By Lakshminandan Bora
The novel follows the life of Mukunda Khound, who grows up from a sensitive child unable to bear the pressures of his school and family, to a powerful man, grown rich from his dealings with the underworld, to, in the end, a humble, selfless, social worker. It explores not only how the human spirit can be so severely shaped by socio-political conditions, but also how, despite everything, the possibility of self-redemption is persistent. The author writes about a previously unexplored territory—the role of the underworld, of smuggling, violence and drugs. Further, in the words of academic Nagen Saikia, “though Bora’s pen has migrated from rural life to city life, it continues to be effective in drawing the rusticity of village life… [which] has brought uncommon taste and flavour for the Assamese readers.”
About the Author
Lakshminandan Bora (1932—) is a scientist, novelist and short story writer in Assamese literature. In his career, he has served as President of the Assam Sahitya Sabha (1996-7), founded and edited the Assamese weekly Rangpur, and authored 77 books in total which include novels, anthologies of short stories, travelogues, autobiographies etc. His works are known for their empathetic, comprehensive and thoroughly humanistic depictions of life in villages in rural Assam, having grown up in one. For his contributions, he has received the Saraswati Samman(2009), and the Padma Shri (2015).
Bora’s most famous novel, it was awarded the Saraswati Samman in 2009, and has been translated into 11 languages, including English as Kayakalpa: The Elixir of Everlasting Youth by Biman Arandhara (2010). It depicts the journey of a scientist who returns to India, and his experiences in trying to rediscover himself, and the secret to rejuvenation.