Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Hungry Tide - Amitav Ghosh

I am not sure what prompted me to pick up this book and buy. But I am thankful to that moment when I decided to read this book.

It's an awesome piece of work. My thoughts might be coloured by the fact that I have a very intense liking towards Bengali culture and it's people. But above that, I can say that it's a good literary monument.

The book describes the crux of the human soul. There is no hero or villain in the story. The theme is not gripping like some thriller. But there is something in the entire setup which is exotic, inexplicably beautiful. While beginning a chapter of the book, a reader feels as curious as a child opening the christmas gifts. Each page brings a new surprise to the readers. Immersing them in the plot and the surrounding events.

The story is based in some backwater region of West Bengal. The description of the scenic beauty is amazing and touches the most sensitive parts of the neurons of our brain.

Categorically it describes relationships. Relationships between strangers. Relationship between humans and nature. Relationship between humans and animals. Relationship of yourself with you. Relationship of a soul with another soul.

There are mainly 5-6 characters in the novel. There is this Kanai - who is a typical succesful urbane and sophisticated person from Delhi. Despite his external demeanor, he is not characterised as a hero.

There is this girl, Piya, who can be called the heroin of the story. She does not understand the indian languages yet she understands the human nature. The book revolves around her and her feelings towards a rustic young man who is another strong character of the novel.

Again, there is this character of Kanai's uncle. He is described as almost a non-entity but yet, the entire book surrounds his diary which Kanai keeps reading. And the secrets of human souls and feelings that are revealed from the diary are just mind boggling. This character reminds me of people who are never succesful in life. Success neither in their own eyes, nor in the eyes of world. Yet the world is full of such people and they live their lives. But at the same time, there is a hidden desire in their psyche to succeed in life. They always try to give meaning to their life and ultimately die struggling. As 50 Cent says, "get richer or die trying". Ofcourse, this is a bit off track as this character did not have a crave for money alltogether. But I guess you got the point.

The plot describes how the beast (tiger) plays a vital role in the fears of the villagers. They don't even take its name because it is considered ill omen. And in the end, it's the fear that saves Kanai from the beast in a symbolic encounter of his with it.

The story is an epitomization of Love, Sacrifice, The untold feelings, The inexplicable relationships, Human hearts.

Give it a try folks if you get some time to go through the book.