EXCITING, unconventional and tough are the words that come to mind when one reads the account of Mimlu Sen, on her travels with the Bauls. Music is the force that binds Sen with the Bauls. Bauls are a unique community in the Bengal region, with their life revolving around music and mysticism.
Sen’s journey with the Bauls happened as an accident and it began not in Bengal, the home of both Bauls and Sen but in distant Paris where three singers had come for a concert. Sen, living in an unconventional three-corner relationship, with two children, falls deeply in love with the music. She decides to travel with them, living life as they lived. And she does so in the company of Paban, establishing with him, yet again a relationship outside the rule book.
The strong emotions of the Baul music, their ecstatic spirituality and their poverty stricken life become part of Sen.
Mimlu Sen’s narrative of the travels is straight, simple and focused. Her story does not digress from the music. It is the music, rather than the men behind that is in focus. Her involvement in the narration is kept at a minimum. Nor does she launch into the travails of the path she chose.
An interesting book that takes one on a journey with the Bauls, where the reader can see and sense things from the window seat.
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