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Book Name : The Trees Told Me So

Author Name : Purva Grover

Published By : Niyogi Books

Purva literally, has her ears rooted to the sounds of the ground

When she isn't writing or editing, Purva Grover listens — she literally, has her ears rooted to the sounds of the ground. A good listener, Grover is connected to life around her, including trees, which tell her the tales. Her debut novel ‘Trees Told Me So’ is a collection of stories that the trees whispered to her.

The silent witness

From ancient times trees have been known as the wise old men — a fact that seems to have inspired the author. The trees around her, she says, stand as witness to what she is writing as she is willing to listen to them. What a fascinating idea, the trees, they are like a silent observer — a keeper of secrets who are full of wisdom. In a way, the author is urging us to listen to the world, nature, trees and animals around us, and that we should regain our connectivity with nature since that is a natural relationship — how it’s meant to be. 

The stories

When you read the stories you are bound to say – yes, I have seen that – like in the story ‘Scent of the Familiar’ where Grover describes in detail the scent of henna and mehndiwallas sitting under trees waiting for customers. The story ‘A Summer Ritual’ transports you instantly to your grandparents' home during vacations where you were free to do as you please under a mango tree, or, again this story, ‘Over a Cup of Chai’, where she brings alive her memories of college life. I couldn't hold back my tears when I read the story ‘On the Bed of Wood’, where Grover describes the funeral of a young mom, and the lessons on life the dead woman passed on to her young son from her pyre. One thing that struck me in the story was this mom telling her son: ‘If you, too, feel like crying, cry. And if someone comes and tells you that ‘boys don’t cry’, ignore them’– what a lovely message to impart! These are just a few stories that stayed with me long after I finished reading the book. I am sure everyone will have their own favourite story from the collection.

Special mention

Here, I would like to specially mention the story ‘Between Us, Daughter and Mother’, it’s chilling tale, I had goosebumps while reading it. It is so so telling of the state of our nation after the horrific Kathua rape and murder case. This story has been written from the point of view of a little girl. While telling the tale, the author also urges all women — mothers, aunts, sisters, friends — not to keep shut, or even shy away when young girls want to know about their bodies. Academics alone is not enough. They should be taught why and how their bodies can be violated. One other thing that I liked in the book is that the author has penned her stories with an honest voice. We need more such voices.

About the writer

Purva Grover is a journalist, poetess, playwright, and stage director. Her eye for detail as a journalist can be seen in her stories, and she is able to mix real-time-happenings with fiction like in the story ‘The Darkness of Red’ a roadside paan vendor is witness to ‘a motor running over the people sleeping on the street’. In the same story there is a mention of a flyover collapsing and killing people. Even though she is based in Dubai, Grover has kept the Indian flag flying high. She is the founder editor of ‘The Indian Trumpet’, a quarterly digital magazine for Indian expats, and works as the assistant editor with a UAE national daily, Khaleej Times. She helms the affairs at Young Times, a magazine for young adults, as the Editor. More power to her.

My take

The author has a great collection of stories going; she has taken experiences of everyday life and woven fiction around it with trees as witness. A great combination. I finished it in one go…get hold of it and I am sure, you will too!

Candid Moments