Cobalt Blue is a tale of rapturous love and fierce heartbreak told with tenderness and unsparing clarity. Brother and sister Tanay and Anuja both fall in love with the same man, an artist lodging in their family home in Pune, in western India.
About the Authors
Sachin Kundalkar or Sachin Kuṇḍalakar is an Indian film director and screenplay writer who mostly works in Marathi cinema. Kundalkar is a novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. He has written and directed four feature films. Sachin is the author of the book Cobalt Blue. He wrote this in Marathi.
Later it was translated into English by Jerry Pinto. Jerry Pinto is a Mumbai-based Indian English poet, novelist, short story writer, translator, as well as journalist.
About the Book
Cobalt Blue is the story of loss. The loss of one’s ambition, identity, family ties, all in the gaining of love. Story is about Siblings named Tanay and Anuja who fall in love with the same man at the same time. An unnamed man comes to live in their house as a paying guest who is smitten by both the brother and sister.
Loving him changed both of their lives forever. This story has different layers. The Book Cobalt Blue is divided into 2 parts. The first part is described from Tanay’s perspective and another part from Anuja’s perspective. It has the details of her diary entries.
The Unnamed man
The paying guest (PG) has no name or surname and no past. This is a man who lives by his own idiosyncrasies, a seeker who follows no rules. He likes Matisse, Rumi, Dali, rice pancakes, strong coffee, black and white photographs, and Coke with a pinch of salt. The man paints and plays the guitar. Being alone is a habit for him.
The only thing that is known about his family is that his father was a consultant with the Indian embassy in Paris and that his uncle molested him when he was a child. There’s a lot you learn about the guest and yet, a lot you don’t know. Most of you know comes through Tanay’s narrative.
For a book that was originally written in 2006, Cobalt Blue is ahead of its time. The homosexuality angle is dealt with simply. Tanay dreams of living with PG, of being in a stable, monogamous relationship. “What do two men who decide to live together do?” he ponders. “Men who don’t have the old to look after or the young to raise. For most of the day, we would do as we liked.”
The interesting part is both fall in love with the same person, they are heartbroken as he left them but there their heart-breaking stories are distinct. The stories from both sides differ in a unique way. Is it because men and women deal with heartbreak differently or do Tanay as a gay man just does not have the space and time to grieve over a boy as Anuja does?
It might seem that the story is about brother and sister but actually, throughout the book, you will get a narrative sketch of this unnamed man.
Does the question arise as does this paying guest return? If so, whom does he come back to? If not, how they dealt with their respective heartbreaks with the same man?
For knowing this obviously you need to read the whole book and find it out.
Cobalt Blue is a book that will engulf you when you are reading it, and haunt you much after you’re done.
This novel neatly establishes an emotionally complex situation and presents its characters with difficult decisions to quiet but devastating effect.