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Book Review: Palace Smash Into Slum by Ashok Yeshuran Masilamani

Palace Smash into Slum by Ashok Yeshuran Masilamani is a wonderful novel about one landlord family called “Zameen.” The novel explores the fate of one such family who has been living the highest forms of luxury with servants and all luxes at their feet. However, when the chord of fate strikes it can bring anyone to their knees, whether it’s an officer, business tycoon, landlord, or anyone else.

For such a similar story, the title is apt. You could have tried guessing a lot from its long title. Yes, the story runs on similar approach. The climax of the novel is irony of fate. Children of a palace, of royal family, are being born in a hut, in a road-side village. How – fills the rest of the story.

Back in the story, it starts with a short introduction on Zameendari system started during the Vijayanagar Empire to British Raj and its obliteration in 1972.  When many landlords disbanded and sold their ancestral property to hide in various parts of India, Periya Zameen family makes their abode in Chennai (erstwhile Madras).

Periya Zameen has a stock of wealth, a lavish palace, and all that one should have to call themselves as rich. However, their only son Anbu Chezhian is not in the line of lineage, he is carefree, into business, and bachelor. Somehow he gets married to a young lady Tamilsevi. The couple goes on the world tour. On the other hand, the ageing Periya Zameen worries about his heir to the wealth. They force Anbu Chezhian for a child. He consults many doctors and after much prayers and rituals Tamilsevi is pregnant.

All is fine so far. As the time of delivery approaches, the old couple of Periya Zameen flies to Delhi to attend funeral mourning, and Anbu Chezhian leaves for Somalia to negotiate with pirates that have abducted his ships. In the palace remain Tamilsevi and a couple of servants like Anjalai and Kanniappan.

Torrential rain and storm causing havoc in Chennai, the wife of Anbu Chezhian gets labour pain. Will she be able to deliver an heir safely? Who will assist her in such time of need? When this spell of bad luck begins, the novel turns riveting. One feels like reading more and fast to see the end results.

The message in the novel is about fate of human, he/she cannot change it. The novel reads like some Munshi Premchand story that has been converted into major movie in 1960s or 70s. Written simply, it’s a good one time read. If you enjoy simple and socially-driven literature, this novel is a perfect pick for you.


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