I read two novels by Kiran Nagarkar- God’s Little Soldier and Cuckold. I loved both of them. So this time while I was at Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, I picked up Jashoda by Kiran Nagarkar. I wanted the novel to be signed by the author. But for two days I was there, author was not scheduled to speak in any session. I am not sure, if he attended the festival after I left.
Based in rural Rajasthan, story of Jashoda revolves around three main characters. A village woman named Jashoda. Her self-centered, scheming, corrupt husband Sangram Singh. And, Pawan, