Victoria and Abdul -Book review-Shrabani Basu

While reading this book , I had often wondered how this interesting and enigmatic association of a British Monarch and her Indian teacher “Munshi ” had escaped the keen eyes of historians. In Hindi , the word “Munshi ” is more traditionally used for accountants of small businesses but this “Munshi” was definitely much more than to Queen

Much has been written about the times of Raj but this unconventional relationship was partly concealed as systematically the evidences were purged after Queen’s death .The teacher and his family were driven away from their homes .All the correspondences were burnt or confiscated and Munshi’s family was hounded upto India to wipe away any residual documents .It was as if the indulgence that the Queen was allowed in her later years was a matter of great shame to the Monarchy and earlier it was forgotten the better it was. Further, the descendants of Abdul Karim had left the subcontinent after partition of India and had settled in Karachi [Pakistan], which further helped to fade away the memories .Post Indian independence ,many historical buildings such as the tomb of Abdul Karim after his death had also fallen into neglect . Fortunately , as the Queen’s journal were in Urdu [Persian script]and they were left alone by foreign historians ,it helped the author a great deal to analyze this relationship .

This book’s claim to fame was its adaptation into a major motion picture [Stephen Frier’s film by the same name ] seven years after it was written .It was initially written in 2010 by Shrabani Basu ,who after majoring in History from St Stephens College in New Delhi trained as a journalist and later joined the London Office of Ananda Bazar Patrika as their correspondent The book was republished one more time seven years later. She has many other books to her credit such as For King and another country ; Indian Soldiers on western Front ;Spy Princess-Life of Noor Inayat khan .The book ,Victoria and Abdul ,was a toil of five years and travel of three countries .

Queen Victoria , was the Queen of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901 . In 1876 , she adopted the additional title of” Empress Of India .Tall handsome ,24 years old , Abdul Karim was presented to the Queen at her Golden Jubilee celebration with the other Indian servants. Abdul Karim worked as an assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail and his father was a physician of traditional medicine .Though he was supposed to be with the Queen for a year but an incredible relationship happened and lasted more than a decade .

Though Queen was titular head ,but had always taken a keen interest in affairs of her Monarchy .She had strategically arranged the marriages of her children all throughout the Europe and was later known as the “Grandmother Of Europe and always had some kind of political influence in the country . But after the deaths of her husband , Albert, and later her Scottish gillie , John Brown , whose ring she took to her grave, she had an enormous emotional void in her life .None of the trappings of Monarchy or the presence of her big family could fill it .

Just at that point Abdul Karim entered Victoria’s life and he had all the qualities that Queen admired .He was soft spoken , well mannered ,gentle ,good looking ,proud of his heritage, learned and aware of current affairs .When Queen met Karim she was in her geriatric age group but that did not deter the Queen from forging a human relationship which even to the insiders including her own children was of the most bizarre kind .

Victoria had been brought up as an epitome of morality and the relationship was platonic to its core but it was a combination of various relationship in one . She was a mother, well wisher, guide ,employer and he was a companion ,teacher ,adviser to her .

Queen ,though did not travel to India but was always very inquisitive about this colony ,” The Jewel of the Empire “.Soon after her association with Abdul ,his influence on her was complete . Not only did she start learning the language but Indian curries were being cooked and attires were being worn in the household .Interestingly , the journals she kept of her lessons were of profound importance as they played a great role to unearth this beautiful relationship.

As far as Victoria was concerned, he was a part of her household and expected other members to accept Abdul .But the schism was much wider than the Queen imagined . Abdul lasted for almost ten years but it was almost a daily struggle for Queen to legitimize his position in the household as for rest of them, he was just a part of the” Black Brigade”

In the book “White Mughals “[2002] , written by Dalrymple ,we have witnessed that in early 18 th and early 19 th century, 1 in 3 British men in India were married to Indian women but as British supremacy got established, it was expected that the relations should be of ruler and ruled .We have to recall that post 1857, subcontinent had officially declared its War of Independence and though it was overtly quenched , covertly the milieu was most inappropriate for a relationship between a White Monarch and her Brown servant .

