The Lamentations of a Sombre Sky by Manan Kapoor is both a powerful and thought-provoking tale about growing up in war-torn Kashmir. In fact, powerful is an understatement. The book forces you to take pauses and creates a continuous sense of unease in your minds. The author has woven the plot expertly. Beautiful but also painful, the story directly hits your heart. While the story-line is not melodramatic, reading this book may bring lumps in your throat and tears in your eyes. So, be careful!
This book takes us to the time when ‘army’ and ‘militancy’ became the two contrasting pillars to distinguish one from the other in the region of Kashmir. While the book, by no means, provide a complete picture of issues faced by Kashmiri people during those days, the book skillfully portrays the daily struggles of the people of Kashmir under the relentless watch of both the army and the militants. The author neither takes the side of terrorists nor the army. He just strikingly builds up a picture of the lives of people who live there and leaves the judgment in the hands of the readers. The troubles faced by Kashmiri Pundits also features prominently in the book. And, most importantly, all of this has been told through the eyes of three young children. However, even more astounding than these characters is the setting of the novel. The author takes you to the beautiful landscape of Kashmir and gradually throws light on the burning issues of Kashmir. This is Manan Kapoor’s first book and I must say that he has done a brilliant job.
The story revolves around three Kashmiri children – Inayat, Gul and Aquib. They are having a happy childhood. They both enjoy and spend quality time with each other. They bunk classes to watch movies. Tuning snow into a snowman is one of their favourite winter activities. They love listening to the songs. However, as they gradually desert their childhood and enter into early years of their adult life, they realize bit by bit that the coming time is not what they had in their minds. They encounter misfortune as mourning inundates Kashmir. The continuous rumbling of the automatic rifles, the wails and cries of their close ones, and a quiet surrounding gradually envelop their lives. The Lamentations of a Somber Sky is the exploration of this conflict with life in the dark times in the region of Kashmir.
Story of Kashmir intrigues me and that’s why I chose to read this book. And, I am happy to tell you all that I really liked this book. The book under review won’t just familiarize you with the Kashmiri Muslim and Kashmiri Pundit fraternity, but also gets you acquaint with the reasons of the battle of the Pundits in the region of Kashmir. It will certainly help you comprehend what happened in Kashmir, and on the off chance that you are a Kashmiri Pundit; it will help you comprehend your battle and your own identity.