Candlelight in a Storm : Book Review
Book Name: Candlelight in a Storm
Author: Naveen Sridhar (Germany)
Published by: authorHouse
Reviewed by: Alok Mishra
Let me have the liberty to start it with a quote from the book:
“There are events in one’s life that one would like to forget the very next day but will linger and haunt the life for decades.” pp 185.
I would further my steps even more and would change the ‘decades’ to life! And it happens! Coming back to the book, I got this beautiful pile of memoirs in the form of a book Candlelight in a Storm from a very remarkable scientist (and now author as well) Naveen Sridhar from Germany, who, by this time, happens to be a good friend of mine. This is novel, no doubt; however, once you start reading it, it feels like you are taking out the different layers of shrouds and something is about to come. It is about the life of a woman, another woman, a man, another man and eventually every person who had ‘tough times’ during the aftermath of Nazi regime and thereafter. However, rightly sums up the author himself in the preface:
“The protagonist in this story is representative of all those, past and present, affected by difficult days at a young age.”
Once you begin the book, you feel with the flow; you suffer when the people in book suffer and you rejoice even with their smallest scale of satisfaction. To be honest, it is a non-fiction style of fiction; the author is narrating the true events with the least (or perhaps a naught) colouring up. That is why you connect with the pages as you move on. In a fiction, you might feel the thrill about what happens next. However, that thrill is limited in your conscious as you know things are in the hands of the lord on this land – the author. But in the case of Candlelight in a storm, you are genuinely engaged to know what might come next; you know very soon that the author is narrating something that really happened.
To cut the book short, it starts with exodus and ends with a rebirth. The story of a woman that eventually is shared with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. It is justified in the story why the author has subtitled it ‘Born to be a Berliner’. Some parts are there in the book that I must share with you. On page no. 155, the event that features a ‘dressed-up foreigner in company of a blond doll’ is something that strikes me. It openly attacks the ‘sheep walk’ mind-set of people who cannot trust a person even if it’s the question of a life! However, how much have we contributed to win this distrust of people? It compelled me to think! Another interesting feature that the book owns is its naming of the sub-chapters. For instance, you will go through the chapter named ‘man proposes’ and very next you will see ‘god disposes’! It keeps the humour of the book alive. I would like to hail Naveen to present very beautifully a foreigner’s account of visiting India. The experience and a way to present that experience:
“I never thought I would live long enough to have such a fantastic experience [visiting India].”
And at last, I would also like to sum up the book with:
“She had lived all her life within a radius of some 500 miles, but she had lived through all kinds of regimes and authorities. Born in Kaiser’s empire, she had seen its dissolution, the failed Weimar republic followed by the ravages of Hitler’s Reich, then fleeting to the East, she had caught up in the American occupied zone, succeeded by the Soviet occupation and had to witness the ascent or descent of the German Democratic Republic. Back in West Berlin, she lived in an occupied zone of three Allies. Her last years she had spent in the free State of Bavaria, a part of the West German Republic, and ultimately of united Germany. Wow!” pp 226.
The bottom line is, indeed, if you interest in Post-World War II, you will get the insights about conditions of India, Germany and the UK! Get a copy and have a pleasant reading of the true events peered with a beautiful narrative by Naveen.