Blind Faith - Sagarika Ghose - Good Read

Just finished reading Blind Faith by Sagarika Ghose... Well, I know its a late read. The book was apparently released in 2007.. nevertheless.. Here are my two cents...

The book is slightly short (as in terms of other books that I have been recently). The story is er.. excuse me... I am feeling lazy.. so I will give you the same blurb that got me hooked...

"A stunning and sumptuous tale of the boundaries between love and hate, truth and deception, set against the anticipation for the Kumbh Mela: the biggest festival in India. When Mia, acutely depressed by the suicide of her artist father, meets Karna, a young and mesmeric guru who bears a startling resemblance to a figure in her father's painting, she feels compelled to follow him all the way from London to India. And if marrying Vik, the suave businessman her mother so approves of, is the way to get there, so be it. Once in India, Mia learns about Vik's mother, Indi. She is a figure of great power, inordinately beautiful and gifted, but blind. Her rage ensnares and yet rejects anyone who tries to come close. Mia must travel to the Kumbh Mela, the festival on the banks of the Ganges, to make sense of everything: her own confused love for two men, Indi's anguish, her own family's history. And yet when she arrives, nothing is as she thought it would be; through a change in perspective, she comes to realise the limitations of vision! This is a remarkable tale of hope, destruction and ultimately of rebirth, as one young woman explores the shifting sands of illusion and truth."

It's a pretty bold plot. Amazing story.. though I felt that it could have been handled better. The character of Indi, is akin to John Galt's ... It could have been drafted more carefully to give it the 'cult classic' feel. The story meanders here and there, aimlessly in the middle, but then I suppose Sagarika has a sudden revelation, and she brings it back on track, abruptly. The characterization has been really the strong point in this novel. Indi's father, Indi, Mia, Vikram, Karna all have got their own aura in the novel. Karna stands out. His enthusiasm and silent determination, beautifully camouflage his true nature. The theme itself was different with a painting playing a pivotal role. The ego clash between Indi and her son, and the degree to which both of them are willing to go, is at times, realistic and at the same time, a little unreal too.

The Kumbh Mela has been beautifully described, and my heart simply yearns for the day, when I will be able to see the Kumbh Mela myself. The scene has been very vividly described. I presume, its an 'aankhon-dekha haal'-- To quote from a journalist. :) :P
She has very good powers of observation, and this is seen here quite evidently.

Some lines stand out in the novel. Though there are plenty, I am quoting only a few...

" The holy man and the businessman wouldn’t understand each other, but she understood them both perfectly. She understood that she would never be abandoned again, she understood that she had jumped off the lonely wall to find that love was growing at her feet like two trees slanted in two different directions. "

" This was a spreading realization from the stomach: that the universe was just an arena of vast commonsense. God was natural and ordinary. There were no final arrivals or final departures. Death was nothing but an ordinary turn of the head in another direction. The end or the abyss was spectacularly safe, it was crowded, it was cosy. There was nothing to fear.

Madness drained away, leaving her limp. She was many different people living at the same time. What was there to fear? If one of her existences died out, another would live somewhere else in another space and time. She was an old lady, a young girl, an old man, she was everyone and everyone was her.

And death? Simply walking along a highway and turning down a familiar alley. That was all there was to it.

She was in a protected place.

God was irrelevant here, belief or unbelief didn’t matter. What mattered was this, this human crowd, reaching upwards into a greying sky, lifting off into a greater understanding of themselves for a few seconds. This grave, serious crowd, not celebratory, not festive, yet dignified with tragedy and forgiveness, was whatever god was. In the embrace of this crowd, for thousands of years, at this very spot, lay the realization that death was the safest thing on earth."

"This was their moment, this sheepish moment. The spectacle they had helped to create. The water was meaningless in itself. It was they, the pilgrims, who raised it to godliness. No wonder they looked on at the river with possessive pride."

There are several passages that I would like to quote verbatim.. :) But then Sagarika might not feel good about it...

For the uninitated... Sagarika Ghose attended St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi before winning a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. A journalist for seventeen years, she lives in New Delhi and is the senior editor and prime-time news anchor on channel CNN-IBN. She is married to Rajdeep Sardesai.

P.S:- Yet to start Nine Lives by Dalrymple.. Got hold of Museum of Innocence by Pamuk,Also Snow by Pamuk .. So right now confusion, as to which one to start... :) :P

Saturday, December 26, 2009 by Hari
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Comments (2)

  1. hey man what would be a good essay topic to write on this book? I have to write an essay and i need a good topic. If you could help me out that would be sweet. Thanks man

  2. @Anon :- You can write on the philosophical aspects of the Kumbh Mela.. Now that the Kumbh Mela is actually happening in Hardwar, you are bound to get good material from newspapers and internet.. All the Best :) :D

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