[Book Review] Sanjay Ghose's How Gourango lost his O
The judicial system in our country carries within its gamut a variety of citizens simultaneously at work at any given point of time. While our unintentional focus primarily revolves around the Bar and the Bench, clients, clerks, staff of judges, colleagues, their families and other vital parts of the system seldom get the recognition and attention they deserve.
The journey of Gourango losing his O is about the journey of all these characters collectively playing their respective roles in the administration of justice.
The author, Sanjoy Ghose, a distinguished senior member of the Bar, has beautifully gathered the central and non-central characters in the process of justice administration and narrated a story of a litigant who fought a case at different levels. The book also has other characters who may have touched the life of the author. After all, it is a non-story!
The author throws upon reader a set of challenges throughout the book. For example, he writes in the caveat that we all are Gourangos in a sense, as we wear masks. But the real challenge for the reader is to look back at her journey and re-think the characters which she came across, as well as herself. Similarly, the book poses a bunch of questions and exclamation marks throughout which make the reader ponder and relate to herself.
Of course, a reader from the business of practicing law will guess certain characters from the book, but for others, it is a thrilling adventure. This is a unique style in which the entire book is written – to suggest but not to state. The author never sets the year for any character; it is left to the imagination of the reader to guess which character is coming from which era. He has dropped hints though, more on the technological side, through the use of gadgets such as television, mobile phones etc. A lot of terms and expressions used in the book are common and relatable to those in the business of practicing law. For the blessed others, the author has beautifully taken breaks in between his narration of Gourango’s journey and explained what the terms imply (or not).
The creative team of the publisher Eastern Book Company has done a terrific job. The cover (back and front), its colour and pattern, the font, the font size, the sketches of the characters etc collectively attract the reader instantly. The book is fairly priced and is available in hard cover. Light weight with good paper quality, the book is flawless in terms of presentation.
There are only few books which are to be chewed and digested. The story of Gourango losing his O goes beyond that. I don’t think that one's reading hunger could be satisfied by chewing and digesting it just once. The reader is bound to re-visit the book again and again and every trip to and from the bookshelf is going to be another thought-provoking journey. The book urges you to re-read it multiple times by changing the lead character every time. This forces the reader to think - is there a lead character at all or are all of them lead characters?
The name Gourango has two Os. The book suggests that he lost the second O and transformed into Gourang by undertaking his journey from Calcutta to Delhi. Every year, there is a huge exodus of law graduates from different parts of the country to Delhi in search of better opportunities. The author here throws another challenge to the reader, did she also lose her O, or A, or I? Or is she in process of losing the same while reading it? Or worse, is she gaining an O? Interestingly, characters apart from Gourango, such as Roopa and Noor also carry two Os. While the author made Gourango lose his O, one must read the book to ascertain if through their journeys, Noor and Roopa could retain theirs.
Namit Saxena is an Advocate-on-Record practicing at the Supreme Court of India.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bar & Bench.