“Because the people sought to be free whenever they heard the stories. Free of fear, free of shame and constant desire…” (pg. 63)
Son of the Thundercloud is a sheer magic by Easterine Kire, a poet, a novelist, writer of children’s book and winner of the Hindu Prize 2015 for her novel When the River Sleeps. Born in Nagaland, India, her writings illustrate the vivid Naga culture. Her other marvellous works include, her first book of poetry Kelhoukevira and novels namely, A Naga Village Remembered, A Terrible Matriarchy, Mari, Bitter Wormwood and many more.
Son of the Thundercloud is a bizarre story of extraordinary people. The story features Pelevotso or Pele and his journey to fulfil the meaning of his name that is ‘faithful to the end.’ His story begins on a happy note describing his birth, growing up, marriage, children and the customary village life. However, the happiness soon overruled the famine which killed many villagers and Pele’s whole family, leaving him to survive alone. Pele left the village, where he lost everything and went on an aimless wander to the ‘Village of Weavers’.
“Pele decided to go, if only to keep travelling … He did not know what he wanted … he felt nothing.” (pg. 17)
His journey towards the ‘Village of Weavers’ paused at an abandoned village of Noune, where he met two sisters, Kethonuo and Siedze who claimed to have survived for four hundred years on hope; “Hope, Sir, we have been living on hope. Every morning when we wake up, we eat hope…” (pg. 20)
His meeting with these extraordinary women is just the beginning of a miraculous tale. The story gets more astonishing with occurrence of rare incidents, like, the movement of stars pulling the earth, the great deluge revitalising the barren land and the miracle of the single drop of rain impregnating Mesanuo, the tiger-widow. Why Mesanuo is being called the tiger-widow? What is the prophecy? What is the destiny of Mesanuo’s son, the son of the thundercloud? What is the role of Pele in their life? The explorations of these questions take the readers into a world full of mysteries and surprises.
Son of the Thundercloud is a beautifully crafted story of love, hope, faith, prodigy and responsibility. Hope can keep someone alive for centuries. Love can bring rain of prosperity. But hate only creates flood of sorrows. One cannot escape the tragedies of life but one has to walk the path and fulfil the responsibilities s/he is destined for.
Throughout the story Pele, Mesanuo, Kethonuo, Siedze and Rhalietuo, the son of the thundercloud endeavoured to accomplish their duties and presented the unforgettable examples of selfless love and compassion; “No matter how much he loved her… Perhaps there would be another star over mountains tonight. They would always be together now.” (pg. 149)
Mysterious and dreadful event cause many twists in in the plot. Catastrophes shock the readers, but Pelevotso, the Traveller, remains as the metaphor of optimism till the end.
Altogether Son of the Thundercloud is a mesmerizing story especially for the lovers of folklores or legendary tales. The entire plot is precisely bifurcated into twenty five chapters and every chapter bring new surprises. The language is captivating and lucid. The book definitely and undoubtedly has the capability of adding as a great experience for the readers.
Bhabya Singh is a student of Commerce, (hailing from Dhanbad, Jharkhand); however, with a fond love towards literature she thrives to read and write.