One of my favorite authors ,Arundhuti Roy , has once more ventured into the fiction world .Her upcoming novel “Ministry of Utmost Happiness ” is eagerly awaited .Her last fiction ” The God of small things “was published more than two decades ago .It had won “The Man Booker Prize” in 1997 and I feel , it is still one of the masterpieces in the world of English literature .It still enthralls me when I re read it after so many years .
In “God Of small things “, the story weaves around a set of twins ,aged seven , Astha and Rahel , who had to be displaced from their own home to their maternal grandparent’s home as their mother had to break away from her abusive and alcoholic husband .The back drop is a small town of one of the southern states of Kerala .
They are happy and adjusted in their own world and have accepted the quirks of adults around them but every thing changes with the visit of their beautiful young cousin , Sophie .They grudgingly admit her to their own circle but life changes forever for them .
We get a sad glimpse into the world of children .Their dependent and fragile world is always hanging by a delicate thread from the adult world on which they have no control whatsoever .Life makes them do somersaults when their surrounding adult world succumbs to circumstances , greed , ambition ,lust or any other wrong choices of life .They just hold on to their own being as best as they can and wait for the storm to pass.
We also witness the struggle of a single woman who made unconventional choices and faced its failures .She belonged to the higher echelon of the society but that made no difference to her not being accepted and facing its aftermath .The family support system which is Indian society’s stronghold can abandon you when you need them the most .Superiority and priority of family value system takes precedence and you are ready to sacrifice your most near and dear ones on its altar .
Her book gave us a vivid picture of the cast system and its role .Cast system is another societal blight which still holds relevance in today’s world .Destiny plays its unwanted hand and one has to bear the cross all their life .Politicians in India rely heavily on cast system as their vote bank is dependent on them .Rather than enlightening and educating the masses about redundancy of cast system they thrive on fueling the divisiveness .
Author Roy’s brilliant and multilayered interpretation of each character , each situation and each turn of events is par excellence .She has worn many hats and has many non fictions to her credit .This book , though written many years ago , still ,sadly mirrors even our today’s society .