Title : Ghachar Ghochar
Author : Vivek Shanbhag
ISBN : 9789351776178
Publisher : Harper Perennial
Genre : Contemporary
Pages : 124
Source : Self
Rating : 5 stars
The first thing that will strike you as you hold this beautiful pic is the cover image. Tea spilled over a plate and dried while a few ants are feasting on it. You cannot help but wonder what it is about!
This is a short book and has no particular ‘theme’ around which the story revolves. But even after being a translated work (originally written in Kannada), the story strikes such a chord that you can’t help from taking a pause to actually relate with various circumstances on some scale (that is, if you belong to a typical lower middle class Indian family). “Ghachar Ghochar” is a colloquial phrase which signifies mess, confusion and pandemonium and that’s what happens in the family that is described in the book, when it suddenly turns rich and their life changes almost overnight.
The narrator is a soft spoken, simpleton and a gentleman and is affected the most when he gets married to a bold, upfront and outspoken woman. That she doesn’t approve of the way family runs doesn’t help either. What follows is exchange of hatred-riden words which wreak a havoc on the family fabric. The narrator seeks solace in the company of Vincent, a waiter at the Coffee shop where he frequently visits, who somehow always has an idea that what is churning in the narrator’s mind and always comes up with something which leaves the narrator amused, yet soothed.
This story constitutes the individual tale each of the six family members, during the ascent (or descent? ) of the family from a middle-class lifestyle to a wealthy, high-society one and the consequences and change in behavior thereafter.
Shanbagh has an eye for detail and has done a splendid job in evaluating and then putting down the thought process and psychological leanings of the different characters in the book. A gem of a read!
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