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Harivansh Rai Bachchan, also known to many as Amitabh Bachchan's father, was one of the greatest and most loved Hindi poets. In The Afternoon of Time: An Autobiography is the abridged English translation of the great poet's Hindi autobiography, which was in 4 volumes.
This autobiography traces the Bachchan family history, beginning with the ancestors who shifted base to Allahabad from a small Uttar Pradesh village. The author covers many generations of his ancestors before giving the readers a complete and detailed description of his own life.
The book is divided into 4 parts, which are Things To Forget, Things To Remember, Rebuilding The Nest, Far from Home, and Epilogue: From 'Dashdwar' to Sopan. The poet gives us the personal details of the journey of his life, his struggles, his pain and heartbreak, his joys, and his achievements.
Bachchan's graduation from Allahabad University, his brief stint as a teacher in the same university, his Ph.D. in English Literature from Cambridge, his tenure in the External Affairs Ministry, which he joined as a translator at Jawaharlal Nehru's insistence, his tenure in the Rajya Sabha, his literary career, and the rise of his son Amitabh Bachchan as the superstar of Indian Cinema, are all carefully covered in this autobiography.
This autobiography makes us understand the various shades in Bachchan's illustrious literary career. The pain, despair, and grief reflected in his earlier poems is because of the death of his first wife at a young age, and the trauma he went through as a result.
His marriage to Teji Suri was a turning point in his life, as he says in his autobiography. The happiness and joy that we get to see in his later works is a result of this change in his life.
Bachchan's In The Afternoon of Time: An Autobiography gives us a peek into all the aspects of his life, his personal, academic, professional, as well as literary life.