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Author: Sankar

Publisher: Ananda
ISBN: 9788170790730
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Sankar named his novel Chowringhee as the novel is set in Chowringhee, a neighborhood in Calcutta, in the mid-1950s. The narrator, Shankar, an ambitious young man who is previously a secretary of an English barrister, becomes unemployed as the Barrister dies all on a sudden and begins selling wastepaper baskets door to door. As he takes rest in a neighborhood park, reminiscing about his past and fearful of what awaits him in future, a friend of his passes by, who is shocked by Shankar's descent into poverty. He tells Shankar that he can find him a job at the Shahjahan Hotel, one of the city's oldest and most venerable hotels, as the hotel manager is one of his clients.
Shankar is soon befriended by Sata Bose, the hotel's chief receptionist, and after a brief stint as a typist, Shankar becomes Bose's main assistant and close confidant. The manager, Marco Polo, likes him as well, and young Shankar is given more responsibilities by both men. The story of the novel spins around the guests, entertainers, and frequent visitors of the Shahjahan, but several members of the hotel staff get equal importance in Shankar's narrative. We learn about the seamy underside of the elite of Calcutta, whose greed, shady deals, and shameful behaviors are initially shocking to our na?ve young man, but he soons become jaded and disgusted by them. The poverty of working and jobless Calcuttans is vividly portrayed, as those not in the upper echelon are only one stroke of bad luck away from living in the streets or in dilapidated hovels. Love is a central theme, amongst the guests and workers, with often tragic results.