Sagaree Sengupta's translation carries the reader along into a different world. You can almost see the events unfolding before you as Kale Khan gets caught, but is pardoned by the emperor. He even gets the myna that he stole. But now the British Resident wants that myna.
The original Urdu story was by Naiyer Masud. While the cover mentions Naiyer Masud and art by Premola Ghose, there is no mention of the translator.
- R. Krithika.
The story is set during the reign of Sultan Wajid Ali Shah in Lucknow. Kale Khan's daughter, who is also named Falak Ara, takes instant liking for the mynah. But her joy is short-lived. The king arrives in the garden one day and asks, "I don't see Falak Ara today." Nabi Baksh, the minister, tries to pacify the King. But Kale Khan is exasperated. He rushes home and manages to convince his daughter that the mynah needs to be taken to the hospital as 'she is in a bad shape'.
The birds are the centre of attraction at the garden as they enthrall the royal guests with their songs. But it's Falak Ara which is the cynosure of all eyes when it starts singing. Kale Khan can't believe it. will Kale Khan get a royal pardon. Read the book to find out more about Falak Ara and her mynah.
The story, originally writeen in Urdu, is a fine work of translation. Apart from written in a simple language, there are pictorial illustrations, bringing the story and the ancient age come alive. the innocence of childhood and the seriousness of theft as an offence are interwoven well to bring out a delightful tale. A recommend purchase for all who simply love good stories.