Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar, Translated by Jerry Pinto

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

I sometimes go and sit there. it is my museum of broken things.

Cobalt Blue is a beautifully tragic story translated from Marathi. It’s is a story about two siblings, Tanay and Anuja, who fall in love with their tenant. The tenant ends up leaving both of them. His departure has turned their life upside down, causing significant emotional turmoil. It’s a shared yet isolated heartbreak for both of them.

It’s told in two parts. The first part is in the first-person narration, with the brother, Tanay. He narrates the events from the start, when he first saw the man, how he fell in love with him, and how his departure has affected him. The second part of the story is by the sister, Anuja. It starts where the Tanay has left it, and occasionally she delves into the past. She narrates her account of the same man from her point of view. Throughout the story, we never hear the man, who is the love interest of the siblings. We only know him from both of these narrations.

Tanay and Anuja’s heartbreak is a one-of-a-kind situation. Anuja is free to seek and express her grief with her family and friends. Tanay is unable to do so. Their narration feels like watching two broken-hearted people on a split-screen. How the same man’s love has affected each of them, and how they are dealing with it differently, how it’s both a communal and isolated experience. It’s a strange circumstance between the two because Tanay is going through the same betrayal. But he can’t accept that his betrayal was caused by his sister. Anuja is entirely oblivious to Tanay’s feelings or the pain she has caused him. As a reader, you can’t shy away from the intensity of emotions that Tanay emits. The first-person narration of Tanay’s story is really powerful. Anuja’s narration is a mix of events happening around her and her internal dialogues. It’s doesn’t feel as impactful as Tanay’s.

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