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When you pick up Rikwik Mukherjee’s book, published by Partridge India, called Café Commoners – Dairy of a father for his daughter, you are at once intrigued. The name suggests, the typical Bangla ‘adda’, which is the most favourite pastime for any Bengali, across nations, and naturally you are anxious to read the content, your curiosity at its height. For an ‘adda’ or what might be best termed as Café Commoners, is the most intellectual hub, where talks of news, politics, business, world affairs, art, literature and even love are the most appetizing concoction of discussions that take place.
However, Mukherjee’s book is more than that.
Inspired by Pandit Nehru’s book, Letters from a father to a daughter, written from Naini Jail in Allahabad, to Indira Gandhi, then only 10 years old, the collection in Mukherjee’s book, cover a wide range of things which are more to do with human character, daily affairs, things he has seen around him, told in an easy, humourous manner is short 300 – 400 word count little stories. In the foreword, he mentions -
“My diary features some such hilarious and not-so-hilarious priceless incidents and characters, recollected in tranquility.”
There are approximately 81 really lovely, tiny tales which will leave the reader enchanted. These stories may be read by anyone who enjoys the little ‘adda’ away from the real one in the quietness of their home, or on a travel. And the big plus is some fabulous illustrations by Ajitesh Kar (Sentu)
What struck me most about both books, Ritwik Mukherjee’s and Pandit Nehru’s is the longing to connect with their daughters. While one was in jail when he wrote those letters, Ritwik Mukherjee is a very successful financial journalist with an illustrious career with some of the top line newspapers and online portals. Hence, it might be deduced that like Nehru, he might have very little time with his daughter, which prompted him to write this book, so that she could connect with her father through the written word, which really is his forte. And view the world though his lens as she grows up. Such a noble idea!
What touched me most about the book is the human element there – while the stories are anecdotes and insightful, the ‘being present’ with the loved one, in this case, the daughter, was indeed the emotional aspect that made the book so meaningful to me.
Just 163 pages in all, Café Commoners, is available in Amazon.com in Paperback and eBook format.
Conversation with Ritwik Mukherjee
- Was writing Café Commoners
a break from the normal daily journalistic articles you write about on business
Ritwik: Yes. It is, It is completely different.
- How long did you take to
write this collection?Ritwik: I have been writing these on and off. Normally whenever I come across an interesting character,/interesting event/anecdote that has some lesson to offer....either I write them immediately or after some time, recollecting them in tranquility.
- Why did you choose to
self-publish when you are already an accomplished journalist?Ritwik: The opportunity to get it published by Patridge India just came my way.