The first time I came across the title “Ghachar Ghochar” was through a book blogger who had only good things to say about this book. I was enticed and started looking for more reviews on Goodreads and Amazon before I decided to get the book. But there was one thing that held me back. The cover page didn’t go down well with me and I got reluctant to pick it up.
But the name of this book kept popping up again and again and I finally decided to pick it up with a thought that the book is just of 89 odd pages. Will be over in a jiffy.
Blurb: Ghachar Ghochar is a short story about a traditional Indian family of 6, which is struggling with one earning member living in a scrammed ant infested house. Each day is the same monotonous routine until one day, they hit a jackpot with spice business and with a shift in the bank balance, there is shift in the family dynamics. Their perspective towards people changes. Marriages are arranged, where one marriage falls flat on the face, the other is hanging by a loose rope as conflicts arise within the walls of the house.
Everything is haywire or let’s say Ghachar Ghochar, a term loosely used to describe a knot that can’t be undone.
Review: The cover of the book was the first thing that caught my sight. It brought myriad of thoughts in my head about what the story would be like. Would it be about unity, power, haterade, animosity, love, suppression. But putting all my inkling aside, I got this book on my kindle. Once I started, the book was not coming out of my head till I didn’t read it cover to cover. So I finished it in one day and spent the next few days just pondering upon it.
Ghachar Ghochar is a story about a not so, otherwise presumed, ordinary family. From being timid to a the one that causes turmoil, the family has shifted its ethos while traversing across the socioeconomic class. The book begins it’s narration from a small coffee shop by the son of the family, who is watching the commotion around him while minding his own business and is also trying to understand what’s really happening, both with an equal verve.
The book makes some amazing observations and remarks which had me want to highlight them. For example, lines like
“Words after all are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they have entered”
“……when the whole family stuck together, walking like a single body across the tightrope of our circumstances.”
“It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.”
These and many more thought-provoking lines left me wondering about the role of money and family and what weighs more on the scale of life. The author of the book Vivek Shanbag has written this book in Kannad, and the flawless translation doesn’t deviate from what the author says in his original version. While reading you will see a normal family saga but when you turn the last page will it occur to you what really happens when a family or a person savors the taste of wealth and loses the moral ground which was holding them strongly for so long.
The 6 characters, Appa, Chikkapa, Amma, Malti, Anita and the narrator, each have their ideologies sifting with time and money. Appa doesn’t agree to the new changes that money has brought around his family and maintains his silence to everything happening around him. Chikkapa is the new bread winner while Amma the server. Malti is spoilt by the hands of money and Anita, the daughter in law is finding it hard to adjust in a house which doesn’t value her opinion or presence. The narrator, the son of Amma and Appa, Anita’s husband, is like a highway, bending with each curve and accommodate what comes his way.
With these characters, Shanbag has weaved a tapestry of a tale that is honest and stark. I am glad I read this book and it was an experience in itself. A book which left me with many thoughts and observations.
If you like the review, do get a copy for yourself from Amazon.
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