From times immemorial , unconventional human relationships had been under persecution .These relationships are perfectly legal but are not allowed to be preserved as some unspoken rules emerge from some corner . Rules of convention , Rules of race , Rules of religion ,Rules of color , Rules of hierarchy and God knows many other unheard of rules But the bonds of these relationships are much stronger and they resurface time and again with their whiff of eternity .

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FROM THE HOLY MOUNTAIN -A journey in the shadow of Byzantium-Author William Dalrymple

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs that I am a great history buff and anything related to history , I cannot keep away from it .In  the past ,I have restricted myself to Indian history as  relating to it was easy but the book I am going to share with you today is a travel book with its unique historical back drop .

William Dalrymple , one of my favorite authors is an authentic historian , who I have been following for the last so many years .He is of Scottish descent and has won numerous awards for travel writing and extensively researched history .

Author  has an intimate connection with India and his affection for the country is real .He  has embraced India more than many of us could and  through his eyes we have rediscovered New Delhi and India many times over .

His first published book ”In  Xanadu- A Quest “  is my most favorite , till date and I have a personally signed copy of the book , when I got it autographed from him at a Mini lit fest in New Delhi ,a couple of years back .I am sure, I would share this  book “In Xanadu -A Quest “  in my future blogs ,where he retraces the steps of Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Inner Mongolia in China .It is a travel writing full of interesting incidents and anecdotes  and   is written in a lighter vein and that’s what makes it all the more enjoyable .

In the book “From the Holy Mountain “ we take  both an  inward and outward journey of  the Holy land which was taken by an Orthodox Monk ,John Moschos in 587 AD with one of his young students ,Sophronius .

Author Dalrymple  took us on this journey almost 1500 years later .

John Moschos  later compressed the journey into a book called “Spiritual Meadow” . John Moschos ,in the book ,mentions about his personnel experiences with other monks ,the various miracle stories ,the ecstatic vision and other practices of Eastern monasticism .Interestingly ,Author Dalrymple ,during his journey found that so many of those practices were still prevalent even today , may be in some modified version .

Dalrymple  began his journey in Greece and then via Istanbul in Turkey ,Syria ,Lebanon , Israel  and then concluded in Egypt .The journey included a part of Byzantine empire ,of middle ages ,which was considered eastern Roman empire, under Great King Constantinople ,who in his later life embraced Christianity .

Christianity has been historically a middle eastern religion with its origin in Judaism .In the initial years it was practiced in secrecy as it had conflict with Judaism and early Pagan Roman practices .Then the church meant gathering or community , rather  than a building or structure .Such teachings or  churches were founded by early disciples of Jesus  as they travelled to the various parts of the world .

It became legal to practice Christianity under Emperor Constantinople in Roman Empire  around 313 AD .His vision was to bring the whole Roman Empire together .But the practices of the Christians in the eastern parts  of the Empire were very  different than that of the western counterpart .Orthodox Christianity or the Eastern Christians gave more stress on  physical and mental ascetism .Such practices also mirrored in Sufism , Vendantic mysticism and Buddhist psychology .

Whereas the head of the Western counterpart is Pope , Eastern Christianity is spread out under various religious heads  with individualistic teachings ,in various parts of the World .

As author visited these ancient monasteries, he gave us numerous accounts of  how the orthodox monks competed against each other in physical and mental deprivation for a divine connection .It was interesting to note that such practices overlap among the various religions of those times . As  per author’s comments, rules for practicing religions were  more porous as compared . Even  today , people  in the rural area of the land of  different faiths, during their difficult times , prayed  at the shrines of these orthodox monks and  performed  animal sacrifices .

