Just finished reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Well I was never a Rohinton Mistry fan but it was my Friend Kaustav's insistence that compelled me to read Mistry. I remember all those bus rides on our way to office when my dear colleague used to hammer me with Mistry praises that finally a bought a copy of Tales from Firozshah Baag. After completing it there was no looking back. I started reading Mistry the way many others read Harry Potter.. My beloved friend always said that Fine Balancewas perhaps Mistry's best piece of fiction, and I do not dare to differ.
Let me make a confession; I am a very classist person at heart, I am not the kind of person who would enjoy the Premchand genre of literature, infact I read them with condescending attitude and often never relate to them. Therefore I initially thought I would never be able to enjoy a novel whose protagonists are landless chaamarstrying to find foothold in Mumbai( strangely the name of Mumbai is never mentioned in the novel). contrary to my belief i ended up empathizing with the chaamars.
The novel takes on emergency head on. From nasbandi to city beautification to forced rallys everything is there. This novel deals with untouchability, loneliness upperclass snobbery, fraud godman, student politics, police torture, beggary, pavement dwellers, infact it deals with real India. The India which is often ignored by the upper class bourgeois. The India about which we often suffer amnesia.