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There is Gunpowder in the air

As I started 2020, one of the things I told myself is that I would explore more genres, writing styles and author. One of those encounters brought me to Manoranjan Byapari’ s Gunpowder in the air. For those who do not know him, he is famous Bengali writer. Who picks his story from his own experiences. Be it something he went through or something he heard, Manoranjan has an exquisite talent in penning the down in grave detail.

This book is set inside a jail and centers around a jailbreak by the Naxals. How this one act changes the life’s of those attempted, helped and witnessed. However, carefully and quite creatively a lot of other parallel stories are also being narrated alongside. The omnipresent narration style, makes a reader feel that the events are taking place right before his eyes.
The book does not show jail as a hellhole at the same time it doesn’t put a veil across the darkness it carries. It simply shows what it is for. How daily life of someone associate to a prison goes by. From a prisoner being prisoned for a murder to a guard stealing of milk supplies, everything is just as it is. Manoranjan’s attention to details kept the excitement till the very last page. It’s like watching a movie, but by reading!

Our favourite pick from the book: A random conversation between the jailers.

We realise that when a person speaks, when he presents an argument or an analysis, it isn’t just the person alone who is speaking, but also his earlier history, class, family, blood-group, economic and social status, education and experience. What you just said is not just your personal viewpoint, you represent an entire class. We don’t share this view. That leaves the power of the state. We all know that the state wields unlimited power. But whom does this power depend on? The police, military – who are they?

There is gunpowder in the air; not all who sin are evil.


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