Book Review : Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

First of all a huge thanks to the author and the team for allowing me to experience a beautiful and unique piece of work. Under the shade of the Banyan tree was a mixed bag for me. You can’t exactly call it a work of poetry or a collection of Short stories because it is both. This fact actually surprised me, Intrigued me and at the same time kind of irritated me. So I am going to deal with the review in two halves as to what worked and what didn’t in the book for me. Let’s begin with the negative aspects as I really want to end the review on a positive note, as overall the book is a surprise bag and nice too.

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree – Official Synopsis

Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Poems are fragments of life. In Simi K. Rao’s unique poetry collection for women, there are blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. The poems and prose pieces compiling the collection are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree – RWAT take

Under the shade of the banyan tree, as I said, is a mixed bag. It is like what Tom Hank’s mother said to him in the Forrest Gump. Its a box of chocolate, where you never know what you will end up with. I kept bombarded with a poem then abruptly a short incident, and then out of nowhere a short story and almost half of what could have been a full-fledged novel in its own, hitting you when you least expected it. So perhaps I have given you somewhat an idea of what happened to me, while reading the book. So this up and down, left and right, kind of jostled me a bit to be able to keep track and understand how to take this book on.

What I wished was, for the book, was to have some kind of tangible or subtle pattern. If the book had it already, then it clearly missed its mark. In reality, you could see this book as somebody’s travel notes. A literary and beautiful collection of words and emotions on everything the poetess/authoress saw in her journey, which in this case could very well be a journey of life. So like anybody’s personal diary, it is spread all over yet has the finest and sharpest picture to what is being said and shown.

Ok now that I have ruined everybody’s mood, let’s perk up a bit. So while reading the book, I may have looked like somebody caught in a hurricane, Hair standing and pointing in all four directions, clothes strewn and screaming for rescue, the book is a gem in an individual capacity.

I would recommend this book for the sheer weave of words by the authoress/poetess. Out of her collection, Loneliness, Tyrant, woman, Red are some of the poems that were a lightning bolt for me. It zapped me and left me trembling because of its intensity. This intensity is two-fold. One for the theme and second for the words and how they were so powerfully put together. There was a couple of line like
“We must repent for the sins of our master” that was simply outstanding when you match it with the context in which it was said. The poem Loneliness scared me for being how true and apt it was. It was like a mirror for me (shudder )


In conclusion, I would say that I have no idea how to conclude on how exactly the book was. On one end, I tried making sense of the pattern of the book, so that it could ease me in. So everything was coming at me like an express train and with powerful blows. Some of the poems, especially the tyrant, could not have been apter for our current times

So many beautiful lines and words, that no doubt the authoress/poetess is a connoisseur with her words but at the same time, it definitely made me feel that something was lacking. Like eating french fries without sauce. Though you might love and enjoy french fries individually, with the sauce it would have been something else. So that is kind of how I am feeling about the book….. confused? well me too

But don’t miss the book at all… Some of the poems are worth engraving and there was a story towards the end that I had wished would have been a full-fledged novel.

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