Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Review of eimona, a novel by GB Prabhat

eimona- a novel by GB Prabhat

Review by Ramana Dukkipati

Religions have doctrinized it. Philosophers have theorized it. Physicists have formulized it.
It is “ Every thought and every action, however minor it may be, will have a bearing in the future somewhere, someplace.” And mathematicians have proved it. ( Norma McCorvey, a woman from Dallas won a case on her right to abortion resulting in a sharp decline of crime in New York 20 years later. Source-Freakonomics)

GB Prabhat through his latest novel eimona has changed the future. Irrevocably. By making his readers pause and ponder.

What is eimona? I scurried to look up in a dictionary but couldn’t find it. Puzzled I was that an author gave a title that has no meaning. I started reading the book sometime around 9 in the night and when I leaned back closing the book, it was 2 am. It was a gripping tale told in a racy style with pungent satiric humour. It is a tale about all around us, about all of us- the new age kids in the new age economy who are the new age economy multi-millionaires in young urbane India, whose fortunes and personal wealth obscenely rises and falls everyday inexorably linked to the stock market ticker tape.

So what is eimona? It is a world that is topsy-turvey, where the normally abnormal is normal and the normally normal is abnormal. When marriages are solemnized with lawyers drawing up contract papers on property, when husband and wife need to have separate bed rooms with a connecting door because each needs his or her own space, when men and women who would have been called debauchers and sluts for frequently changing sex partners are now called liberated single men and women, when visiting a shrink becomes common as visiting a dentist, when a child wanting to watch nature, play snakes&ladders or chess and not showing interest in online chats or computer games is considered a problem child and is diagnosed as suffering from anomie, well… that is the world of eimona- the reverse of anomie, an affliction where the social interaction is markedly different from the normal social norms. So when the normal social norms are abnormal, that is the world of eimona. It is not somewhere-over-the-horizon-future menacingly racing towards us. It is the present – pervasive all around us.

The Protagonist of the novel Subbu, an 80 year old, watches with amusement and dismay this present day world of eimona. He lives in Chennai with his grandson Bharat and his beautiful wife Indu, both young and working in Multi-national companies and their 8-year-old daughter Maya. Bharat is always indecisive like a Buridan’s ass which died of starvation because it couldn’t decide which bale of hay it wants to eat. Indu is strong willed and a winner always. Both Bharat and Indu have stock options, earn more than 150000 dollars each in salary. They watch everyday their stock price and calculate the wealth , not the combined wealth of both but each individual’s wealth. Maya is full of childhood innocence and is attracted to nature, loves to play chess and snakes and ladders and dislikes chatting online or playing games on computers. So she is diagnosed by a shrink as suffering from anomie. Subbu fiercely tries to protect her. The author ends the book with a brilliant twist.

The author’s views on free markets, the poor , capitalism are aired through Subbu. The principle pillar of capitalists’ and free economy protagonists’ theory and practice that rewards will be proportionate to the value people create and inequality is the natural result, Subbu asks, “ so what happens to people who begin in capitalism with nothing in their pockets?”

The author warns of the chilling effects of inequality if not addressed urgently. The oft repeated remark of the new age economy millionaires is that we earned our wealth lawfully. We pay taxes on every rupee we earned. We have a right to possess it. We are responsible citizens. The police must protect us. To this a police man asks Indu how many are rich and how many are poor in this country. Will all the policemen and soldiers be enough to protect the rich from the poor. How about people who created free market? Are they responsible? How about availability of quality education only to the rich? Is that very responsible.?

The book makes the readers reflect about themselves and an urge to slow down in this maddening race to success and prosperity overwhelms.

A must read book.


Hari said...

Awesome write up !

Now my interest in the book picks up !

Ved said...

Good review. It was a pleasant surprise that a literary critic is lurching in you. Fantastic.

Sriram said...

Interesting Ramana. Is this book available for sale? How can I get a copy? I have read the other book freakonomics too. Let me know…

Jose said...

Excellently written Ramana

Satti said...

Good one, I read your full review, very well written Ramana

Rao K said...

Your comments are good. You were a journallist too in previous job, if I remember well.

Keep it up.

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