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Book Name : The Disrobing of Draupadi and Other Stories

Author Name : Tino de Sa

Published By : Amaryllis

Genre: Fiction
Reviewed by:
Dr. Jailaxmi R Vinayak

We are thrilled to bring to you a book review of Tino de Sa’s book The Disrobing of Draupadi and Other Stories by Dr. Jailaxmi R Vinayak. Read and decide for yourself if you can keep yourself away from picking up this book. The reviewer is fascinated with the insightful depth of man and manners depicted in the book, we are sure you will be too.

The book is remarkable for its felicity of language and quirks of human behaviour

The newly launched book The Disrobing of Draupadi and Other Stories by Tino de Sa presents a brilliant pageant of variegated emotions one experiences while browsing it. A book one dips in, to read at a stretch and is tempted to reread it as it is so close to life. The characters are so life like and real as if we know them intimately. The book is a glaring example of reality blended assiduously with figment of imagination and a dash of incisive observation. The excerpts culled from the books of various authors like, “Life is like an exam where syllabus is unknown and question papers are not set” and many others are beautifully interwoven in the burden of the text which gives a new edge to each of the stories enhancing their far reaching effect. The book of a poet written in an embellished style. A filigree work of words befittingly woven into the texture of the plot with subtleties and nuances par excellent. The delineation of characters is heart rending thus creating a lingering effect.

Be it Daisy's floundering vacillation of sweet temper and prejudiced emotions or poverty stricken Abdul’s discomfiting penury. Be the rediscovering and resolving attempt to pick up the smithereens of the stale married life on part of each partner  in ‘The Simply Iyers’ or the supreme saga of Anjali in ‘One And A Half Love Story’,  Be it Arpita's battle and traumatic surrender to the judgement of the universe or the redemption from retribution of  nightmares in the cathartic awarded story, ‘In Another Country And Besides’ and lastly the sensitive portrayal of perceptive Dilu based on the real life account of Rahul Singh, who died fighting with the extortionists in the train and getting bashed in ‘A Better Death’ all seem real and poignant.

‘In Another Country And Besides’, the prize winning story of Tino De Sa is an evocation of the past. The story has an eerie stillness with a shocking twist. The protagonist, a linguist is a victim of nightmares. His wife hangs herself subsequent to the rape and the husband suffers from the qualms of helplessness that he could not avenge. Years later when his daughter, an ornithologist ferrats out in jungles of Pachmarhi to sight the endangered Donger duda, the forest owlet, history repeats but repeats differently. In ‘The Two Season Man’, a person visits the ancestral house in mofussil town, recalls Abdul nostalgically, who once upon a time sold ice creams in summer and did cotton carding in winters, to the delight of children. The stray memory of a person vanishing in oblivion is rekindled.

In Disrobing Of Draupadi, Davar couple's discovery that their son is homosexual is enough to give them jittery shock and the unconditional love for their son makes them tight lipped for fear of infamy even when they are in turmoil within. ‘The Simply Iyers’ is a familiar story of couples whose marriage wanes off due to monotony and no offspring as a result of hysterectomy of Manju which brings disillusionment to Shekhar who aspired for one and this results in their consequent veering from each other. ‘Field Vision’ expounds the practice of siphoning lakhs of money in the name of fulfilling the needs and to provide amenities to tribals in remote areas but it's just on papers. What happens in reality is sheer sordidness. ‘One And A Half Love Story’ of Alok Mathur reiterates the fact that true love never dies. It leaves an indelible stamp on the mind and its memories linger on. ‘Arpita's Last Secret’ is the woeful life of Arpita, grappling with hurdles since childhood with a scarred past but could she win when good days were on her threshold? ‘A Bitter Death’ points  to the grim fact that not always kindness is meted out with kindness. Sometimes a kind and sensitive heart doesn't reap benefits. The heart wrenching story of ‘Daisy's Gifts’ shows that gifts become valuable not because they are highly priced but because of the feeling of love, kindness and sacrifice behind them. One can only desire for a ‘Perfect World’. As life is never perfect. It is always punctuated with unforeseen happenings. Life gives twists and jerks and it’s never a smooth ride. In the face of misfortunes we invariably stand transfixed and yes a tad sad. The final story by Tino De Sa ‘To The Manner Born’ is historical and interestingly traces the history of queens of Bhopal riyasat.

The book is remarkable for its felicity of language, quirks of human behaviour and insightful depth of man and manners.

The stories imply:

That shadows follow you, (In another country and besides)

Sorrows await us, (Arpitas Last Secret)

Birds migrate home, (The simply Iyers)

Blossoming flowers fade,(Daisy's gifts)

Fire gives way to embers, (One and a half love story)

There is a fullstop for life (perfect world)

Mundane world slumbers to peace. (The two season man).

Bookaholicanonymous thanks Dr. Jailaxmi R Vinayak for this review…please keep writing and contributing!

About the reviewer: Dr. Jailaxmi R Vinayak is a writer, poet and singer. Wedded to Olive Green - Brigadier of Indian Army, she is an Ex member of Delhi Poetree'. Recipient of International Women's Award in 2003, she is an author of books in Hindi and English of short stories, poetry and anecdotes titled ‘Shades of Women’, ‘Songs of Eternity’, ‘A  Penny for your Thoughts’, ‘Jiwan ke kai Rang’ and ‘Coffee & Cookies’ in 2019. She has taught in schools, colleges, Convents, Central Schools and Army Public Schools from nursery to Post graduate classes at various places. Her articles have been published in Fauji India, Sainik Samachar, Developing India Mirror, Femina, Dainik Bhaskar, Indian Express Pune and AWWA magazine. She has written 4000 poetry so far in addition to her books. Her poetry ‘The Beautiful Mind’ was appreciated by none other than the former President of India Late Dr  APJ Abdul Kalam. In his words “I have gone through your book of beautiful poems and I liked particularly the poem ‘The beautiful Mind’”.


A doctorate in English Literature and a Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag, she has been a student of  Late Vasundhara Komkali wife of  Late Pt. Kumar Gandharv, Smt Aparna Dasgupta of Indore, Maharaj Madhav Raje of Khandwa and Sharma sisters, granddaughters of Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya and disciples of Pt Onkarnath.

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