Thursday, August 11, 2011

The God is a giant quiltmaker...

"...I prefer to think that the God is a giant quilt-maker. With an infinite variety of designs. And the quilt is grown so big and confusing, the pattern is impossible to see, the squares and diamonds and triangles don't fit well together anymore, it's all becoming meaningless. So He has abandoned it..."  - Maneck Kohlah, p. 340, A fine Balance.
Rohinton Mistry's - 'A fine Balance' is one of those books that you'd never want to end. Its a story that talks about transitions in life - from good moments to bad, and from the bad moments to good. Every character in the story goes through some transition or the other, that keeps you riveted to the book even when you finish the epilogue. Set around the period when the Indian Government declared a 'State of Emergency', the storyline is about how this 'Emergency' impacts people who barely try making their ends meet in the tough world and have no relation whatsoever with the political turmoils happening in the country. Be it Dina Dalal, her tailors - Ishwar and Om, Maneck Kohlah, Rajaram - the Hair Collector, the Monkey-Man, Shankar - the 'Worm', or the Beggarmaster - every character has been portrayed brilliantly. The book engulfs you within itself. It makes you feel as if you are standing in a corner, watching the characters unnoticed and following them wherever they go.

At the end, 'A fine Balance' does make you feel about the God being a giant quiltmaker. Some of us are part of the design, while a few unfortunate ones amongst us are ill fitted. Probably the fits and the mis-fits in the design are His way to maintain an equilibrium, and its upto us to accept the way we have been set up, or get torned out in the struggle to get away.