Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry.. set-in backdrop mid-90's at bombay about Nariman Vakeel is a 79-year old parsi widower.It is perhaps the most universal of them, as it focuses on a domestic crisis of one family and how they cope with it.

Nariman is the father of three grown children: unmarried and unemployed stepson Jal, quiet and unassuming; stepdaughter Coomy, domineering, bossy and pushy; and daughter Roxana. While the stepchildren live with and take care of him in an apartment in the spacious Chateau Felicity building which he has bequeathed to them, Roxana lives with her husband, Yezad, and two sons, Jehangir and Murad, in a newer apartment bought by Nariman, a fact that Coomy, envious and bitter, never stops pointing out.

Confined to his bedroom and bored, Nariman seeks solace in his evening walks, which represent to him bustling life and are like air for starving lungs, after the stale emptiness of the flat. These walks are therapeutic, magical and enchanting like a circus or a magic show. Using his umbrella as a walking stick, he saunters past the corner where vegetable vendors congregate and their baskets and boxes, overflowing with greens and legumes and fruits and tubers, transformed the corner into a garden. And from time to time he bends to touch the voluptuous onions, glistening tomatoes, purple brinjals and earthy carrots as they hallowed the dusk with their color and fragrance. In his youth he loved a woman whom he could not marry because she was not a Parsi and his parents would never stand for it. So he marries a widow with two children and even though they have a child together and he tries to make his marriage work, it never does. All their lives are ruined and he remains haunted by what could have been, should have been and what-ifs for the rest of his life. stepdaughter send him to Roxana’s small apartment. Depositing him on a couch in their living room, which becomes his home for the next few months, changes the lives of everyone. They struggle, they grow, they learn and they endure.

Mistry draws the conflict within each character: the guilt, compassion, family obligation versus desire for independence, and the building of human relationships. He also holds a mirror to the characters' consciences, so that they can acknowledge what they are and what they portray to the world. Perhaps that was author’s way of showing one more family scenario, one more way of pointing out family matters; but he’s tagged on epilogues before, so it could just be how he ends his novels.

book reminds my days in US, in temples old couples come for walking and waiting for someone to talk with them as they are very bored. Not that all sons/daughters are ill-treating parents but in middle-of-daily-life-running-around priorities changes, time availability are limited,.. No correct ways or approach with parents-children relationship in post retirement life. but increasely we grow apart with limited appreciation of each other. Reading this book seriously made think about my priorities living for away land(aways from parents) and what I should when they approach old-age (as they are in youth-of-old)

Book is a compelling, emotional, and persuasive testimony to the importance of memories in every family's history. In a poetic style rich with detail, Mistry creates a world where fate dances with free will, and the results are often more familiar than anyone would ever care to admit

Family Matters explores themes of family, the reversal of care between generations as they age, and the thin line between middle class and poverty in modern India. its an emotionally satisfying, deeply moving novel...

we could have seen many stories along this line about..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how i can contact Rohinton Mistry... I know he lives in Toronto, but what is his email, phone number, adress etc.

I need to ask him some questions for my assignment in English!!