The wonder that was INdia

LegacyLegacy by Mohan Prasad
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is not merely a story of a boy-but it is a snapshot of the period of his growth-the time, the history, the culture’ is how you can try to explain ‘Legacy’ by Mohan Prasad in an one sentence expression.
Legacy’ is the perfect name for the book. A nation is born awaking from the sleep at the stroke of the midnight after a long history of struggle for independence-erasing a long history of colonial occupation. But that was just the beginning-tryst with destiny of the country was a mix of hope and despair, joys and tears. Just after independence dreams of millions were shattered-thousands rendered homeless after the line of Radcliffe passed straight through their hearts-bleeding them. It was a journey of nightmare for laths-often trains crossing the borders were found to contain only dead bodies-only past, who were very much alive, very much present when the trains had started their journey. And after partition-it was not an unmixed bliss too. More has to come-there was poverty, there was famine, there was corruption, there was racial discrimination, and there were riots in the name of religion. But there was progress to. India marches ahead in the field of education, science, technology-you name it. And the backdrop of the newly independent country was changing rapidly too-there were rapid changes in almost every aspect-older thought giving way to the newer ones-communist and socialistic ideologies sprouted –religious organizations like RSS started to make a clear cut impact on public minds. Border truce with neighboring countries taught India to become self reliant in the field of defense. In a nutshell-there were signs that India was maturing-taking noteworthy strides towards being a nation in making. It was just like the story of a boy getting grown up-he makes countless errors-countless blunders in his childhood, boyhood, youth hood, adulthood…. In spite of all these errors he makes progress-he grows up-he gets matured. It is pretty much the same story with a big family-there is invisible and visible stress and strains in a family-there are errors in decisions-but there is a bond that sews the family member’s together-like flowers of a garland. ‘Legacy’ is the story of seeing the nation getting matured from the perspective of an individual. ‘Legacy’ is the story of an individual gradually getting grown up, too.
If I say-this is the story of Darshan Swami-who was once lovingly called Dalai by his parents-then thorough injustice will be done to the story. it is not merely a story of an individual-it is also a story of generations- it is the story of traditions that flows like the river Baghmati where the story had first begun-where the little Dalai had his first lessons in the lessons of life from his father. Here the little boy first knew how their family flourished-with dreams and aspirations how the great, great predecessors of the family started their business, how the ups and downs came in their lives. It was like the journey of the pilgrim for little Dalai-down the memory lane, knowing his roots-knowing his destiny. Here from the father –the little boy got his first lessons of history, civics and politics of a young nation-as young as the boy himself-throbbing with excitement, boiling with enthusiasm, leaping with vigor. His father was his first guru (it may seems a little out of context, but today is teacher’s day. Is not that coincidental?)
Every story has a prologue. How can here be exception? Let us take a sneak peek into the story of Shankar-the father of little Dalai. A robbery at their house makes him realize how desperately he needs to protest-in the face of unjust. So he joined a RSS camp-where he was taught the art of self defense. But strength often accompanies arrogance and pride-and he challenged a burly man in mock duet. And as he was no ‘Dharmaraj’, he caused wound of his opponent, breaking laws. And that was his end with RSS. He returned back to his hamlet and never ever came with active contact with RSS again.
The story of Dalai is a story of a boy who loved to fly like a bird under the sky-who loved to live the life at its fullest. At the hostel, they were like lords of wishes. Dalai and gang devised ways to escape from hostel, attend other’s weddings and enjoy lavish meals, steal from the kitchen –just name any devil’s plan and the boys are on their toes. Dalai was at the seventh heaven until his luck ran out one day-he was caught in his act of escape from the hostel. His father was summoned and charge of visiting the brothel was alleged against Darshan. His father knew that the boy had not committed the sin, but
‘shankar stayed back for the night in the hostel’s small guestroom. With the first rays of the morning, they left for Baeshwar. With a heavy heart, Dalai took leave of his friends-the brothers in arms and partners in crime. They would also leave soon, for the summer vacations were due in a week. The sole difference was Dalai wouldn’t return to the same address. In fact, the events that led to Dalai’s expulsion had started some months earlier, before the previous summer.’
But life does not remain static, it is dynamic. So the story goes on and on-and with that Dalai. At the crossroad of life-he meets Anita and life takes a new turn. Life starts to bear a new perspective-a new meaning.
At some point of time-their life diverges .dalai became a spiritual leader and Anita a firm believer in extremist ideologies. But what will become of their dreams? The dreams they once shared together-with new song of hope in their minds.
Destiny plays cruel jokes with men-it makes and it breaks.
Life is the game of making and breaking.
‘Legacy ‘ is everyone’s story-everyone can realize the reflection of his or her traits in the characters-in the hope, grief, joy, sorrow, aspirations of the protagonists everyone can discover themselves. The characters are so naturally portrayed that never the reader will realize that he is reading a fiction-it will rather be a journey of identification. Romance is an essential ingredient of the journey of two protagonists-but it is rather a secondary part.
As we have already discussed that the story culminates around India- the land and the people have been trapped inside the book with all the splendors, with all the contrasts and with all the diversities. However one aspect that is needed to be pointed out that as the time period of the story is rather a long one-from the forties to eighties-the contemporary events make the fabric of the story. However-long dialogues depicting events may be too tiresome for the reader. Only raw facts without any fictional elements might break the rhythm-and sometimes may disturb the coherency and flow of the story.
After all-after finishing ‘Legacy’ the story will echo in the minds of the reader………

