The Hero's Walk-Anita Rau Badami

Having read (and enjoyed) Badami's first book Tamarind Woman, I was very eager to read her sophomore novel, though with the apprehension that this one may also be in the same lines of woman trying to erase her past. Thankfully I was proved wrong.

Sripathi, a middle aged copywriter, has always settled down for something less than what he expected. His already ordinary and complaining life, suffers a severe blow when his estranged daughter (Maya) and son-in-law expire in an accident in faraway foreign land. All he's left with is his guilt, repentance for egotism, and a 7-year old grand-daughter who becomes unintentionally mute by the unforeseen tragedy. The rest of the story is how each person in the grief-stricken family fights the loss.

Now, the story-line sounds deceptively average, what with the mundane characters like succumbing-to-the-husband's-ego type wife and acid-tongued-attention-seeking-80 plus granny. But again when it comes to etching the characters in an impeccable manner Badami wins hands down.

Nirmala is the submissive wife of Sripathi. There's Putti the not-so-young sister and Ammayya the grit and greedy mother of Sripathi. So unsympathetic is she that on the death of her grand daughter Maya, she broods petulantly that her daily routine should not be affected in anyway. "Love was an extravagance that Ammayya could ill afford", describes the author of her rigid and tyrannical behaviour. She turns down all marital alliances seeking Putti, for fear of she being left alone.

Arun is the ascetic society conscious son of Sripathi & Nirmala. Yeah, you guessed it right.. his ideolgies are disliked by the family especially the dad. However he's the only solace for 7 year old Nandana, (Maya's daughter) who arrives in India and finds everything quaint and puzzling. Whenever the narration is from the viewpoint of the little girl, the understated melancholy would touch a chord.

The whole story revolves around Toturpuram. (Now this failed to make sense to me. Why would the author create a fictional town?, while all the street names and localities bear obvious semblance to an existing town)

I found the title of the book very interesting. Though Sripathi is the central character and the term "hero" is usually a reference to the male protagonist, there is room for assumption as to who the hero actually is, in this story. (Remember, some people do accept Ravana as the hero in Ramayana!). The way each character decides to move on with life is quite interesting and who the hero actually is, is left for you to read and figure out.

The narration takes the form of high drama (Chetan Bhagatish) towards the end, and this really let me down. I guess it was added for a dosage of humour. Nevertheless, the book promises an interesting read. I would give 3/5.

All good things come to an end!

I am one of those sentiment lot, who wouldn't easily adapt to changes.... and would attach undue importance to even things that one could own only temporarily. Like a rented house.

I stayed for a little over a year in a maisonnette, overlooking a wonderful spread of green grass and cherry blossom trees.

Enjoying the mild sunshine in the porch, I would sit in a cane chair, reading a book that I had borrowed from the library (which was at a 10 min walking distance from my house), glancing at the lappy for an off and on y! chat with few school buddies.

All this with the blissful thought that a bundle of joy is on the way. Not to mention the frequent phone calls from my concerned mom thousands of miles away. I didn't imagine in the wildest of my dreams that I would spend the most important phase of my life all alone (when the husbd was off to work) with absolutely no regrets.

Every morning I would look out of the window for a visual treat of nature at its best. When the spring season arrived, the cherry blossom tree which was withered during winter, went into full bloom (see pic attached). Then came the short British summer season, which meant a 4.30 am sunrise and 8.30 pm sunset. Needless to say that I almost lived the day in the balcony. A friend of mine once joked that the baby would be born with green hair if I don't stop staring at the grass. October arrived (and the baby too). I sneaked out enough time for short walks to see the leaves going red yellow, orange.

Winter arrived, which put a full stop to my nature gazing spree. I do enjoy watching the trees and plants sans leaves, but the damage was caused in the form of seepage in the roof due to condensation, which forced us to vacate the property. Thus, with a heavy heart we decided to move out of the house.

When it was about a month to go before moving out, I started looking for ways to dislike the house. (couldn't find many though!)

All good things must come to an end, afterall.. paving way for better things to happen! Thus I say to console myself!!

Time for some self-introspection

I admit...I would have done this 25 point thing about myself, even if I wasn't tagged by Avdi...When I sat back to think why I was so excited about the topic, I realised that I was craving for some "me time" for long.

Rules:Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1.Despite making chapatis for dinner for nearly 2 years now, I can't make them nice and soft. I guess its hereditary.

2.Carving in chalk pieces was my hobby for a long time. Before my career swallowed all the time that I had.

3.I just need to eat within minutes of feeling hungry, else I lose my temper. I really envy all those who could carry on with their work, skipping meals.

4.I simply love to watch and enjoy the bounties of nature. But still poetry eludes me (I can almost hear you saying "Thank God for that").I refused to move out of my previous house (which had a huge expanse of greenery all around).

5.I'm a storng willed person and this is my greatest asset.

6.I have an authoritative voice and tone. This might give an impression that I'm impolite/harsh to people who do not know me well. I've tried in vain to modulate my voice/tone.

7.Though I enjoy good company and prefer to hang around with people, I don't mind spending time all by myself.

8.I never get bored of shopping. Or window shopping. I could spend 3-4 hours in the same supermarket that I frequent, and come back with just a 2 pint milk can.

9.I have few, but very close friends.

10.I am VERY possessive about my things. And I'm trying hard to forego this habit. ( I don't think I could succeed though)

11.I love cooking... Love more to see happy and contented faces after a good meal cooked by me :D

12.When priorities change, I could forego something which I have loved career
ps:Its just "something".. not "someone".

Gosh! its getting tough to list more!!
13.I do not believe in any kind of astrology.

14.I love children.

15.There's always been someone to care for me when I most needed.

16.I can talk for hours together over the phone, but would remember a huge deal of things only after I hang up.

17.I can understand people well.(mostly)

18.I'm usually punctual in keeping up schedules. (That surely doesn't mean that I never waste time).

19.I love it when I could only partially remember last night's dream. Its like a half read book.

20.As a child I thought I would grow up to become a nun. This thought lasted for say about a week..

21.I'm lazy in some respects. Like I really want to understand the share market thing and all that, but would not even make an attempt.

22.I was born on the 7th of some month and have many friends who were born on either 7th or some other date which adds up to 7.

23.I repect customs and traditions set forth by elders. But would follow ones that I'm practically able to follow.

24.It takes a long time for me to trust someone. (Not a ridiculously long time though!)

25.I'm not very comfortable watching movies in the cinema hall.. Crowds make me feel dizzy and out of place.

Honestly, after point no.12/13 I had to think hard. Its easier to hear some known person say (nice) things about us rather than we listing it out.