I finished reading Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar about two years ago. It was a satisfying read with many questions at the end. It’s one of those books where the ending is left open, so you’re not sure what happens in the end.
The story of Cobalt Blue is simple – a man comes to stay as a paying guest in the Joshi household and changes the lives of Tanay and Anuja – the siblings. He seems like the perfect tenant, ready with the rent and happy to listen to their mother’s musings on the imminent collapse of Indian culture. But he’s also a man of mystery. He has no last name. He has no family, no friends, no history, and no plans for the future. When he runs away with Anuja, he overturns the family’s lives.
This is a beautiful translation from Marathi by acclaimed novelist and critic Jerry Pinto. The author’s portrayal of homosexual and heterosexual relationships in the book is both brave and beautiful. The best part of the book is the way the stories are written.
The novel is written in two parts. The first part is about Tanay, he is grieving his lost love. The second half is about Anuja, Tanay’s sister. She is nursing her heartbreak and the author has kept everything about the paying guest mysterious.
We, as readers, never find out who the guest loved the most or why he did what he did with the siblings. And that’s the beauty of this book
As a Maharashtrian, I connect with the novel on a deeper level, simply because everything felt familiar. I highly recommend this read.