|Perfect on those long summer afternoons.|
I really enjoy fiction based in India. It is always interesting to watch an author weave a tale against the backdrop of familiar landscapes. Chaiwallas and dust, matrimony obssessed women and fans that whirr irrespective of which way you turn the regulator, summer heat and Lifebouy soap. Rupa Bajwa won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for this one; a simple story of Ramchand the sari seller in the city of Amritsar (which like every other major city in India has the 'old' areas of narrow lanes and the newer parts with broad roads and fancy houses). The narration charts his efforts to realise a dream and step into a world far removed from his, where people speak in English and travel in air conditioned cars. However, the crushing revelations of the reality he belongs to, send him spiralling into an abyss of depression. As the story allows Ramchand to crawl back to sanity, Rupa Bajwa deftly narrates his resigned acceptance of the reality of his existence.
Here is a review with a spoiler. Ha don't you just love those?