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All the world is a stage…

It is a straightforward story that appeals directly to the heart with its utter simplicity. Short and well directed- this is my one phrase expression for this novella of class-that depicts the story of a dream being chased, how it feels when the dream gets shuttered and how human will, can again triumph against odds. Even when there are darkest days- human life moves on and one day again stands under the blue welkin.
In the novella-‘the bounce’ by Mohan- I am a little confused (like the India born confused desis like our protagonist Raj) about the genre of the book. Well, romance story it is no doubt but more than that it is a family story-where the Indian tradition has been well narrated. And our protagonist, too in spite of being a green card holder is well rooted to Indian values.
it is the personal experience of Mohon that helped him to pen down reality about the work status of white color workers in the developed world , migrated from the developing world- their agony for citizenship, their tantalizing moments after the green card application, their haunting nightmare of being declared an illegal immigrant – all have craved their way in the story. you do not have to go further, our protagonist will tell about his organization

“Nearly two thousand techies worked in WorldTel’s Garden of Gods (GoG), the software development center in Colorado Springs, CO. About a third of this workforce happened to be Indian origin, subcontractors like me who had migrated from different parts of India on H1 work visas. This was a time when it was rather easy for smaller IT consulting firms, sometimes called body shops, to sponsor American work visas for Indian graduates and engineers who knew computer programming. At the time of my move to Colorado, many of my classmates from engineering college had moved to different cities across America.”
And when those NRI’s get the green card application accepted- it was like making the discovery of King Solomon’s mine-well, it is a bit exaggerated. Such was the quantum of happiness that our protagonist proposed to his colleague and apt also came the refusal-
“But you are the one in a million. I want to spend my life with you,” I said.
“Raj, I am really happy for you and the Green Card. But I am not sure if I am ready to settle down as a Green Card bride.”
They were work crazy people and realistically Mohon did not portray a modern Devdas! Instead he is back to square one and after returning to India in a project of Microsoft –his quest for his life partner starts
“Late in the evenings, I would sit in front of the laptop reviewing email inquiries and performing searches. I approached this search like most technical projects at work. I maintained a simple “project plan,” recording basic details of searches, number of email inquiries received, people I had corresponded with, and the outcome, whether I was going to pursue that proposal further or not. However, unlike most of my technical projects, I was emotionally vested in this, and was finding it hard to balance the tug between the heart and logic”.
New experiences started to enrich his knowledge bank in this Endeavour. he encounters a divorcee-then a lady who is not that one that was in the profile. confused? Well, read on-

“After a few minutes, I pulled out Shanti’s profile and handed the Blackberry to her and said, “This says you are five feet, three inches. You seem to be two inches taller than even me! And this picture doesn’t look like you.” I realized I was sounding superficial, just pointing at a lady’s physical appearance. But to me this wasn’t just about her looks or height; it was about basic integrity and honesty. If she was being dishonest about basic details posted online, what else was she hiding?”
Then one day he got someone-who is as she is! And finally she was there before him-in blood and flesh! And it was like love at first sight. He knew by heart-she is mine. And what she knew. Leave it-whoever been able to detect what is inside her mind. and then
“South Indian Brahmin weddings typically spread across three days. In our case, the ceremony was condensed into a single day. Two Hindu-priests officiating the wedding invoked all the gods and goddesses around a “sacred fire” created in a mandapam (enclosure) in the wedding hall. I wore a traditional dhoti for the ceremony. After I spent some time chanting Sanskrit mantras (hymns) with the priests, I was joined by the bride. Dressed in a traditional red wedding saree, adorned with gold necklaces, bangles and other ornaments, and her hair braided with jasmine, Priya was the radiant bride I had dreamed of.”
We have already discussed that it gives glimpses of the wonder that is India-and revelation of cultural diversity of India will be an icing on this fascinating family cake!
Then came little sun to their lives-and it was jingle all the way. But life is not smooth sailing-and the storm did come amid the gentle sea….
Will they be able to resist the tragedy? Where the destiny will take them-towards a new sunshine or towards another sunset?
The twist make this short little ride of the life an enjoyable one- a ride that sometimes will make you weep-sometimes will make you at all smiles.
Because the life is game- a game of cloud and sunshine!

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