“What I didn’t know was that just as I was searching for my friend, my friend was also searching for me. And that search had started a long time ago”
Can an object be a friend? Can an object travel across time and distance to be united with somebody who resonates with it at a deep level? Can this seemingly abstract concept be understood by a young reader? The answer is yes. The Piano- story of a friendship by Nandita Basu published by Duckbill (Penguin Random house) strikes a deep chord within the heart of the readers young and old. Basu is a comic-book artist and a musician, and one can sense her deep connect with the story throughout the book. While the graphic book is meant for middle-graders and young adults, as an adult reader, I felt that this ‘piano story’ gripped me into its gentle heart-warming world.
One of the primary functions of a good story is to connect the reader to something deep within himself. And then, when authors write stories they also connect many different things, in a sense. The Piano explores so many connections- some real, some imagined. What stands out the most is the connection that music can help over an individual, and a bond of friendship between a person and an object.
A beautifully rendered graphic novel, it tells the story of a very unlikely friendship, that is, a friendship with an object. Fact and fiction merge in a story that spans time and continents, but is connected by a single object- a piano. The piano in question was made many decades back. The origin from Leipzig, Germany was the beginning of its journey. It travelled through war-torn France and England before it reached Calcutta during the Indian independence struggle. It was loved and left by other owners who were all from different countries, professions and even time periods. But destiny had it conferred to a girl until circumstances separated them.
But the bond one forges with an object may just be strong enough to withstand the limitations of circumstances. Does the girl manage to reunite with the object of her affections? This is one piano story that leads to a melodious crescendo!