Year 1996. Class VII
Teacher: Ritu Mantri
The neighbor elbows Ritu which brings her back in the classroom.
Ritu: Present Ma’am
Teacher is annoyed
Teacher: Ritu, are you sleeping
Ritu: No Ma’am Sorry Ma’am
Teacher: Pay attention in the class.
Well this is the scene of my classroom. I was busy reading the newly released Feluda’s adventure and was so immersed in the book that I didn’t notice the teacher’s arrival in the class and was late in responding to her attendance call.
After 20 years from that incident my craze for Feluda doesn’t seem to change. Only in place of teacher is now my 2 years old son. I am nearly deaf to his crying and wailing for my attention because I am engrossed in reading The Complete Adventure of Feluda written by Satyajit Ray, a legendary who needs no introduction.
I have been a Feluda’s fan since teenage. I read the first adventure of Feluda when I was 12 or 13 years old and it is almost after 20 years I have again started reading Feluda adventure all complied in one book translated by Gopa Majumdar.
It took me ten days to complete the first vol of the series which has total 16 stories of Feluda. These ten days were the nostalgic journey to teenage days, to revisit the world of mystery and thrill weaved by Satyajit Ray, to meet my detective hero Feluda once again and his writer friend Lalmohan Babu and cousin Tapesh.
Literary world is filled with sleuths and detectives but barring a few none could match the popularity of Feluda. Satyajit Ray had loosely modeled his private detective Feluda on the lines of Sherlock Holmes but it’s Feluda’s extraordinary observational skills, his capability of finding clues which ultimately solves the case, possessing photographic memory and shrewd analytic quality makes him stand out in the growth. He uses his brain to solve the mysteries is quite an impressive quality of Feluda. In fact, after reading Feluda’s adventure I can’t help myself from observing minute details and draw conclusions.
Satyajit Ray’s writing style is also impeccable. He doesn’t hide the real culprit in the crowd nor does he hides the finding of investigation from readers. Each time I felt that Satyajit Ray is challenging readers to guess the culprit before Feluda himself does it. One can’t help but use their brains while reading. This is such a sheer gifted trait of Satyajit Ray’s writing; to make readers think and not to read blankly.
All the stories were written in a fixed format. Initial few pages are used for build up and then slowly a mystery unfolds and later it gathers pace as the mystery deepens. Every mystery is written in such a manner that one cannot help biting the nails, forget all about the surroundings and get completely immersed into the story.
Mysteries are written in simple language. Satyajit Ray has shown that one doesn’t need to depict brutal murders to create thrill. There is no need to create threatening situations to keep readers hooked to the book. Simple puzzles and riddles could be equally engrossing as well.
Adventures were not just based in and around Calcutta. But mysteries has taken Feluda and sometimes followed Feluda and his gang various places in India.The author has done commendable job in describing places. Written in the most simplest and accurate manner, the description of the place gives a wondrous effect to the plot. It feels like transported to the spot itself.
One thing which I rather find odd was the absence of female characters in the story. Except one story, there is absolutely no mention of women in the mysteries. Now this one big mystery for me that why women characters did not find any place in the adventures of Feluda.
The Verdict: Satyajit Ray’s neat and clean mysteries written in simple words, his humane qualities in Feluda has made his books and characters almost immortal.
Feluda series has find readers among all the age groups. It’s a treasure which are passed on from generation to generation.
Long live Feluda.