In ancient days people with money, commissioned important buildings and works of art to give them a societal presence .Similarly ,in   Emperor Constantinople’s time the concept of  Basilica was gradually taking shape and churches were being built , where people would come together and stress on inner transformation rather than outer ritualistic Pagan practices.

Author has a keen eye for architecture as we have  noted in his past books and he describes the monasteries in great details whatever he could as most of them are in states of great dilapidation secondary to antiquity ,violence and no maintenance . But it was amazing to know  that few of those which are still in one piece and functional are practicing the faith exactly what they did 1500 years earlier .

In the book “Spiritual Meadow “ ,John Moschos  described about the practices of miracle healing by the Saints of those times . Author presented many such instances in his usual tongue in cheek fashion where present day monks are preaching about the Saints .

As we travelled with the author through the modern day cities and onto the remote places of worship ,we noted the political turmoil ,unrest and a constant fear of persecution among the  minority residents .Christianity has systematically  been routed out  from its  place of  origin and more  and more people are  moving west wards for a better and secure life .

These areas from time immemorial has been under great strife .Cradle of three great religions of the world ,Christianity ,Islam and Judaism  has always  been  a socio politically disturbed region.   Peace never returned to these areas and this   journey itself   seemed  like  a challenging adventure .

Amongst the many other present days ironies of the Modern World ,The Holy Land ,has not witnessed a lasting peace for the last two centuries  and we really pray for a miracle when the true essence of Humanity and Religion would prevail.

Wishing you all  a happy Easter weekend .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pale view of the Hills – Author -Kazuo Ishiguro

A Pale view of the Hills – Author -Kazuo Ishiguro

pale view ofhills

As I mentioned in my past blogs that  author Kazuo Ishiguro has been my discovery of 2017 and it has been an extremely joyful experience reading his books .

He is the Nobel prize winner of English Literature of 2017 and is based in England .Author is of Japanese descent and  “A pale View of the Hills” had been one of his earlier books where a part of the story is based in post war Nagasaki .

The protagonist is  a Japanese woman , Etsuko ,who resides in an apartment complex with her husband .It is a very traditional house hold where she is a perfect wife and a daughter-in -law and is pregnant with her first child  . The times are post war ,when  the country is coming to terms with  the devastation of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People have lost lots of near and dear ones and are making difficult decisions in life.

We witness , as  the times are changing ,so are societal mores and people are not satisfied with the past ways and they are looking for ways to better their lives .

On the surface Etsuko  approves of her own  life and disapproves of the ways of her friend Sachiko who is a single mom and  is trying to raise her daughter in these difficult times .But Sachiko is not very hopeful about her and her daughter’s future Nagasaki  and wants to leave for greener pastures with her American boy friend who does not seem to be very responsible .

We meet the same Etsuko in her later part of life in England when her daughter from her first husband has committed suicide and she is a single woman who is adjusting to the ways of her, second daughter ,from her second husband in a foreign land .

As like other Ishiguro novels , a lot is being conveyed than what it appears to be and hence  it leaves us with many interpretations.

In the book ,our protagonist in her early part of life, represents a woman of  a traditional society, who is expected to fulfill her roles without getting her own expectations fulfilled .We see her first husband who is a hard working man and a good son but emotionally leaves a big void in her life as her husband .

Her father in law who loves them as a family but   expects a certain kind of subservience from the younger generation and  cannot come to terms with the ways of the present generation .It is totally new to him that there could be a different point of view than his, as he is older, however wrong or right that could be .

Etsuko befriends  Sachiko who is a  single mom. She  would do anything to be freed of her present life.  where she would have to spend it at her Uncle’s place and  she  is ready to embark on a journey even  with a slippery foot hold .

Sachiko’s daughter , Mariko , who is about eight years old and is  very emotionally disturbed  She does not have a stable home and does not go to school because of financial hardships .She hates her mother’s American friend and does not want to leave her pets and the country.

