Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Love and Longing in Bombay

With the title Love and Longing in Bombay, it would seem as though Chandra would be writing tales of love and loss, almost like romance novels. Of course there is a fair amount of love in the stories: how a beautiful woman loves a less attractive man, the love in marriages and young couples, as well as infidelity and discrimination in love. Likewise, there is also longing in the stories, mostly for loved ones lost to death or divorce, but also in the programmer who is driven in the pursuit of perfection. These elements seem like the making of heartbreaking and tragic love stories, but in reality they are not. As we are looking at this through the lens of home and homelands, it is more obvious that these are stories about life and its many facets, and the collection of stories gives the book the feeling of a busy city full of different people who are all dreaming, striving, wanting and hoping to do and find something that makes them happy. This could be true of any city, but Chandra gives Bombay a special voice, tone, and character. The writing style is so particular that Chandra makes you feel as if you are in the place described; this is why when Indian words are used it is easy to understand what the mean in general because the reader is attuned to the tone and the rhythm of the writing. The structure of the narrative defines Indian culture as a storytelling culture and celebrates it. Subramanian tells the stories and they each teach us lessons about life and love and longing and striving but they also reflect upon the city of Bombay itself. He is meant to be a framing device and evokes the idea that the story itself is alive. Subramanian  explains the character of a vibrant city and all of its people who are bursting with life. Bombay is  filled with desire and that is what drives the people of the city and therefore motivates the city. It is interesting to see a culture or a homeland described according to its people and not its customs or traditions as much. In Love and Longing in Bombay the lives, characters, and motivations of the people describe the life and culture of the city and the homeland.

No comments:

Post a Comment