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Review of ‘A Skyful Of Balloons’ Authored by Dr. Santosh Bakaya

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‘A story of hope, love and childhood friends coming together in the end as life partners.’

‘A Skyful of Balloons’ the novella by Santosh Bakaya has all the elements of portraying human emotions and feelings. It begins with the enigmatic portrayal of the hollowness, melancholic atmosphere and the void in the heart of a woman, whose identity remains a mystery here. This becomes the reason to read on further as the description bends you towards something that has happened into her life which gives hint of her lamenting heart. And you want to know further.

In author’s words:

She got up, clutching her throat, the book Agony and the Ecstasy, lying by her side, falling to the ground, her silken hair chaotically confused all around her once pretty face. Her beauty was not between the many lines which now were so much a part of her, prematurely settling on her forty year old face.

Then with chapter two itself the story changes and we get to see two young lovers who are not only immature in their gestures but also sport an adventurous zeal towards life. They are madly in love with each other particularly Vivek the male protagonist, is caring and more inclined towards a girl named Preeti who is the heroine of his life story and the female protagonist of Santosh Bakaya’s novella.

They are studying together in the same college, their houses are right next to each other, both their parents are good friends with each other and the best part is, that next many parts of the novella show their childhood love for each other culminating into a serious relationship and we get to witness myriad such intimate moments of their togetherness when they get married and go to Pahalgam for their honeymoon. The depiction of the scenic beauty and landscapes of the place makes it even more tempting to read and feel how the new lovers would be enjoying their alone time with each other, away from the world.

The author has taken full liberty to step within the shoes of the male protagonist and thinking from the mind of a male lover she has fashioned myriad such moments where Vivek praises his beautiful wife Preeti. The praises and compliments have been luxuriously taken from Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, and sometimes the sonnets of Shakespeare all have worked wonder for the hopelessly and utterly romantic Vivek to keep on praising Preeti, his wife.

Alas! The story suddenly takes an agonizing and an unanticipated turn that makes you feel the despair of Preeti’s silent lips and frozen heart. Yet where faith prevails, good things come unasked. And this is what the author has revealed in the end of the story that will leave a smile on your face after you have finished reading the book. And that part I completely leave on the readers to find out. And also to find out that it’s not Vivek who is the male protagonist of the story after all!

Narration & Writing Style: Dr. Santosh Bakaya has a lucid flow of words in this novella unlike her poems which are profound and poignant at the same time. She hasn’t merged prose poem or her own poems in this book as we tend to see mostly poets do in their work of fiction. This book is purely a literary writing and her knowledge of sound literature is visible from the quotes and phrases that she has mentioned from Shakespeare to Gustave Flaubert and more. The book is most credibly compiled and carefully weaved into chapters one after the other. The narration is well crafted as the detailed describing of the nature, vivid imagery of places in Kashmir like Pahalgam, Dal Lake, and the seasons particularly Harud ‘Autumn’ has been spoken about most blissfully, that makes the book even more captivating.

Chrysanthemum Chronicles' Verdict: ‘A Skyful of Balloons’ is a novella full of romanticism, wit, portrayal of human emotions, and feeling the love of two young lovers makes the book one of the modern love stories, but the climax takes one by surprise when things take unexpected turn and then comes back again to a place where we are able to link the first chapter where the author speaks about the hollowness of a lamenting woman’s heart. It makes all sense in the end and to know how it happens, I would recommend this book to be read by all, particularly the younger generation, the hopelessly romantic ones. The plot has a good flow; with the not so predictable ending and the writing style is intelligent. I would rate this book a 4 star rating on the scale of 5. And here's wishing the author loads of applause and good wishes for the huge success of this book.

Author, Poet & Writer: Dr. Santosh Bakaya

Dr. Santosh Bakaya, recipient of many national and international awards, academic - poet -essayist- novelist - biographer – editor -Ted Speaker – creative-writing mentor, Dr. Santosh Bakaya has been internationally acclaimed for her Poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, [Ballad of Bapu]. Her Ted Talk on The Myth of Writers Block, is very popular in creative writing Circles. 

Some of her books are: 

Where are the Lilacs? [Poetry]

Under the Apple Boughs [Poetry]  Songs of Belligerence [Poetry].

Flights from my Terrace [Essays]

A Skyful of Balloons [Novella]

Bring out the tall Tales [Short stories with Avijit Sarkar]

Only in Darkness can you see the Stars [a Biography of Martin Luther King Jr]

She runs a very popular column Morning Meanderings in Learning and Her International Reuel award winning long, narrative hundred page poem, Oh Hark! is about to hit the market in a new form with illustrations by Avijit Sarkar.

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