When we come to the second part of the novel which is told in the first part of the book ,we do not know how Etsuko met her second husband , how she came to England and how happy she was in her later life but possibly by telling the story of Sachiko, she tells it all .

Though the story is based in post  world war -II times but as we read it we know it is still so contemporary .Even after so many years , it is still our story .

Etsuko still represents us as a modern day woman where you  are expected to relinquish your wishes on the altar of  life, if they do not concur. We take the blame and are ready to be blamed for every thing  if  some outcomes are not as expected .

Etsuko’s daughter from her first husband commits suicide as she is not able to adjust to her  new surroundings and I am sure it would always be  the mother who would be cited as the cause , who decided to take a drastic step and  did not prove to be a good mother .

Etsuko’s second daughter who was possibly born in the UK and does not want to be at her mother’s side even in her trying times as she has a life of her own and has her own ways .As a mother , she has to accept it to keep the mother daughter  relationship going .

Its ironical that women after embarking on a long journey from the past times and even after achieving so many mile stones, is agreeable to her vulnerable status .The society is always ready to send her on a guilt trip if she decides to carve out a path for herself .The cistern starts leaking from all  the places if she does not prove to be a good glue .

As always , Ishiguro is  a master story teller and had perfected his art even in his earlier books .”Pale View Of the Hills “is an extremely interactive novel and lets us have many school of thoughts  and he  maintains his usual style of camouflaged simplicity .His  description of the war in subtlety without going into the gruesomeness of it makes it more readable .We get a glimpse of Japan as a very traditional society with its own pros and cons .

‘On a lighter note, we have to be extremely alert while reading his books and cannot skip pages or dose off or you  would have to go back to it again .

It was wonderful sharing with you an amazingly beautiful novel .

Have a great weekend and would talk to you soon .

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness – Book review – Author [Arundhati Roy ]

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness – Book review – Author [Arundhati Roy ]

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After a  long wait and long means really long ,after  almost two decades, we did get to read Arundhati Roy’s second fiction .She is an Indian author who writes in English and is based in India .Her first book  ,God Of Small Things , catapulted her as one of the most brilliant writers of her time .It won her the Man Booker Prize and the book was translated into almost forty languages .The book was a masterpiece in itself and I do not know how many times I have read it .She has many non fictions to her credit in between the works of her fiction .

The book “Ministry Of Utmost Happiness” is in two parts . In the first part her protagonist is from that part of society who are considered anomalies of the society . They are acknowledged and tolerated.and with time they are supposed to fade away .

Anjum , who is a transgender is a resident of the Older part Of Delhi .Older part of Delhi is famous for its delicious meals, poetry , historical monuments and narrow bylanes . Her mother inspite  of knowing about her ambiguous sex , tried to raise her as a male child as it is the preferred sex .But all her mother’s efforts fail . Anjum’s inner conflicts prevails over her social obligations and she decides to break free . She moves to a place called “khwabgah “[Dream Palace } where after initiation rites she is inducted into the group of transgenders.The residents of Khwabgah call the real  world” Duniya”.

Anjum is happy in  her new life and accepts the usual challenges of a transgender . She gets her share of fame as she becomes some kind of spokesperson for the transgenders . Mother hood happens to her accidentally as she finds an abandoned girl on the steps of  a Mosque .The child is raised by all the residents of the commune  and Anjum takes her responsibilities very seriously

But life takes a dramatic turn when she goes on a pilgrimage to pray for her child’s good health .She returns as a different person and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and decides to leave her home for the most unexpected destination which she calls her as her new home .

In the second part , we move to the newer part of Delhi where again author has chosen a very unconventional protagonist .She is an architect  who has no family and she supports herself by doing various part time jobs .She does not have a sought after complexion and has  equally unaccepted ways of life , but  she is being wooed by three men .She is a soul mate for one and marries the other two . As protagonist Tilo ,follows her love , we get to see the disturbed State of Jammu and Kashmir in close quarters where India is fighting a proxy war .

