Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Obsession

My current obsession is Arundhati Roy’s God of small things which won her the Booker Prize in the year 1997 and this was her debut novel.

I call this an obsession because after I started reading this book, Ayemenen, Rahel, Esthappen, Ammu, Velutha, Baby Kochamma, Margaret Kochamma and Kochu Maria are characters I am living with in my memories constantly.

Right from the first paragraph of this book, I fell in love with the eloquence of Roy’s writing and because I belong to a Syrian sect of Christianity and my views about Kerala are not entirely different from that of what is portrayed by Roy, I felt the immediate connect with this semi-autobiographical work of Roy. It lingered on and I spent  three to four nights to complete this amazing work. The Novel tugs at your heartstrings – not sure if it is the sadness, cynicism, shades of Irony that so interestingly portrayed or the mystery shrouding all the characters in the novel that pulled me into this book. I could not just leave this book down. I knew I am missing the finer nuances of the literary play Roy employs with the language itself, but I am a Gemini you see and I need to know what is happening so I did a quick read and completed this book.

And I didn’t want to touch another book for some time. Have u eaten your favorite food? When you finish with it, you wouldn’t want to eat anything else that will spoil the after taste – you may want to linger on it for some more time, enjoying that taste until it finally gets out of your tastebuds. The same thing, I lingered on every character, on every event on the emotions that Rahel and Estha ( the protagonists ) went through and the scheming ways so typical of the Antagonist Margaret Kochamma.

Then decided on something that I have never done in my entire life – I started reading this book again this time savoring every nuance of the literary word play the author employs to conjure up magic with words, enjoying every minute observation that Roy so precisely brings forth through the point of view of a small child, the political, communal disharmonies that so evidently exists in the Gods own country and its absolutely scintillating.

I am enjoying the read – and it feels like I am reading a completely different novel this time and I just cant get enough of the first paragraph that Roy starts this Novel with.. I don’t know the number of times I have read this and got into a trance. That’s this book effect on me, I put the book down and the characters are playing in my mind – Chacko, Vellya Pappen, Kuttappen, Pappachi, Mammachi, Levin and pillai and all of Ayemenem. Pappachi’s moth, the Meenachil river, paradise Pickles and preserves, Sophie mol and the list is endless!

Roy has been able to paint the caste differences of that period and engages a reader throughout with her ploy.  and since this is emi autobiogrpahical you are left to wonder which are those incidents that really happened and which part of this novel is fiction. She throws the dark hints about the novel in the first chapter and unravels the events that leads to the theme of the novel finally in the last chapter where Velutha and Ammu think of only the small things the big things never lurked their conversations and their little promise “Naaley” (meaning tomorrow)
Here is the first para of this novel

“May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.”

Isnt it brilliant? I am only wondering why I didn’t read this earlier!

I would like to add a Caveat here though - I do not subscribe to everything that is portrayed in the novel - especially the twist that Roy brings to the Twin's relationship.  It looks perverted.

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