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Review: Beneath a Rougher Sea |

Beneath A Rougher Sea by Susmita Bagchi |

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Remember A Beautiful Mind? The Academy Award winner John Nash biopic till date is considered to be one of the best movies ever. It represents a host of other era defining movies such as Black Swan, Shutter Island, Good Will Hunting. A genre that is difficult to fathom yet true to the very existence of life- mind that doesn’t think straight. 

Beneath a rougher sea by Susmita Bagchi speaks about the world of the chaotic minds but more than that…the reality that surrounds them and bleeds to come to terms with. Its a story where Aditya pursues a rather unprecedented career path with Psychiatry amidst skepticism from his family. The protagonist is passionate about his field of work and is a matter of fact person. The story revolves around his professional involvement with a ghost from the past with multiple subplots depicting the social take on mental disorder, apprehension surrounding reporting a case, exploitation of certain mental syndromes and a fascinating story of coming back to life. schizophrenia- the dreaded word is as much of a capable calamity for a family of a victim as it is difficult to spell. When Aditya’s ex girlfriend comes back with a son who would be diagnosed with the familiar mental illness, the story balances brilliantly hanging on to Aditya’s professionalism denying every opportunity to a cliched personal melodrama. 


The biggest silver-lining of the entire novel is the element of realism. Never during the course of inviting dramatizing events did the author slip to an impractical fantasy. The social illiteracy on this subject is nothing that should surprise us. Despite a rising awareness on various medical conditions, mental illness remains the dark side of Moon. And when Smita’s dad started questioning his existence the family would invent reasons to justify the cause rather than agreeing with the specialist that its a mental disorder which requires attention. The following ignorance on the matter and an eventual death highlights the absence of receptivity, awareness and most emphatically the frustration of a psychiatrist who cant treat a patient despite an evident diagnosis. 


The narrative stands out with the transformation of Deepa from a despairing mother of schizophrenic child to a woman who is trying to get her life back only to lose it all over again. The battle against fate, disbelief and pessimism is what keeps the reader cling on to the story with minimal cliffhangers. The lack of events and the ever so present elaborations on mental disorders risk crossing the line over to the other side of ‘happening’ but holds on with lucidity and effortless writing.


An understanding family, a few losing battles and a venture that is close to heart are the nuts and bolts of the foundation on which Aditya traverses his sinusoidal professional life. With such precise detailing its needless to say that Susmita has done quite a brilliant job with a formidable storyline, seamless narrative and a realistic approach. Beneath a rougher sea is a book we categorize as a story of the mind.


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