In a very fascinating way ,author connects both the parts of the book as both her protagonists very interestingly meet each other .

Author has once again aced in her art and had been brilliant in this venture .As her protagonists navigate their lives , she introduces numerous characters who had been described to perfection which makes this book a must read . Author describes interesting anecdotes throughout and those who are familiar with those geographical areas would really relish them Political commentary continues throughout the book and she touches upon various political mile stones of the 80s .She presents various political character of those times and gives them wrapping of her own personnel interpretation which gives the book a humorous touch .  She is honest , brave and stark about her opinions  when she describes the religious riots of Gujrat or Post assassination riots of Mrs Gandhi or Union Carbide gas leakage .

Both the protagonists are considered other than normal in Indian society .Her treatment of both the characters are so close to real that one marvels at our own country and its paradoxes to the extreme .

Though India is vying for one of the top economic powers of the World , it is a very traditional country in spirit .The surface calm holds it all together but any slight ripple breaks it all loose .Any aberration from the perceived normal brings out the worst in the society and one keeps wondering what caused this bipolar behavior. The gentle Indian changes into some thing else.

The threshold of tolerance is getting lower day by day and  counter expression by violence is getting to be the new normal .The recent outrage and protests that a Movie “Padmavat” has caused amongst the Northern part of India has taken us by surprise .It is a film based on the story of an ancient  Rajput queen , Padmavati ,who commits self immolation also known as” Sati” when her husband looses the kingdom to an enemy King . Sati had been a past tradition which had been prohibited by law in the colonial India . A mere film which could cause so much outrage in the country makes us wonder that how could  the same India, which is vying to be the biggest world IT human resource could react to a cinematic expression in such a way !

Wishing you all a happy February .

 

 

 

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

babies

Never let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

 

 

Kazuo Ishiguro was my discovery of 2017 .No wonder, his  inimitable style of writing has catapulted him to his present stature .As I mentioned in my past blogs that Kazuo Ishiguro is an author of Japanese descent and is currently based in the UK .He has won many literary awards including the Nobel Prize of literature in 2017 .

This was his second book that I read after “The Remains of the Day “.This book had also been made into a motion picture .

The story is based in England , in a residential school , Hailsham .Initially though it appears to be an usual residential school but after the initial pages one knows that a lot is amiss .The characters of the story do not have a last name . Their parents or their families  are never mentioned and they are being taken care by their guardians.

As you start to wonder whether it is an upper class orphanage , you gradually realize that the author is introducing the concept of donations . Then it suddenly dawns that this is a futuristic story about human cloning .

Author has based his story in the 70’s and here he has taken literary liberty , as in 1966 , the idea of human cloning was merely being entertained and the first cloned sheep Dolly happened in 1996

Since then there has been a lot of debates in the scientific world about the concept of human cloning .Science has always been   a double edged sword and some  times it can cause more harm than good . But science is also a necessary evil for the mankind .Its only the scientific inventions that has brought wealth and conveniences to our society .

In the medical world , physicians and patients are always struggling with the scarcity of organ donors. With the medical advancements though transplant medicine has improved a lot, but healthy donors are always scarce .

In the book  “Never  let me go ” ,as the “students” of the school are being raised as potential donors , they are being given the best possible education and training in art .They have all the emotions of a regular human being . They know how to love, hate ,betray and appreciate music and art .

As they all grow up and are ready to leave their school to serve the purpose , then the tale of poignancy begins .They realize that their  destiny has been decided .They are allowed to behave as close as possible to human beings but with a limited shelf life .They would be leading their adult lives in two groups as”Carers or Donors”. They are initially trained as” Carers” but later they have to submit themselves as” Donors” .After their fourth donation , they are considered “complete” and allowed to fade away  As readers we do not have to go through the details of medical part of donations but  we do share the emotional journey of the characters .

