It is, in a way, diﬃcult to write about a book that is, in essence, a compilation of various short stories that were written across the span of two decades. An accident in a swimming pool, a Town that holds a celebration of human speech, a date with the heroes and villains of human history far up in the heaven, a nerve-wracking examination hall, a life that could have been, the land of Sun-worshippers and Moon-landers, a hopeful job-interview, the pursuit of happiness ,an encounter with God’s own accountant. Life-changing words ﬂowing away from lost wet pages in the rain. It makes it more challenging that each and every story diﬀers so vastly from the other - in terms of whether it be the scale, the settings or the tone. So when people ponder what ‘Floating Towel’ is really about, I ﬁnd it imperative to say that it is about life itself. To be more precise, a middle-class person’s intensely-personal view of life. Life as it is and life as it should be. One such common thread across some of the stories can be found in the character of Budhu. According to the author, the character is nothing more but an archetype. An epitome of normalcy - a person so deeply rooted in the attitudes, customs and feelings of a native Bengali middle-class man that it could essentially be an alter-ego of any Indian Joe. And it is through these stories, through these characters that the author has woven his thoughts into the fabric of these stories. Thoughts about the meaning of life, the value of family and relationships, disenchantment, violence and greed, the changing times and abject senselessness of fanaticism. These dozen short-stories are a kaleidoscope to life as we know it, one that crosses across generations and through the turn of the century that the reader across all ages would enjoy it as much as the author has while writing it.
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