There are writers who tell stories. And then there are writers who transport you into the world that they have created in the pages of the book. A reader like me who explores for the love of reading, it also lets me understand the mindset of the different authors. Few Indian authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, often come up with such unusual imaginations that really give a peek into their eccentric minds. The way they mold all the characters in their books are significantly portrayed through till the end. The sentences make you move. The books will make you walk into their pages.
The same reason why these authors are not everybody’s cup of chai.
And honestly, I’m almost one of them. The books are heavy with worldly meanings about life, nature, emotions, and so much more.
Today I have The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh to reflect on.
It is a story about Piya Roy and Kanai Dutt who met on a train to the Sunderbans. Piya was on a journey to explore information about the Irrawaddy dolphins and Kanai was there to meet his aunt and to review a manuscript that was left to him by his uncle. Through the series of event, they keep bumping into each other as they get entwined into the past of this mangrove region. By the end they have chalked out a future for both of them that will keep them tied deep to the future of the Sunderbans.
The book will give you all the necessary inputs on class division, trafficking, ecological and economic disparities. There are elements of romanticism that faintly sparked in between the 2 protagonists. The pages will make you smell the soil, scratch the mud with feet while the characters travel through the tides and unravel the history of the place set in with treacherous background of the nature.
What confused me was the authorial sensitivities. Amitav Ghosh is undoubtedly a prolific writer with a wild vocabulary to pen down his stories. Now I am not a cynical reader, especially when it comes to best selling authors (for genuine reasons). As much as the story is gripping yet I found it way too measured. It definitely engrosses you with the description of the beauty of the region, the folklore, the political facade however, it lacks a definite smoothness in the narrative. Too many adjectives for every other thing was not necessary. At times the elongated conversations made the journey go off track. That resulted in an explosion of side stories which could have been avoided. At times, it gave a feeling that he really struggled through book just to make it look fat and important!
Overall, The Hungry Tide was almost phenomenal.