If the one who is going to read this book is a university student, he’s definitely gonna miss his university student life. As the audience knows, author Khin Khin Htoo is an expert at writing pieces depicting the tradition and whiff of Upper regions. Her works are just simple and remarkable. The preface tells that the author took even about one year to finish this novel.
The backdrop of this “Pollen of a Lotus” novel was set against the Mandalay University from the 1980s and it is an excellent novel which illustrates the life of university students in a nostalgic way. This was from my parents’ times when they had to attend regional college first to later join the university. When the author was writing this novel, the universities were closed after the uprising. She went to the Mandalay University campus almost every day to write her story. Everytime she went there, she was so melancholic as there were armed forces who had nothing to do with the campus, which is supposed to be busy with students. Thinking of it, it might be time like now.
In this book, you can find out that the friendship of the characters, how they lived their university student life, how they consider and value the literature and the love life of teenagers and many more subjects were so pleasantly written that the piece is so great. Plus, you will feel as though you have reached back to Mandalay from the 1980s.
The most memorable line for me in this book was the one which the main character Aung said to Thiri May. “Missing someone is a sophisticated feeling, May.” Maybe I remember this line because Aung, who is really good at hiding his feelings, has said these words surprisingly.
The two main characters are Thiri May from Myin Gyan and Aung Naing Thu from Kalaw. When I first met the classmates from Myin Gyan, the thought that popped up in my mind was this “Pollen of a Lotus” Novel. This is because the novelist also wrote about Myin Gyan when she demonstrated the childhood of Thiri May.
Continuing the story, Aung Naing Thu, who would be a Shan chief if the Shan feudal system still existed, came from a Shan chieftains family. His name in Shan language is Sao Kyar Padom. When I was a kid, I was totally in love with reading about Shan chieftains. Freaky speaking, I am still into those kinds of stories.
The reasons why I read this novel at one sitting also included that Aung is from the Shan chieftains family. Other characters are the friends of these two. Thiri May’s lovely friends from Myin Gyan. Aung’s reliable friends. Friends with different circumstances as in real life. The rich one. The poor one. The middle one. A lot. However, it is sure that they all really cared about each other, loved each other and wanted to help solve each other’s problems. The story was realistic also because of the friendship of the squad.
Out of so many friends, Aung, who is really obsessed with Myanmar literature and Myanmar classical music, and Thiri May, who has been a bookworm, became the closest friends on account of their same hobby. As time passed by, they became attached to each other since they were in their teens. Nevertheless, since Aung did not use to talk about his life and lived a lowkey life, no one knew about his family and the fact that he came from a Shan chieftains family. During their university term, as usual, they went on trips, to pagodas, to Taung Thaman Inn, ate fries together and made many more memories. I cannot help but recognize the writing skill of the author in this novel. Although the book is a long novel, the storyline is not boring at all. The scene where they recited poems at the Taung Thaman Inn was so lovely in fact. When I started reading this book, I thought I’d go around with my friends exactly as in this book if I attended university. Now, it’s already been 2 years since the schools were closed.
LEt’s get back to the story. Once Aung invited the friends to his hometown and so the squad visited Kalaw. How the author portrayed Kalaw town was so lovely. I should definitely go visit Kalaw later. The friends sang songs, played guitar and ate local foods like Khaw Pote while sitting beside the fire at Aung’s house in Kalaw. And then, one day, Aung told Thiri May about his life and past while walking together towards the pine forest inside their compound. And also about the fact that he was the descendant of Shan chieftain family. At that time, Thiri May had no idea why Aung was telling her about those past stories.
After their last year of university, the squad graduated. Both Aung and Thiri May got admitted to the Honor class. However, Aung neither attended the graduation ceremony nor joined the Honor class. Aung disappeared from that time on. No one knew about Aung exactly. Thiri May had been waiting for Aung as she believed he would come back during all her school years. When those scenes came out, I pitied Thiri May so much. A woman’s soft love which is definitely difficult to speak out.
And about 20 years have passed. During those decades, the lives of all characters have changed a lot. Including Thiri May’s. After 20 years, Aung came back and met Thiri May again. What happened after that? Why did Aung disappear for about 20 years? Do they still have feelings for each other? What happened to other characters? If you want to know about all of these, just go and try this book!!
The story of Aung’s parents is also one of the hidden cards of this novel.
If I have to add up, this book depicts a number of Myanmar poems. Different kinds!!! Even Myanmar classical Patpyo can be found!!! Plus, you can even learn about the system of how Shief chieftains ruled their regions. The beauty of Mandalay, the beauty of Bagan \, the beauty of Kalaw. Apart from these, there are lots of knowledgeable facts too. To sum up, this book is so much more than a normal novel.
This is a must read book in your life.
So this extraordinary novel is highly recommended by me. Let me finish my review with a poem of Tagore which appeared in the novel.