From a distance, Parbatpuri is a heavenly state with its scenic beauty. But when you approach near it, you realize it’s one of the states where riots are taking place.Just like all over India. And then you meet The Collector’s Wife, in center of all this agitation and national movement.
The Collector’s Wife by Mitra Phukan is a story about Rukmini, who is living in Parbatpuri, a small town in Assam. Her husband, Siddhartha is the DC of Parbatpuri region. They live in a comfortable household along with a few servants and other facilities provided by the Government of India. Life is comfortable and far away from the troubles of Partbatpuri, which are being caused due to Student’s Agitation over immigrants coming in from various border areas of Assam. A militant group MOFEH has his claws dug deep into the system and is creating a menace.
From a regular view, Rukmini’s life is comfortable and secure, away from all troubles. But when you peek into it, you realize she is a person who has shut herself up with all her troubles, a childless woman, Siddhartha’s silence and her students joining arms with MOFEH. And then, a stranger from nowhere, Manoj Mahanta, for whom Rukmini is falling comes to live in Parbatpuri on a company’s sales assignment. With Manoj, Rukmini starts coming out of her shell and starts living like a normal woman. But then, a day comes when Rukmini’s comfort bubble is broken and she faces a dark reality. A day when Rukmini transforms completely into The Collector’s Wife.
I have personally loved Zubaan Publications translated books. They take you to a different world altogether, a world which only a few people know about. The storyline is straight and easy, but I would have really loved if the author would have shared some extra information regarding the student agitation movement. I felt that Rukmini’s story overshadowed the background story of Assam’s Student Agitation. Though I really loved the part where implications of Assam Student’s agitation has been shown on Rukmini’s life, depicting how a normal person, no matter how much he/she ignores, can anytime end up being a part of something bigger happening around them.
The story also shows a tremendous transformation in the characters. Rukmini, who is comfortable in her part-time job as a teacher, after meeting Manoj, now wants to pursue her old dreams of becoming a content writer. Siddhartha, who is aware that love and passion has evaporated between him and Rukmini, finds the same passion in his job and some other woman.
Overall, The Collector’s Wife turned out to be a good read and is something that that anyone can pick up and read. It keeps you engaged and you would like to stick to the end to know what happens next. As mentioned above, I would have really loved some additional information about Assam’s Student Agitation in the book, but what I read was not half as bad.