Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Fate and the individual as a shaper of his own destiny

Man of a Thousand Chances

Author: Tulsi Badrinath      Hachette

Why do the just and innocent suffer for no apparent fault of their own? And why do some people get away with murder most foul? Why are some blessed with more money than they know what to do with, while others are forced to lead a hand-to-mouth existence? These and allied questions, which most of us wonder about at some point in our lives, are examined in the course of this novel. At first glance, middle aged, greying, careworn Harihar Arora seems anything but heroic. Striving to rise above petty joint family rivalries where he is the underdog younger son,Harihar secures a job as assistant to the curator of the Madras Museum. He struggles to make ends meet on a modest salary, and plug the unforeseen places from where his money leaks away triumphantly. Settling his darling daughter Meeta into a happy marriage is his primary concern, and the means he adopts to arrange for the money fall on the wrong side of conventional morality.

Harihar is by turns both a victim and a mover of his own fate. Beneath the beguilingly simple surface of an interesting story are deeper philosophical questions which Harihar, and by extension, the reader, are compelled to examine. In the end, Harihar sees that “life, despite the worst of circumstance, was not a prison. Each day with every single thought and act of his, he was building his future lives. If he paid attention to the now, he would ensure an excellent, though indescribable, later.”

My detailed review can be read in Sunday Herald

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