Book Reviews

“Ghachar Ghochar” – Book review of a short story

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.

the entangled rope aka Ghachar ghocharReview: 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.

Book cover of the Kannad version

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.

To read more book reviews on my blog, click here


By mummatalks

Mom of two brats, use to work as an analyst now a SAHM. Love books.

26 replies on ““Ghachar Ghochar” – Book review of a short story”

I liked the title of the book and also the unusual book cover. The term ghachar ghochar is so widely used and I am curious to know how it has been interpreted in this book. Knowing that its a translated version and still flawlessly done, I would want to give it a read.

The cover page and title of book both are good enough to raise the curiosity of readers. I liked the way you have reviewed it. I felt it would be interesting to read about an ordinary people who suddenly gain wealth and loses the moral ground which was holding them strongly for so long.

Ghachar Ghochar draws your attention with its title itself. The plot too looks different from the runof the mill and quite interesting at that. What I think weighs in its favour is the honest and rawness of the narrative.

What a quirky name for a book, Hansa … How do you get time to read with two growing up kids? … Ghachar Ghochar instantly got my attention by the way, and I ended up reading your book review from start to end. And just going by your review alone, the book should make for a good, interesting one-time read. I’ll go, grab this book from Amazon today 🙂

Trust me the name of the book really stuck in my mind, and I loved the review you shared. Yes, the book cover really seems not so interesting to me but after reading your review I understand why the author selected this book cover.

Recently I finished reading one and kind of hooked with non fiction and to continue my adventure will grab this book as it sounds interesting and different from my previous read. Thanks for sharing a detailed review. I too loved the cover of the book.

I agree with you title is quite quirky and the blurb got me into twists. I would love to read this book going by the crisp review you have here, Hansa. Such stories feel true in the appeal and to the conviction part.

as pointed out by many in the comments , i too find the title of the book quite interesting; interesting enough to grab the copy. and i also like your style of reviewing the book-very crisp!!

The title and cover of the book looks intriguing. The story line from your review sounds like a binge read for the weekend

I agree with you on the cover. But the title of the book is the main reason get attracted to it. The story sounds very different and I feel like reading it soon.

I read this book a long time back and although I seem to have forgotten most of its premise, your review reminded me of it. It’s an emotional story with so many life lessons. Must read it again.

I have not heard of this book but not am totally craving to read it given it’s unique name and the kind words you have penned about it buddy.

Wow the name of the book is quite intriguing and makes me pick it for sure. Ghachar Ghochar seems like a good replica of households in our country who are struggling to live and find balance amidst all the odds. Since its a family kind of story it seems quite appealing to me. Would love to read this.

Ghachar Ghochar draws your attention with its title itself. The plot too looks different from the runof the mill and quite interesting at that.

I have heard very good reviews about the book and your review also added stars to it. Shall soon pick this book and add in my next year TBR as I do not want to ditch this year reading list.

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