Nirakarana or The Refusal

Thanks to Vinay who had brought a short novel by S. L. Bhairappa and left it behind with me, I read Nirakarana (ni-raa-ka-ra-Na) or Refusal in one sitting. Bhairappa is a popular novelist, popular in the sense that his novels are read by people who normally never read.

It is the story of a poor migrant typist in Bombay - a widower who is unable to take care of his five little children, advertises in the Times of India that he is giving them away for adoption. After all the children find different parents and homes, he becomes sad and confused. He deserts the life in Bombay, and goes on a spiritual quest to the Himalaya mountains.

Becoming a saffron clad sadhu (sage), he travels to holy sites like RudraPrayag and Kedarnath in search of a sadhu who lives there all the twelve months, even when the temple closes for winter. The twelve-month-baba (bara-masi - I just couldn't stop laughing at this name) who is meditating there naked, doesn't talk to him much. He spends few months in the harsh winter with heavy snowfall, and returns to the GauriKund (a hot spring). Then while trying to swim upstream he finds himself several miles down the river. Then joins another sadhu on a quest to go down the river Ganga on its North bank till Calcatta take a U turn and come back on the South bank. But on the way he settles down in Varanasi as a begging sadhu.

After all this aimlessly wandering and begging for years, he realizes how empty and hypocritical the 'spiritual' life around him is. He leaves Varanasi and goes back to Bombay to become a warden in an orphanage. A fellow worker at the orphanage, on hearing his life story sets out to find the whereabouts of his children...

As with any other Bhairappa's novel, this novel is full of colorful character sketches combined with great story telling. Characters are amusing, painting of life in Bombay, Himalays and Varanasi is vivid, and you would want to keep reading the book till the last page.
Comments:

I thought NirakaraN meant Solution. Perhaps it has two meanings.

Posted by guest on June 11, 2006 at 08:12 PM PDT #

Perhaps you meant Nivarana ?

Posted by Chandan on June 12, 2006 at 01:12 AM PDT #

Oh, perhaps!

Posted by guest on June 12, 2006 at 03:58 AM PDT #

I hope reading in one sitting did not affect your back. I'm glad you liked it.

Posted by Vinay on June 21, 2006 at 05:21 PM PDT #

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