and a blooming future.
On the other hand, Besky, told from the perspective of a young boy, is a story of a tea plucker girl from Darjeeling for whom uplifting her society becomes the prime goal and love takes a back-seat.
Book Review: The Casket and Besky by Nita Bajoria
The novella form allows for a condensed, sharp focus on one theme that comes to a point in the way a short story does, but with more room to dive deep and explore around than a short story allows, while the length makes it easier to sustain our interest than a 400-page novel might. The strength and perspective that the author Nita Bajoria brings to her writing, however, is what elevates the combination of these two novellas into a work of art. The Casket and Besky are two novellas that place a major focus on women’s empowerment in a big way. It is a beautifully written, deep, heart-wrenching, believable and uplifting drama about two girls surviving and leading their lives.
The Casket is the story of Samyukta, a young girl who preferred archery over academics, and Ahana, a young and enthusiastic writer. Ahana discovers a concealed casket under a tree and tries to return it to its rightful owner. Her natural curiosity is what led us to Samyukta’s tale. Ahana discovers the secrets hidden behind the casket, and she promptly begins writing about it, hoping that others will learn about Samyukta via the story that she writes. Samyukta pursued her interest with the guidance and encouragement from her father, who was always there to cheer her on. Samyukta’s mother wasn’t initially as supportive of her passion for archery as her father was, but through time, Samyukta managed to win over her mother. This narrative was masterful in its portrayal of a wide range of complex and nuanced emotions.
The second novella, “Besky” tells the tale of a tea plucker girl named Besky who comes from a poor family in Darjeeling. Besky is adamant about working for the betterment of her people and society, and the novella focuses on her journey to achieve these goals. Eventually, she met Karan, a handsome young man who came from a wealthy family. Karan fell in love with Besky the minute he saw her and desired to marry her with all of his heart. But Besky, who had more significant aims and desires to pursue, sacrificed her love for the sake of her ambitions and began working toward achieving her objectives.
It is hard to share too much of their story, of what happened to Samyukta and Besky to make them who they have been or will become, because that is the story. Both, Samyukta and Besky, are amazing, complex, and real-feeling characters, with a unique voice of broken bravado. And like the ocean, they are possessed of depths where silent storms continually rage beneath the surface. The Casket and Besky is a compelling and satisfying read that will draw you into its world fast and make you want to stay there for a long time.
Nita Bajoria is an expert at examining the desires of women in life. She builds on this theme with a narrative that somehow enacts the limits of self-perception. This is an astounding piece of writing that presents female characters living a disciplined and carefully controlled life off the grid, who, in spite of their best efforts, are unable to avoid the unscripted aspects of life. The author’s insight and compassion are what make this book such a fascinating read.