एक बुक जर्नल: Bhava - U R Ananthamurthy

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bhava - U R Ananthamurthy

Rating : 4/5
Novel was read between April 13th,2016 to April 15th,2016

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 183
Publisher: Penguin Books
Original Language: Kannada

First Sentence:
When Vishwanatha Shastri's eyes fell on the amulet around the neck of the man sitting opposite, he felt as if a demon had entered him.

Vishwanath Shashtri was dumb founded when he saw the amulet that Dinkar was wearing. The amulet looked similar to the one that his first wife Saroja used to wear. Dinkar was just a passenger in the train whom he had met by fate. But now he could see his eyes looked similar to Saroja.
Was this his wishful thinking? It has to be because he knew what he had done 45 years ago. He thought he had killed Saroja, believing her to be pregnant with another man's child. He has felt remorse since then and has tried to assuage his guilt by becoming reciter of holy verses(puranik). But, if Dinkar is Saroja's child then everything could change. He may not have been guilty and he could achieve peace at last.
Meanwhile,Dinkar ( a very popular TV star) has got tried of his life. He now belives he'll get the peace by renouncing everything. He has taken vow of Ayappa and is dressed accordingly. He has come here to visit a woman called Sitamma who he calls the other mother. He believes this is necessary for him to achieve peace. But when he reaches there a
a similar story is revealed here. The girl Gangubai whom Dinkar thought of his first love, he finds out that had been two timing him with his friend Narayan. Now the son,Prasad that the girl had  could be either his or Narayan's.
Did Vishwanath Shashtri's wife Saroja really had an affair? Did Shashtri really end up killing her?
Was Dinkar Shashtri's son? Why did Dinkar renounced his wealthy life?Will Dinkar achieve the peace that he so yearns?Whose son is Prasad?

I liked the book. Bhava  starts as a mystery tale but soon turns into something meta physical. The story revolves around the characters who are all trying to assuage their guilt. Vishwanath shashtri in a fit of anger and believing his wife to have cheated on him had attacked her. He thought he had killed her and had then taken to recite religious verses as a penance. But it doesn't have any affect on him.
Then there is Dinkar who's looking for peace but hasn't found it yet. He thought renunciation of materialistic things would give him peace but he's wrong about it. 
Then there is Narayan who has been carrying an affair with Gangu but can't marry her because of the society. Gangubai is of lower caste.
The three main characters are trying to find ways to overcome their feeling of guilt. They are suffering due to their bhava(existence).
The novel is different because in it the main characters are not able to find the answers to the questions they are searching for. Instead they accept what they have done and try to live their lives in a better way.
Then there is a character of Sitamma,mother of Narayan Tantri. She is so worldy in nature but at the same time she has learnt to keep the distance from the worldly affairs of her son and grandson. The only thing that she concerns herself is with the well being of these two creatures. She is at peace with herself and is somewhat of  cause of amazement to Shashtri and Dinkar. They are amazed that the peace that they had hoped to acquire through religion is easily achieved by her.
The thing that perplexed me was the relationship between Saroja and Shashtri. Saroja is very cool towards her husband and the reason for it is never revealed. Shahstri is also never shown to ask for it. I really wanted to know the story from Saroja's perspective. I wanted to know why she behaves in a way that she does. Is is because of Radha,Shashtri's mistress? There is no anger in Saroja's behaviour just complete denial of Shashtri's existence. Man, a house like that in which your spouse doesn't even acknowledges your existence would really be hell.
The only grouse that i had with the book was that the mysteries were never solved. Yes, the characters had made their peace it but as a reader it leaves something to be yearned. 
I liked the book. The characters are believable. The story moves at a decent pace and doesn't bores you at any particular time.
In our tradition we are taught to pay for our sins through penance. But can you really assuage your guilt through penance? I think not if it doesn't changes your character which led you commit that sin. The characters find it the hard way. I have got other books by Anantha Murthy ji and would surely be reading them.
Have you read this book? If yes,please feel free to tell me how did you like it. If you haven't then  you could get the book from the following links:
Happy reading folks

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