In this back drop , author weaves a beautiful love story where Kathy and Tommy , two “students” of  “Hailsham ” go through their journey of life . It is  a fascinating description of their trials and tribulations and opens in front of us the Pandora’s Box of difficult emotional implications .

The book has been written in his usual style of being  “deceptively simple “. One can call it  a science fiction sans the usual technicalities . In the medical world , physicians and patients are always struggling with the scarcity of organ donors. With the medical advancements though transplant medicine has improved a lot, but healthy donors are always scarce

Retail production of human beings for organ harvesting is a tyrannical option for scientists .Countries around the world are struggling with the moral and ethical implications of it .Should such human clones have the usual rights as  of the citizens of a country? Till what level of development should the clones be allowed to develop ?Would we be treating them well ?

As of now , we do not like to integrate our societies as much as we like to segregate . We love to segregate by Walls , color , race , religion, gender economic class, sexual identity .What would happen when we would create one more group to segregate them ?

As part of human nature we love power  and I wonder under the garb of science ,would we be raising our ugly head of greed and unscrupulousness  one more time .

Thoughts to ponder on !

Wishing you all a very happy New Year 2018

 

 

 

The Kabul Beauty School -Author -Deborah Rodriguez

The Kabul Beauty School -Author -Deborah Rodriguez

 

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I  have been happily digressing since my second stint at blogging . I was earlier restricting myself to Indian authors who were writing in English Language .Kazuo Ishiguro is a talent house and I would definitely be reading more of his works but the book I would be sharing with you all today is definitely worth a read .

Not too long ago , when I was on a short trip to India , I visited my usual  Bookshop in the Southern part  of New Delhi .I always carry my own list of books as time is always short and it is definitely not easy to discern the kind of books you want to buy .But the owner of the shop always has a bigger pile than mine .He  recommended me this book , rather, a couple of her books and I had no regrets .

” The Kabul Beauty  School ”  is authored by Deborah Rodriguez .This is her memoir when she was in Afghanistan for few years . She is an American author ,who had decided to volunteer as a member of a small NGO, during the times , when Taliban had just been driven away from mainstream Afghanistan politics .Though physically the Talibs were not present , but their  unwritten rules pretty much dominated the country During those times , lots of well meaning people and organizations had gone to the country to help  it  being rebuilt .

Deborah [Debbie] ,in those days  was trying to come to terms with her second divorce She decided to  train herself in disaster management and took the plane to Afghanistan  She found out that she was the odd one out of the group as most of the other members were  related to health care  . She was a beautician by profession .But surprisingly , she was welcomed with open arms as most of the Beauty salons had been destroyed by the religious fanatics .Whatever threadbare services were available ,It was being  practiced with antique tools .

Her one time visit to the country  changed her life forever .Besides the rampant destruction and  poverty , what moved her the most was the plight of women .Subjugation and disempowerment of women was to its extreme .Women were not allowed any education . They had to follow a strict dress code and were not allowed to travel anywhere without a male member . They were not allowed to sit in the front of the car, leave aside driving .Moral degradation was abysmal as young girls were bartered by the family due  for money , security or other favors .

In this hostile terrain , Debbie , dared to think about  empowering women with whatever talent or resources she had ,so that,  at least a few women of the country could live  a life of dignity .She knew what she was getting into but that did not deter her .She coordinated with all the big names in the Beauty World of the US  and garnered for their support .

Philanthropy is  a  part of US culture and  she could get more than what she expected from various quarters and she could start her “Beauty without Borders ”  the training school and Salon .During her five years stay , it was always  two steps backward and one step forward .Love and marriage happened to her in Afghanistan  but initially , that too , more so keeping in mind , the  extra local help, she would need to keep her school and Salon running .

