Monday, 18 May 2015

Mini-Reviews: Mahashweta and The Old Man and His God by Sudha Murthy.

Book: Mahashweta 

Author: Sudha Murthy 

Pages: 188 

Read On: Paperback 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day 

Plot Summary: Anupama looked into the mirror and shivered with shock. A small white patch had now appeared on her arm.' Anupama's fairytale marriage to Anand falls apart when she discovers a white patch on her foot and learns that she has leukoderma. Abandoned by her uncaring in-laws and insensitive husband, she is forced to return to her father's home in the village. The social stigma of a married woman living with her parents, her steother's continual barbs and the ostracism that accompanies her skin condition force her to contemplate suicide. Determined to rebuild her life against all odds, Anupama goes to Bombay where she finds success, respect and the promise of an enduring friendship. Mahashweta is an inspiring story of courage and resilience in a world marred by illusions and betrayals. This poignant tale offers hope and solace to the victims of the prejudices that govern society even today.

Review: First up, lets just get his out of the way- this wasn't my favourite Sudha Murthy book. I didn't hate it or anything like that but it is clearly not her best book out there. 

There were things I liked about this book..

-It dealt with an important social issue-having leukoderma and the unnecessary stigma and shame that comes with it. I thought this issue was dealt with sensitivity and genuineness. 

-The struggles Anupama faces and the time it takes her to stand on her feet and regain her former confidence was real. I was glad that she didn't just heroically overcome her difficult situation in a jiffy. Things like these take time and finding yourself and your self-worth takes time and it was shown really well in the book. 

-Anupama's time in Bombay, her job, her new friends, the kindness of strangers and her quiet determination to get her life back on track were my favourite bits in the book.

- I really, really liked the ending. More than liked I really appreciated the ending. It was certainly the right way to end the book.

There were a few things I didn't enjoy in this book. For one the romance. Now, the romance wasn't the main part of the book but it as still an important aspect. The betrayal  of Anupama's husband should feel intense and horrible given how much he loved her. But the whole romance and falling in love with each other felt very artificial and superficial to me. It always seemed like a crush or lust or longing and never like real love to begin with. So him leaving her at the first sign of trouble wasn't shocking in the least. Plus they didn't even know each other for  long enough, they met, he fell for her and was drawn to her and the wedding was arranged soon after. So really, his leaving her is not a big surprise.

The book was an alright read. I wasn't blown away by it but I didn't mind reading it either. 

Rating: 3/5

Book: The Old Man and His God

Author: Sudha Murthy 

Pages: 131

Read On: Paperback 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day 

Plot Summary: 'People often ask me how it is that so many interesting things happen only to me. To them I reply that in life's journey we all meet strange people and undergo many experiences that touch us and sometimes even change us. If you have a sensitive mind and record your observations regularly, you will see your life too is a vast storehouse of stories.'

 -As she goes about her work with the villagers, slum-dwellers and the common men and women of India Sudha Murty, writer, social worker and teacher, listens to them and records what they have to say. Their accounts of the struggles and hardships which they have at times overcome, and at other times been overwhelmed by, are put together in this book. A blind old man in a little Shiva temple offers the author shelter and peace in the midst of a storm and emerges as the most generous, unselfish soul she has ever met. A little stone bench under a banyan tree in a village in Karnataka is the perfect place for travellers to rest and forget their burdens for a while as they chat with the man sitting there patiently listening to them, a better counsellor than one can find anywhere in the city.There are stories about people's generosity-and selfishness-in times of natural disasters like the tsunami; women struggling to speak out in a world that refuses to listen to them and tales of young professionals trying to find their feet as they climb up the corporate ladder.Told simply and directly from the heart, The Old Man and His God is a collection of snapshots of the varied facets of human nature and a mirror to the souls of the people of India.

Review: I always enjoy these little real-life stories full of heart, inspiration, courage and everyday heroism. So I enjoyed the stories in this book too. There are stories of goodness, and kindness and also examples of selfishness and rudeness and many other very human qualities. 

I enjoyed this book and enjoyed the evening I spent reading it. 

However I know this book is not for everyone. Some might find it a little preachy or goody. So read this if you enjoy these sort of stories. 

Rating: 4/5 

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