The book ‘Wings of Silence’ presents us before us a typical household, where a differently-abled child is not well-adjusted. The author, Shriram Iyer, brings out well the intricacies of a developing relationship between two brothers, Saurav, the younger one and Raj, the elder one who is deaf. Very beautifully the writer exhibits the psychological factors behind the behaviour of Saurav and his father, Akshay towards Raj. The book provides an interesting reading and moves at an optimum pace. Although the storyline and the woven fabric of the plot is quite appropriate, yet there are times when the reader is led astray from reading the book. For instance, the conversation between Saurav and Aunt Sheela in Chapter Two, where Aunt Sheela tells him how Raj cared for him during early childhood. The tete-e-tete though meaningful isn’t quite an interesting one and could have been more spontaneous and conversational one. Even the language could be improved here and there. Here are a few instances:
“Even Aunt Sheela joined us as she dressed up as a skeleton.” (page 17)
“..with all the deficiencies that I have I am still his older brother.” (page 32)
That was about the error or shortcomings of the book because after you are so engrossed in swaying with the characters and the story that you forget all about them. They simply don’t exist thereafter.
The book ‘Wings of Silence’ is not just another book on relationships. The author goes on to make some very profound and thought-provoking statements. “Papa had written off Raj at the age of fourteen.” (page 21). Now this statement says it all. It sums up in just ten words the attitude, thinking and bent of mind of a father towards his ‘not so normal’ child. And remember, this attitude is not just that of Akshay, Raj’s father, it represents a large section of our society.
As far as characterization is concerned, it is not a grain less impressive than beauty of the book. The beauty of Raj’s character is that inspite of the fact that we see Raj fight a losing battle, we never pity him. This is because the feeling of anger dominates in us that is directed against the insolent behaviour of his father towards him. Akshay Sethi earns all the ire of the readers. He has been pushing everyone in the family to their limits. And it is this pressure that exerts itself too much on Saurav and finally the dam of tolerance and submission gives way. We as readers react with every move of Saurav. Even hen he is unable to oppose his father even when everyone knows that the latter’s behaviour towards Raj is far from being considered even human, let alone being considerate and warm; we feel helpless why isn’t Saurav voicing his concern for his brother Raj? We embark upon a journey that Saurav undertakes; we understand his feelings, we sympathise, we empathise with him.
And when with Raj, we lend a patient heart to let him communicate his feelings, urges, curbed desires, buried ambitions, broken self-esteem and his injured soul. This is wherein lies the beauty of Iyer’s characterization. Full credit goes to Shriram Iyer for presenting such lifelike characters, that are so true and believable.
As far as the plot is concerned we have to execise Coleridge’s ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ at times. But Iyer makes it a point not to present before us a Utopian land, where there is the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ kind of feeling. It must have been the perfect finishing touch had Saurav been able to achieve his stardom in tennis once again. But as a writer who does justice to life, he doesn’t let the book have a perfect ending as is never guaranteed in life.
‘Wings of Silence’ is a well-researched book. To add to it, with the London Olympics 2012 happening, the book could not have come out at a more opportune time.