In the current scenario, when we feel a need to know more about the northeastern part of India, there is a cool breeze in the form of The Winning Story a novel by Ayangti Longkumer, a budding writer from Nagaland. The prologue of the novel says it all, “The last course of the meal is the best, but if you have stuffed yourself so much with the starters then you have to choose between what your heart wants and your mind. I am claiming to keep your mind free from any preconceptions of what the story is going to be, for there is so much twist and turns. There is an urgent requirement for lots of empty spaces in your mind and heart, the domains in which I will proudly pour out my words so to make it everlasting for you to argue upon it.”
The Winning Story is about a woman named Eve, the various relationships that surround her and the varied situations in life that she finds herself in. It unravels the various relationships that circles a person and brings in love, compassion, commitment, and trust. At times we might sympathise with the protagonist but it is to be noted that it is not weepy story. Although it has an imaginary setting where the protagonist talks about her memories of the past years, one can empathise with her. The greatest strength of Ayangti Longkumer’s debut novel is that it is not a story about mindless twist and turns or high intense actions, which as a reader we have become so accustomed to, but it has one straight story line which makes it natural and delightful to read. The author does not make a superhero of the protagonist but engages her in the emotions which any person can feel when countered with.
Written in first person, the book weaves in poems and notes which highlights the author’s creativity. And though the setting is contemporary, the story is a classic.