The 2015 Harper Perennial published Vivek Shanbhag’s ‘Ghachar Ghochar’ is more of a novella than a novel with only over a 100 pages.

The unnamed narrator here reveals the psychological transformations alongside adaptations of societal status and ambition.

Once living in a train compartment like, ant manifested lower middle class home, the narrator’s family always used to move together like a single entity.

Through the advancement of Chikkappa’s Sona Masala, the incoming wealth and the new found freedom, the narrator grew increasingly quiet of the assistance of the local goons and of his own non existent career.

Being constantly sarrounded by the women- Amma, the mother; Malati, the sister and Anita, the wife: ‘each more fearsome than the other’; the impermanent character of Chitra fails to remind them of their early life.

Our narrator struggles to remain physically aloof when his whole life goes all ghachar ghochar- tangled beyond repair when Vincent says -“Sir, you may want to wash your hand” and there is nobody to carefully tease the strings apart.

Beautifully translated from Kannada to English by Srinath Perur, ‘Ghachar Ghochar’ provides an eloquent liveliness both with the character portrayals and the homogeneity with our modern society.

The novella tells the tale of a stone cold horror story reached through social progression when the whole family sits down for tea and when the narrator says -“What can I say- it is one of the strengths of families to pretend that they desire what is unavoidable”.

If you like reading Indian Literature, or have start started exploring so, visit my booklist on novellas depicting the uncommon journeys of the common middle class.


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