Review : The Other side of the table by Madhumita Mukherjee

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Title: The Other Side Of The Table
Author: Madhumita Mukherjee
Pages:  240  paperback
Publisher: Fingerprint
Genre: Fiction / epistolary
Release: January 18th 2013
(Source : review copy via Fingerprint)

Circa 1990.
A world drawn and woven with words.
A bond punctuated by absence and distance...
Two continents. Two cities. Two people.
And letters. Hundreds of them.
Over years. Across oceans. Between hearts.
Between Abhi, who is training to be a neurosurgeon in London, and Uma, who is just stepping into the world of medicine in Kolkata.
As they ink their emotions onto paper, their lives get chronicled in this subtly nuanced conversation through letters ... letters about dreams, desires, heartbreaks, and longings... about a proverbial good life falling apart, about a failed marriage, a visceral loss, and about a dream that threatens social expectations...
Letters that talk. And don't. Letters about this and that. Letters about everything...
Letters with a story you would never expect.

"To be a doctor, then, means, much more than to dispense pills r tpo patch up or repair torn flesh and shatter minds. To be a doctor is to be an intermediary between man and GOD." ~ Page 13. Abhi. 
Doctor is one of the word that holds the power to scare me, well not particularly Doctors but the Hospital environment, it always makes me dizzy, all the emotions rolling around makes me nostalgic, It makes me wonder how Doctors control themselves but the answer is simple, their only motive is to save lives.. That's why I have a huge respect for Doctors for working so brilliantly. 
I don't remember when was the last time I wrote a letter, well I write it every year when I send rakhi to all my cousins but I don't wait up for their reply, I talk to then so I don't have any memory of writing an actual letter, probably when I was little and my Mum made me write one to my family members or something.
So when I read the summary of this book I was part intrigued by the two and fro letter conversation and part worried that will it be able to Invoke emotions?? Will there be proper story?? A whole book Filled with letter!!
But then as the Summary of the books speaks, these are not mere letters, these are the letters that talk, that narrates a story more radiantly then you can imagine. Letters are not like emails where you just write something or ask something and there is an instant reply. A letter takes one's patience, builds up the excitement to receive the reply, it is more substantial, more real, even though it may take around 20 days to reach the other person especially when they are living overseas. A letter keeps you going, it is something to treasure. This is what I felt when I think back of the story.

Uma is now a beautiful young lady stepping into medical collede in Kolkata. Uma, A girl with braces and pigtails, that's how Abhi, her next door neighbor, now a neurosurgeon in London remembers her.
The first letter is written in 1990, from Abhi to Uma, and in opening lines I am introduced to Brain, in rather a beautiful manner. As time went by, there letters become more deeper and rooted, they are filled with every significant detail, their dilemmas, their happy or sad moments of life, in a way these letters are part of their lives. Uma and Abhi are two people who can always count on each other, through a leaf of paper Abhi is with her through her first heartbreak, her wedding, her ups and down in career. And Uma is with Abhi all throughout his difficult or successful times

"Diagnosis: I am in Love with him.Prescriprtion: More time with him and big dollops of love. If still not better, more love. ~ page 63, Uma.

They pour their hearts in those letters. I like the way they address a situation in medical terms, I could pick any latter any line and will know it's written by a doctor. It's a commendable job done by The debut author, she kept the essence of the story intact and their characters are always in sync. Those letters are the reflection of their lives. This story not only made me smile but also filled me with different perspective of looking things in the hospital specially human anatomy. 
There was a point where I had to stop reading, something terrible happened to Abhi and I couldn't stop my tears, I was so into the story. I know it was silly of me to put a book on hold specially when I am getting much lesser time to read these days but I needed to collect my scattered emotions to go ahead with the story. Before, things were failing into place as I desired then suddenly there was this terrible news, it felt like a full stop. But of course I could not wait to know what happens next and curiosity was almost killing me so picked it again. And Author Madhumita surprised me. And the ending left me smiling and a lump in my throat.
Uma and Abhi have grown older with each other emotionally through their much valuable letters during the course of 1990-1999. Hundreds of letters. They have been through a lot, they have lived different lives still share a bond stronger. Isn't it surprising.

This story is very simple and easy to understand, it's charm is the word I used the most in this review, yes "letters". Sometimes they ends with "take care", sometimes "truly yours", sometimes "reply soon" or sometimes "Love" but the last letter written by Abhi ends with a line most beautiful of them all. 

I would recommend this book to reader who wants a matured yet easy read. who wants to break the monotony of usual reads. And especially those who are linked to the medical field.


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I like to keep things Sweet & Tangy sometimes bitter & strong, I write when words rhymes with my emotions. I firmly believe that the pen is mightier than the sword and can make a change in the society ergo my words always aim for that.

An engineer who is occasionally published in Newspapers (INT) and anthologies, curious soul that is eternally filling the bucket of knowledge. Bibliophile who loves reading all the time. An ordinary girl that loves science and art, blogging, different languages, fancy cooking, travelling and flying (hopefully someday with real wings). Believes in humanity & spreading smiles.

“I am master of my spoken words and slave to those which remain unspoken.” 
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Ankita has read 7 books toward her goal of 75 books.

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