Book Title: A for Prayagraj: A Short Biography of Allahabad
Author: Udbhav Agarwal
Jessica Rudes defines a memoir as More focused than an autobiography; a memoir is an intimate look at a moment in time. Also, a memoir is a narrative, written from the author’s perspective, about an essential part of their life.
It’s often conflated with autobiography, but there are a few important differences. An autobiography is also written from the author’s perspective, but the narrative spans their entire life. In contrast, memoir authors choose a pivotal moment in their lives and try to recreate the event through story-telling. The author’s feelings and assumptions are central to the narrative.
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Udbhav Agarwal’s A for Prayagraj: A Short Biography of Allahabad is a memoir collecting experiences that the author had while conversing with locals and comparing it with how he remembers the city. These conversations happen on one of the important points as the changes the city has been seeing. Here, the narrator co-relates his memories with the town before leaving to another place many years ago.
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The urbanization that has been happening for some years in the country in a way has totally changed the fabric of the country’s own flavor, be it in terms of looks and feel or food habits. The once known villages, towns, 2-tier and 3-tier cities have undergone a drastic change. The upholding and the businesses in and around the places are almost similar to the urban cities.
The ever happening changes somewhere in the minds and hearts of the people do make an impact, probably in an unhappy manner. This can be felt by an older adult or a person who has lived in a place for a long time. There are many instances where the changes were welcomed and unwelcomed by the commoners of the place.
In this book A for Prayagraj, debut writer Udbhav gives an account of the then city Allahabad and now Prayagaraj! A for Prayagraj brings forth the city through a memory ride. It all talks about the past glory and how it’s now and what are the changes the city has gone through. It also talks about whether people will stay or go away. How were the people, and how are they now. The prologue is interesting as it talks about the present times.
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Written in a simple yet elegant language, the book flows as easily as the mighty rivers of Ganga and Yamuna. The narration of the book also looks like a travelogue that has many details and information. With an endearing story-telling, Agarwal takes his readers onto a great roller-coaster of emotions, politics, social changes, and the future of the city.