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Posts Tagged ‘Vikram Seth’

I first read it in a very beautiful sett’ing a summer over 3 yrs ago in a university library with a individual table in between bookshelves beside a window overlooking the flowering bushes of mussandas.last month i got it from anothet library to home.My sister’s amazed that i carried the heavy book to and fro to the library a journey of over an hour to re read it.

Its one of the most Voluminous books in literature and i honestly doubt how many people would have read it through end to end.Its way huge.But the wonderful thing is at no point while reading do you really regret its length..cause it does not drag, its pacy and moves in every page.

Its jus t that by the time you get to say part eight the delights of part two seem ages ago.Its a book so very perfect for a TV Serial …wonder why no has yet come up with it …i did read somewhere about it being considered.I hope and imagine it will be like ne of those older Serials like Buniyaad or even Sailaab and not the Ekta’s Glossies.

Somewhere i read Vikram Seth saying that Mrs Rupa Mehra was one of the best characters he created…well at least its as realistic as they come.She’s even more perfect than Mrs Bennet of Pride and prejudice and so very typically Indian, as that is how so many Indian girls may see their mother ” so well meaning, and well wishing ” but neverthless a strain on life and peace and cause of the most unintentional hurt.
The tantrums for attention, the constant worrying, the complains, the command…the overplay of social necessities and vanity.

Her inconsistency in judging people by how affectionate and respectful they are towards her shows a innocence that may be funny to read but very painful in real terms.

The subtle family and extended family politics ……the part of economics and emotion in the powerplay in families is depicted in such subtle ways without ever getting vindictive at any point.
That is why books are a delight they allow you to see so many sides views unlike lets say the umpteen soaps on Tv each on the same theme family and power politics but all have those black and white perfect and dark characters that it gets on your nerves.

Mrs Rupa mehra’s association with the book Gita (i.e the the way she ever bothers to understand or practice what is said but just values and worships it and reads it as its presence is a solace )depicts what really is the way relegion is actually practised as by most of our families – men and women.Its a center around which life can be lived and any problems one can comfortably recede into.

The book potrays people as simply on the surface as one can imagine and thats why its so long……only in parts it goes benath the surface ….because most of the time we live life on the surface by brushing under everything uncomfortable.
So much of the flash or alienness we feel about characters in many books is missing. Every character you would have either seen of can easily imagine.It is the small hidden stories in life we all live in in our hearts in the everyday humdrum and bore of life.It is about compromises people make will life and its fallacies.

Some compromise easily like Savitha.
Some compromise with time tempered by life like Lata.
Some force the compromise as thats the only way of life ….like Mrs Rupa Mehra
Some never compromise and wander and even wither or harden away in heart ….. and may be life with deep pain in the heart.

The books is filled with instances how difficult it is to categorize humanity…the same people who have one set of values in one environment easily do the opposite in different.It depicts how time deeply affects people and their perceptions and their compromises.

One incident is when Prem Kapoor who is quite secular and will never allow his wife to have Ram Lila organized at home despite her repeated pleading would organize it after her death though no one asked for it.

Lata’s thoughts about each of the suitable boys reflect somewhere how some people who have choices end up with what seems to many as a most unsuitable choice .The affections one feels has nothing to do with the most important business in life – marriage and ,somehow it takes Mrs Rupa mehra and time and life to make Lata see it.
Its a nice read her plain inability to see Amit into anything tangible despite her liking for him and how she says he’s too similar to me.Her compromise to the extent of not even hoping that things would work out between her and Kabir after once being hopeful of eloping with him when she says
“Ours won’t work…No one will let it work” is a great effect of time .

When i had first read the book some 3 years ago i had pondered upon this as the real reason why arranged marriages happy happy or unhappy on the facade work as everyone who has anything to do with it wants it to work……the issues are negotiated compromises affected with whatever the humane price .
Quite the opposite of a marriage against the consent of the primary arrangers in a family wherein every every flaw is magnified , every misunderstanding is fuelled by people (who have innate resistance to individual decison instead of the collective) who as lata says “No one will let it work”.

Mrs Rupa mehras’ insistence on reading letters to her from Haresh her fiancee as a demand based on her affection, and goodwill as mother . how she she fells deeply disrespected and countered by lata’s simple refusal of that is comic but so very typical and true .

I could go on like the book does but then its a book with nothing new or daunting or anything that streches you mind.
Its a book about how one’s simple ways complicate other’s simple wishes….and why as is said in it
“Life isn’t always a question of justice isn’t it”.

Of course as i blogged earlier one line that kinda stuck on in mind was way too simple “You can’t run four runs everyday”.

Its lovable as only simple things can be and re reading it in parts is a simple pleasure one can always have – if only you did not have to carry such a heavy load.

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