Book Review: She- Ekla Cholo Re By Santosh Avvannavar & Shayan Haq

FrontWe can’t live without the society. With times, the society has developed a distinct structure for itself and, we have been assigned some rules and regulation to be followed with exactitude. Men are supposed to be ‘manly’ and show aggressiveness and power while women must behave in a polished and gentle manner. If it happens otherwise, the society brands the person as “not normal” and, such branding leads to complete seclusion from the rest of the people having the royal insignia of “normal”!

But what should a person do if the heart revolts to follow the path it is supposed to? What if a tender femininity encapsulates herself in the body of a male? What if the apparent masculine ruggedness fails to satiate the passion and desire the mind feels? Yes, one has to walk alone, extremely tiresome the journey might be. Santosh Avvannavar and Dr. Shayan Haq have joined hands to pen down the journey of Kusum, a transgender, in their book She: Ekla Cholo Re.

Kusum, a girl  born in the biological frame of a boy, wants to steer her life in a different way. But the society finds this tendency as an egregious sacrilege. Even her father, a doctor himself,  goes off his rocker and becomes a helicopter dad monitoring Kusum’s each and every activity; forcing her to behave, talk, play, eat like a boy. But her father fails to control her mind and, slowly but surely she blooms retrieving all the feminine traits.

Kusum’s intransigent attitude makes her face dire consequences. Her life gets scattered every time she wants to gather the fallen pieces. Her dreams, her love, and life collide with a person one day all of a sudden, professor Raj. Would she be able to gain an identity? Or whether her life would flow along with the lines of Tagore’s song,”jodi tor daak shune keu na aashey, tobe ekla cholo re“( if they answer not to thy call, walk alone). You’ll find the answer in the book.

My Views

The authors here have told a story, but the story makes you stop for a moment, feel and think. Set in the backdrop of 1990, Kolkata, The story speaks on behalf of all those who find themselves trapped in between “he” and “she”. The gender dysphoria, the fundamental unease, dilemma, and dissatisfaction with which Kusum deals in her life reflects the mismatch between her gender identity and the assigned sex. The story has the required twists and turns and, I liked the way it finally ends.

However, in my opinion, the friendship between Professor Raj and Kusum happens too quickly. They could be given some more time to get acquainted with each other. Apart from that the book is a bold step towards social awareness and discussing a few things which are still considered taboo in the society.

From my side, it’s 4.5/5

Watch the trailer of the book here:

Buy Links: (ebook) |

Facebook Page of the book, get connected.

[This review was commissioned by the author. Views are my own and honest.]

11 responses to “Book Review: She- Ekla Cholo Re By Santosh Avvannavar & Shayan Haq

  1. Pingback: More Review of ‘She: Ekla Cholo Re’ | Amrita Foundation for HRD·

  2. Pingback: Reviews of ‘She: Ekla Cholo Re’ | Amrita Foundation for HRD·

  3. An interesting subject -makes me wonder how difficult it would be for a person like Kusum, whose natural inclinations are different from the apparent body bestowed. Nice review – the end (friendship with Prof) seems interesting too,

  4. Very interesting. .reminds me of a movie I saw recently.. although not exactly on the same concept..
    It’s a Indian movie starring irfan khan..who wants a boy ..but when the wife has a daughter he brings her up as a boy.. and even gets her married..

    Good review. . Thank you for sharing..

    Also there is a beautiful song called SHE..🙂

  5. I think it is interesting to learn about choices and how people decide to act upon their desires and impulses, Maniparna. You are brave to pursue this as nd hope to read th his book someday. In Native American culture, having two sees in one body is called, “Two spirits.” I wrote a post about this.🙂

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