|The God of Small Things|
Goodman the laltain(lantern), small man the mombatti(candle)
Ms Roy grew up in Kerala under her mother since her parents divorced when she was two and the book beautifully captures the life and times of the early nineties in Kerala when India had just taken baby steps towards globalization. The intricacies and nuances are typical of any Indian town which is in the hinterland where the exposure to satellite television and western influences is limited and we are still governed by an archaic backward mentality of differentiation on caste and pre-conceived notions of social interplay just like racism and gun control is to the US. Where there are still boundaries on who can be loved, And how, And by how much. For an outsider, it is difficult to gauge India beyond an initial expression of organized chaos but this rendition elevates the senses as you are transported through time to the realms of imagination seldom experienced before.
The author is a cousin of NDTV founder Dr Pranoy Roy and lives in Delhi, my favourite news channel. I’d much rather go out on a limb by stating that Bengalis such as Ms Roy, Shoojit Sarkar(Vicky Donor) and Dibakar Banerjee(Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and Khosla ka Ghosla) are the rightful heirs to the tag of intellectuals of India because of the painstaking portrayal of countercultures within the country with their dose of realism and masala. Ms Roy was a vocal critic before the novel came out by criticizing Shekhar Kapur for The Bandit Queen and took four years(1992-1996) to write it whereas she has taken 20 years to come up with her latest novel. She continues to be a socially relevant activist even at the age of 56 and lives in Delhi.
Ps- This has put paid to my plans of writing a novel…