Tuesday, 9 February 2010

An Atlas of Impossible Longing

by Anuradha Roy

I liked this tale of love and betrayal. Part III, The Water’s Edge, is told from the first person, and is a better read. True, both the story and the language are not flawless, but I guess it is no use to dwell on these. The setting is exotic enough so probably there was no need to over-spice it with Indian words — good thing there is a glossary in the end. (Also, I couldn’t help thinking of alternate ending, but then it would be more like Murakami’s book, and I am glad that this one is not.) Towards the conclusion, I was preparing myself for even more impossible longing, so the “happy end” for Bakul and Mukunda came as a nice surprise.

He scrutinised my palm for long minutes, and I looked with him, as if I had never seen it before. It was creased, untidy, crowded with crosses and wild strokes slashing it in two. I have seen palms that have scarcely any lines. Mine was not one of them, far from it. I waited as if for a verdict.
“A veritable atlas,” he said, his fingers tracing the longer lines on my palm. “What rivers of desire, what mountains of ambition!”
“I wanted to... I mean I was hoping...”
“Want, want, hope, hope,” the astrologer parroted, “this is what your palm says too, moshai, your palm is nothing but an atlas of impossible longings.” He poked my lifeline and said, “Nothing but longing.”

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