I read this brilliant book sometime back (about 4-5 months back). Might have read another 4-5 books after it but have been profoundly affected by it. I wanted to write about it just after reading it. But got distracted by the wedding etc :)
Topi Shukla, is a hindi-urdu-khichdi novella from the 50-60s. Though the context is post-partition India but the flavor is universal. It tells the story of people wherever they might be. It tells the story of who people have suffered separation/ loss due to events much larger than themselves. It tells the story of those who have loved in vain. It tells the story of innocence and realism. It tells your story and it tells mine. It does all that a good book is supposed to do.
I read the Khichdi version. Two reasons for doing so. I could just borrow the hindi version from a friend (who is coincidentally named topi as well) and
Set in Aligarh, it is the story of two friends and the people around them. Raza deftly tells the tale of people who become hapless victims of history. The small ways in which partition affects conversations, silence, love, hate, friendship, daily actions, language, food and everything that might and might not matter have been superlatively captured. It did not want the book to end. In a long long time, this was a book that made me fear for its end. May be because the characters felt so close… may be because the characters felt so real…
You can read a sample of the book at Google Books
You can buy it at Rajkamal Prakashan. You can also buy the book at Rediff.com. Both Hindi and English editions available. You have the option of buying the book from Amazon/ Barnes and Nobles etc as well. But you cannot get the hindi version there.