Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Riot


Every list of good english books by indian authors had shashi tharoor's 'Riot' in it and that made me ant to read the book.. just to see what others had enjoyed so much and to see if i would react the same way to the book. Now that i am done with the book , i don't know what it is that i have to rave about more - the style of writing, the content, the characters, the plot.. everything about this book was amazing.
I have never been one for the news papers.. my love for reading unfortunately did not extend to reading news papers and that has always left me lacking in knowledge of affairs happening around me.. i would always know the gist of everything but never really bother to find the details.. due to that careles attitude, events did not have a significant impact on me...Only when i read Riot did i realize how much i missed by not knowing indian history.. i learnt soo much from just that one book and what i liked best about it was the opinion was unbiased.. the babri masjid incient was talked about in detail.. but not from one particular person's point of view.. we got to know how a muslim professor felt about the issue and also the views of a hindu politician..no judgements were passed..
the sikh police officer talks aboutoperation blue star and the golden temple in amritsar.. the gory details of innocent sikhs losing their lives as soon as indira gandhi was killed by her own body guards tugged at my heart..
the image of a poor little boy burning alive inside his ambassador car haunts my dreams even now.. the images of indi that this book brings to my mind are ones that i have unconsciously ignored...but can't do so anymore..
somehow, it only makes me miss home more..
one more thing that i liked about this book was that all these facts were presented around a fictitious story. the story of an american public health worker.. a girl who comes to india to help in the upliftment of poor rural women.. she falls in love with a married south indian man and that brings up the differences in american and indian cultures... the difference in views when it comes to marriages, love and life..
the writing style of the book needs special mention.. riot is not a conventional novel.. it is a collection of news paper articles, diary entries, interviews, transcripts, etc.. there is no flow to the story.. you know what happens at the very beginning.. an american girl is killed in a riot in uttar pradesh.. and her parents travel to india to visit the place where she last lived and died in an attempt to find closure..
you can read any chapter in any order and even ignore chapters and you wouldnt really miss the story.. you have the freedom to select and read what you want to know.. it is really nice!
i totally enjoyed reading this books..easily one of the best books i have read by any indian author.. unlike some indian authors who leave a bad after-taste of india once you are done with the book, tharoor leaves a good impression..inspite of the fact that all that book revolves around is a riot!
oh..by the way, the book has two covers..one for the indian edition and one for the american edition.. took the image of the indian edition cover though i read a book with the other cover. this somehow seemed to tug at me more..

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