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Archive for the ‘Kiran Desai’ Category

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The book is about a simpleton living in a town somewhere in the North of India. He works at the Post Office and leaves with his parents, sister and paternal grandmother. He is wont to reading the mails as they pass through his hands and is privy to many secrets of the townsfolk. One fine day he decides he is frustrated with his work and life and runs away to a nearby wood and ensconces himself in a Guava tree. He finds it immensely pleasurable to be in these peaceful surroundings bereft of any humans.

But his family pursues him and tries to persuade him to come back to the town, but they fail to elicit any response from them and he continues to sit on the tree. They decide to make him comfortable on the tree and fetch him a cot, an umbrella and other paraphernalia to make him comfortable. He accepts all of it and also the food cooked by them for him, but refuses to speak. Soon he becomes a spectacle and people from the town start coming to the wood to see him. Once he blurts out a secret of one of the townsfolk, that he has gleaned from the reading of the letters. This stuns the audience and after a couple more of such revelations the townsfolk regarding him as a seer who is blessed with ability to see into others life.

Soon they start peppering him with all sort of philosophical questions and questions about the problems that they are beset with. He resorts to replying in esoteric terms or in nonsensical terms or when he finds the grilling too much, he just chooses to ignore them. This enhances his image further and people from far off start visiting him.

His father sees and seizes this opportunity and starts minting money through various schemes of dubious nature. One involves his selling offering of flowers, coconuts etc to the devotees who buy and place it at the foot of his son. He they slowly takes back these offering and resells them the next day, making a neat profit. He also sells advertisement space to the companies that wish to advertise midst this crowd of people who come to see his son.

Looking at all the easy food a group monkeys, that was in the habit of troubling the women in the town, decide to stay put with him and he becomes known as the “Monkey Baba”.

One day the monkey’s get a taste of alcohol and soon they become addicted to it and start creating trouble in the process of trying to get alcohol from all possible sources. They create a nuisance to everybody.

The eminent folks of the town try and come up with their own plans to put an end to the menace of monkeys. The baba finds that his peace and calm have once again been destroyed. When finally the townsfolk agree upon plan and are just about to implement it the baba does the disappearing act again and goes away for good.

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