Thursday, 27 August 2015

Review: The Withering Banyan

The Withering Banyan 
-By Hyma Goparaju


The story is divided into two parts, one dealing with the present and other dealing with the past.

The Withering Banyan is the story of Marri Family in which many of the members are suffering with a genetically transferred brain disorder, Schizophrenia, in which people interpret reality abnormally, hallucinate and stay isolated. One of the members of this family got affected by it and the rest of the four generations inherit it from him. Till the four older generations, people preferred naming it madness and ignored consulting Psychiatric treatment. The book dealt with the consequences of this ignorance and the sufferings the patients had to undergo while they were in their dark phase along with its effect on their family and business. 

But till this disorder reaches its fourth and fifth generation, Natya grand-daughter of Marri family whose mother also died suffering from this disorder direct all her efforts towards awaking her extended family about the causes of abnormal behaviors of many of the present generation members. Together with this, it also deals with other problems that are associated with Indian families and society. 

Will Natya be able to solve their problems and remove that ‘mad’ tag from her family? 

What lessons Marri-family-drama has in store for you? 

What is the relation of this family with the banyan tree? 

Read this enthralling story to find out all the answers. 

My Opinions:


The experience Hyma have of life and English language is clearly visible in her book since a wonderful vocabulary is been used by her in the entire book. The narration is kept simple. A good use of literature is done in most of the aspects of the book. Proper justification is given to all the five generations and each and every character discussing all the aspects right from all the necessary births to deaths. Also, the time period of each and every generation is precisely planned and mentioned which include pre-independence, post-independence and present day descriptive. 

The book cover and title perfectly match with the theme and content present in the book. First chapter is outstandingly penned and is enough for arousing readers’ curiosity in the book. Also, the last chapter has left a nice impact with a perfect ending. Another wonderful part of the book was the small poems describing characters’ state of mind in the ending chapters. 

Some of the best parts of the story include: 

My tears know no sorrow, 

They don’t like to spill 

From the contours of the 

Lumbering eyelids that bear the burden 

Of the pitiable mind 

That cries on its own, 

For my tears are dried 

Like the parched well 

That quenches no more, 

And that is why I never cried. 


Human minds are also the same, uncle. Chained minds refuse to explore or grow and continue to delve in the darkness of the suffocating spaces. Very few have the courage to split apart the chains and step out. 


With this book, she has perfectly penned the problems associated with Indian families, eve teasing and the slow-paced judicial system of India. 


A small story has been stretched too much which will ultimately make it a bit tiring read after half book completion. Besides that, I felt that some more amount of description for Schizophrenia and its symptoms, aftereffects of the disorder should have been added to clear all the doubts of readers on this disorder. Some unnecessary incidents are described too much which could have been cut short to decrease the length of the book. Also, only five kids of Badri were given importance in the book when it was previously mentioned that he had eight kids. The number could have been decreased for this matter. 

My take on the book: 

I think this is a wonderful initiative taken by Hyma to discuss a brain disorder about which the people of our country are still unaware of. It is easy to call someone “mad”, “lunatic”, or “insane” after noticing him/her for a while but we never think about what they go through in that state. Also, if someone is seeking Psychiatric help on such issues, he/she is tagged with the title ‘insane’ by the society which is again a result of lack of awareness and understanding about such delicate issues. 

After reading about a number of psychological-disorder-stories including Bipolar disorder, OCD and now Schizophrenia, what I have concluded is that we people will certainly go to a doctor if suffering from cold, cough, fever, jaundice, TB or any such diseases but seeking medical help for mental ailments is still not common that that will bring you under the tag of ‘madness’ in the eyes of the society. 

Taking help of a story to weave understanding about such an issue is an exceptional task performed by the author and my heartiest wishes are with her for bringing light to it. 

A perfect amalgam of societal beliefs, family drama and a strong will to bring changes, grab your copy of The Withering banyan to dive into this mind changing journey. 

Final Rating: 

Book Cover and Title: 3.75/5 

Plot, language and Literature: 3.5/5 

Character Justification: 3.75/5 

Final Rating: 3.5/5 

No comments:

Post a Comment