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Vivek Shanbhags Ghachar Ghochar : Haunting family story from India

When he was a high school student, expected his mother that he was going to buy her from his first salary in a Sari. "And, I hope," said she, "that it is a silk Sari." And so the nameless I-narrator of Vivek Shanbhags Roman "Ghachar Ghochar" in his daydreams again and again, as it will be to fulfill his mother's wish to do so. It drives him in the school to good performance, because he will be the breadwinner of the family. However, it all comes out different. Suddenly, the family is swimming in money, and everything evolves to that terrible "Ghachar Ghochar," according to the the 1962 in the Indian state of Karnataka, born today in Bangalore living Vivek Shanbhag his book has named. In the language of the South Indian Kannada, in which he wrote his novel originally, of course, an untranslatable word that means a inextricable Situation.

In such a Situation, the young man you met at the beginning in a Coffee House. In his home, which he visited for 30 hours, waiting for mother and father, the sister of Malati and uncle Chikkappa, the brother of his father, thanks to the new wealth and for all a high price to have paid. Only to Anita, his wife, who is not waiting.

This family is the cosmos, the narrative revolves: "It is one of the great Strengths of families to do so, as that would be, what is inevitable, exactly what wish for, all in secret." As long as Appa, the father, even as a small representative of their bread is earned, under the lively sympathy of the family that supports him at night in the settlement and submitting willingly to his funny stories and sounds, not the "desire for things we couldn't afford".

Refined composition, the abysses opened

but Then Appa loses his Job, Chikkappa founded with the capital from the early retirement of a company, Sona Masala is rich and takes over the reins in the family. He pulls her out of the narrow, dark, ant-infested house in a mondäneres home. But the new prosperity is destroyed, the former emotional. Mother and daughter spend the money from the dubious methods of working company, while the narrator can be used as a Breakfast Director of his uncle to endure and his days whiling away. Only with the intrepid Anita, from the middle-class-born wife, commitments, standards, and procedures, put suddenly out of the question. The Situation escalated when another strange woman in the house shows up.

This is superficially simple, with a little rhetorical effort, the story turns out on closer Inspection as the sophisticated composition, which opens up chasms, as the difficult balanced get dependencies and hierarchies out of balance. Because "don't we control the money, but the money to us. If there is little money, it is quite small, but the more of them there are, the bolder and more it grabs us by the collar.“ This On-collar-Grab it does suggest Shanbhag but only when the narrator comes into the room of his sister, to share how earlier mysteries, or when he describes the changing female alliances in the house the example of the Breakfast-Upma-war. Taunts and bitch wars, which indirectly point to the lack of rights of women in public life. And if the narrator crushes ants, to the horror of Anita's without Hardship, reflects the same "moral impartiality" of the family, as in the violent "recovery agents", the Chikkappa on Malatis-in-law, and focuses on one family, to intimidate.

His Silence makes the narrator complicit

"As I slipped into this life," asks the narrator in the hours in the Coffee House, troubled by his own transgressions, he is the verbal failures of his wife met. The solidarity with his family forcing him to a Silence that makes him an accomplice.

A complicity that is not only limited to the family, but to those of caste and gender inequality and corruption in Indian society, the Shanbhag with his unassuming, haunting family history – more of a Novella than a novel holds the mirror. Whether he has the staying power to be an "Indian Chekhov", as his compatriot and colleague, Suketu Mehta celebrates? The stuff he has.

More about

violence against women in India to Speak about the Unspeakable

Agnes Tandler

Vivek Shanbhag: Ghachar Ghochar. Roman. From the English by Daniel Schreiber. Aufbau Verlag, Berlin In 2018. 152 pages, 18 €.

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