Author: Vivek Shanbhag. Translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur

Publisher: Harper Collins

Rating: 4.5/5

“I freeze. What is happening? What have I become entangled in? There must be some way out of all this…The words rush to my head of their own accord: ghachar ghochar.”

Hola Amigos. The aforementioned sentences sums up the turmoil we face in everyday life. I remember my granny telling me that a frog lives in a pond all his life and feels that he is the only one who has all the problems in the world knocking at his doorstep. We all too, in one way or the other are frogs of our own secluded life. Some books leave a seriously numbing effect on your mind and compel you into speculating your life and the incidents you face and how they bring about a change in your perspective towards life.

Ghachar Ghochar is one such book that left me numb and I desperately wished for the story to continue. An insight into the lives of each character in this book and we tend to relate with each one of it for their character traits. Following is a little sneak peek into this book.

‘It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.’ From a cramped, ant-infested house to a spacious bungalow, a family finds itself making a transition in many ways. The narrator, a sensitive young man, is numbed by the swirl around him. All he can do is flee every day to an old-world cafe, where he seeks solace from an oracular waiter. As members of the family realign their equations and desires, new strands are knotted, others come apart, and conflict brews dangerously in the background. Masterfully translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Ghachar Ghochar is a suspenseful, playful and ultimately menacing story about the shifting consequences of success.

The narrator of the story takes you from a house in shambles to the posh localities of a metro city all because of a flourishing spice business under the banner of Sona Masala. The rise of spice business and the sudden rush of money showcase the way the life of each character changes and its effect on the other family members. Crisply plotted this book perfectly correlates the concept of spice both in the kitchen and in real life.

The subito influx of money brings with it a poison that shatters relations beyond repair. The term Ghachar Ghochar has no precise meaning as such but still leaves a deep impact on our mind. And if you wonder why does that term leave an impact on you is because our life and the situations we face eventually are Ghachar Ghochar. The narrator’s life is all knotted up with each person in his house and he is unable to find a way out of it.

From the mother trying to reign the kitchen, to the sister busy in her own world, to the uncle who runs the business, the father who is yet to recover from a setback, a wife who thoroughly believes in morals and ethics and the narrator who is trying to find a midway out of all is what Ghachar Ghochar all about. However, an on-off character actually plays a crucial role in the story. The character Vincent who works at a coffee house is quite oracular and sums up an incident in the narrator’s life in just a sentence. Vincent is witty and has his way with life as the narrator tries to find answers to his problems through Vincent’s answers.

A quick read this book has been plotted aptly without any unnecessary exaggeration which makes this book a MUST MUST read. On a scale of five I rate this book at 4.5 and would suggest each one of you to grab a copy ASAP. Till then Happy Reading!!


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