It was living on a daily basis but what kept her going was, the  indomitable spirit of Afghan women, who were surmounting all the obstacles of their life to carve out a better life for their family and themselves .Not to mention the lack of basic amenities ,intimate partner violence ,ludicrous laws of the state …the list was very long

The book is an easy read and it keeps you glued to it .Her sense of humor resurfaces again and again as we go through the book .Its appeal is that where we ordinary mortals do not dare to venture ,we get a first  hand account of the happenings .

As we read the book , we appreciate her courage and strength of character .She has a very spontaneous attitude and listens to her heart more than her head and that’s what makes her so  special. She took the call and  risked her everything ,even life, at lots of instances, so that the poor women could have a better life .Her only reward was that by the time she left,  she had trained  enough teachers, so that the skill could be disseminated even in her absence .The women who were trained by her were earning more than 400 percent of what their family earning was before .

I would not call it an eye opener but definitely it jolts you from your slumber that  still there are lots of places in the world where women are living a sub human life . By  being mute spectators or by just doing donations  ,we are not definitely doing  enough .We need more voices , more platforms and more courage .

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas .

 

 

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day – A literary treasure

 

It’s been  almost seven months that  I am posting something new  on my blog site .I  was not being lazy .My professional duties kept me away. In the process , reading took a back seat .But in my hearts of heart , I knew something was amiss.

I  have never had a chance to read Kazuo Ishiguro before and it was my loss .He is this year’s Nobel Prize Winner for literature .He is of Japanese descent based in the UK .I  had mostly confined myself to the books written by Indian authors who were writing in English Language . But once I read his  book , I realized  I  what  I  was  missing out .I have ordered some of his books online and along the line I hope to share them with you .

Lately my blogs have been about books written by authors of critical acclaim .I neither have the capacity nor intention to review those books .But when I read something worthwhile ,I feel more people  with similar interests should experience the same inner bliss.

History always attracts me and in the book “The Remains of the Day ” the backdrop is of the period of  during the World Wars .We get to read a lot of literature of those times as European Continent was undergoing upheavals and newer equations were being visualized between the countries of the Continent .UK was one of the key players in the Wars which changed the path of the history .

The Story teller of this book is an English Butler , Stevens, who is an older gentleman who is currently being employed by an American Master .Stevens   embodies all the qualities of a true gentleman and  a perfect butler .In the past , he  was employed by a British Lord , Lord Darlington . Lord Darlington had a significant political influence in his country and had  association with great political figures of the time . Their abode was called Darlington Hall and they held meetings of great importance there . He had a staff under him to manage the household and the great events that took place there .He took great pride in his profession and would continually try to excel himself . He would also follow the Hand book of the great butlers to be the best of the best

Stevens never allowed himself any other privileges in life . His only aim in his life was to be of complete assistance to his Lord  and in the process there could be his small contribution in shaping the history of his country and the World .His dedication was so complete that anything that proved a hindrance was never allowed by him to happen .

As his ailing father lays in the death bed in the same house ,he did not deem it appropriate to be at his bedside as it would have caused inconvenience to his Lord and his great mission .A  house keeper who worked under him and both of them were interested in each other but he never encouraged her or himself to go forward on that path .

But there is no force in this world that  can stop the changing times .Darlington  Hall changed hands and he gets his employment with the new Master . His American master is very generous and offers him his car and gas money to take a break and visit the country side which he had never done before .There is another interest as he would be meeting the same house keeper at the end of the journey .

Author takes us on  this journey as Steven introspects about his life revisits his convictions .What seemed right and true in his younger days did not seem now. His perfect life had some big voids that was impossible to fill now .

Author  is brilliant in his art form and has used very simple English .We get a glimpse of the  Britain’s country side and the rural life of those days . The higher standard that people held themselves accountable to  in those days  are getting rarer and rarer day by day .Author reiterates that as we approach our twilight years we realize that loved ones are the  most treasured possessions of our life and they should be chased with the same intensity as other goals of life .

It’s  a book which will be in your memory forever and I am looking forward to reading and sharing other books by the same author .

Happy Holidays .