Author: Sagarika Ghosh
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: 2004
Cost: Rs. 319 (Paperback), Rs. 280.25 (Kindle Edition)
When Mia, acutely depressed by the suicide of her father meets Karna in London. Mia is mesmerized by the charismatic young guru. She resolves to follow him to India even if she must marry Vik, a suave corporate businessman, to do so.
Once in India, Mia is drawn to Vik's mother, Indi, an accomplished, inordinately attractive woman who rages unceasingly against her blindness, her beauty, and her clinging son. Troubled by Indi's anguish, and by her own strange journey into duplicitous love, Mia realizes she must travel even further to the Kumbh Mela (religious pilgrimage) for a different perspective on her clouded and confused life.
Mia Bhagat is a 28 year old London-based Bengali reeling from the inexplicable suicide of her ‘Marxist-turned-Mystic’ father. This story is about her whole life journey starting from her depression points, to her misleading paths, impulsive decisions, illogical thought process culminating into the resolution.
The plot travels across Delhi, Goa and London, New York spanning a couple of generations of intriguing men and women. The context unravels the idea of ‘misguided faith’ which dangerously affects the mind, overtakes it and blindfolds your decisions.
Indi (Vik’s mother) plays a central figure in the plot. Her character presents a duality of nature. She is both: charming and diabolic. Ghose describes ‘Indi’ in frightening detail:
"Indi was brutally beautiful. Her beauty had always been as formidable as a conquering army … Her eyes were unlike any other. They were the colour of the ocean in the monsoon, azure streaked with grey, eyes that thundered and stormed under black brows. The straight nose and cheekbones that angled out of her skin were chiselled to knife-edge sharpness but there was nothing pure about Indi. Everything about the voluptuous figure and defiant expression, was brazenly sensual."
The twists and certain surprises will make you turn pages till the last. The flaring contrast between the characters of Vik and Karna is shown effectively and so does Mia. Her character will evoke all sorts of human emotions in you: one will agree with her, others won’t. Ghose explores this paradox along with depicting the many themes in the book: religion, martyrdom, and motherhood.
About the Author:
Sagarika Ghose (Born: 8th November, 1964) went to St Stephen's College in New Delhi before winning a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University where she gained an MA and M Phil degree in History. She has been a journalist for fourteen years, reporting extensively on Indian elections, politics and society as well as traveling and reporting in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Ghose is the author of two novels, The Gin Drinkers, published in 1998, and Blind Faith, in 2004. Her first novel The Gin Drinkers was published to critical acclaim in 2000. In 2017, Ghose published a widely acclaimed biography of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Indira: India’s most powerful Prime Minister (Juggernaut Books).
In her 2018 non-fiction book, Why I Am A Liberal: A Manifesto For Indians Who Believe in Individual Freedom, Ghose describes herself as a liberal who believes in rule of law, limited government, robust institutions and individual liberty. She is currently senior editor and prime time news anchor on the news channel CNN IBN.