Monday, June 25, 2007

Book Review - Eimona

is a gripping tale of co-existing contrasts in a tech-savvy, money-minted new-age India – abundance & deprivation, loneliness & celebration and advancement & regression – seen through the eyes of an aging protagonist of the old order who sees a future that begins to dictate even before it beckons from the mists of the unknown.

Whether it's the endearing protagonist Subbu, his grandson Bharat, Bharat's go-getter wife Indu, their innocent daughter Maya or the several others who circle the life of this family of four - the author brings out the most profound emotions lurking in the seemingly inconsequential actions of every character.

The author’s vivid imagery of the world around him is as hilarious as it is heart-wrenching – we have smart career-women seeking ready-to-deploy hubby packs of good looks & meek authority; the sophisticated demeanor of professional life degenerating into shabby movements of retired confinement; societal code of conduct for bereavement and celebration; the incidental well-being of families blessed with ample space, adequate money and less time; and of course - the umpteen vultures of culture selling best-of-breed solutions for fighting depression, blooming love lives, deciphering child psychology besides a host of social and anti-social issues disconcerting the high-achievers of the new generation.

The trinkets of observation - principally seen through the roving eyes of Subbu - are laced with effortless humour - an astute blend of Wodehousean wordplay and Chaplinesque graphic display. They subtly highlight the self-defeating ingredients of self-centered strides - the intrusive courtesy of shopping malls, fleeting values of modern families, switching loyalties of corporate worlds, matrimonies bound by contractual obligation and supersonic success stories demented by brimming insecurity.

However, the perfect poise of Subbu’s detached tongue-in-cheek commentary is somewhat lost in the volcanic climax of the novel. Knowingly or unknowingly, the author tilts the moral scales in Subbu’s favour rather forcefully. Towards the end, Subbu has his stamp of incisive authority virtually on every episode. One wonders whether the hypocrisy of the new order could have come about more subtly.

Nevertheless, the pace of the novel is extremely alluring. The fag-end drama, in what’s a social commentary, is narrated with best-seller finesse. In fact, the novel has all the essential elements to make it an engaging film plot.

This is a one-of-a-kind effort that makes you wake up and take notice. And the story is best read, not described.

G B Prabhat is the founder of Anantara Solutions - a second generation outsourcing company engaged in business & technology consulting worldwide.