Scroonathan: A Diwali Story is a wonderfully written book by Ram Daryanani. It is a book rather short in length but very deep in terms of thoughts and ideas. According to the author’s own version, his work is a retelling of the legendary Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens in an Indian context. Dickens linked Christmas with social issues, equality and justice and here the author is trying to spread the message of harmony, justice, social equality and a proper flow of social responsibilities by linking it to the occasion of Diwali or Dipawali. The language of the book is rich and filled with literary qualities. It has perfectly presented the symbolic importance of Indian festivals in a way that will not only attract but also educate the readers.
The story is based in Mumbai where a trader by the name of Scroonathna lives and runs his business. As usual, the name of the protagonist often tells too many stories about his or her character. In this case, Scroonathan is a miser, a self-centred person who loves nothing other than money. His partner Balaji has died seven years ago. He is the classic owner of a firm that treats its labourers with no respect. One line in the book has touched my heart and left me emotional.
Debit: “a child’s doll”, Credit: “3 rupees”
It is shocking that an owner business who earns more than enough to run his life luxuriously has the temerity to mention a child’s doll… in the ledger! Scroonathan is not at all interested in philanthropic works and as well as in the spirit of festivals. He wants money, more money
The story takes an interesting turn when ghosts are introduced. One day his old friend’s ghost, the deceased Balaji’s ghost, came to visit him. He was frightened in the beginning but later he gathered his strength and talked to him. Balaji’s ghost informed him of three spirits Shiva, Vishnu and Kali that will visit him one by one. All three spirits should guide him to the journey of past, present and future. The visits paid by three important deities in the form of spirits play an important role in the story and the readers will find it very interesting. The crux of these encounters lies in the matter of whether Scroonathan will reform himself in the guidance of these Gods of Hinduism or not. What do you think?
Ram’s writing has presented realism, the modern-day harsh reality of working-class people, incessant greed in the capitalists without a moral quotient and also tries to fuse the importance, true significance and spirit of festivals that we celebrate in India in the storyline. keeps a track of festival spirit. Life is all about the spirit of philanthropy, or, at least, the spirit of justice and the people must keep it in order to live life beautifully, satisfied with the deeds we do. The book is a perfect treatise on the major and minor issues related to humanity. Ram Daryanani has wonderfully embedded the symbolism of the Dipawali festival and used it to convey his message to the readers. Yes, a little slow unfolding might make it away from the readers who like reading then and there kind of literature.
Readers who are patient to let the meaningful and wonderful stories unfold in front of them will love the work by Ram and they will also appreciate the beauty of his sentences, on several occasions, the class of his fiction and the depth of his purposeful literature as a whole. Do get a copy and enjoy your day!
Review by Amit for Indian Book Critics
Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by Ram Daryanani – Review
- Indian Book Critics' Rating
Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by Ram Daryanani is a wonderful short story of rather a novella that will not only entertain with its humour but also educate with the embedded message of harmony, equality and justice.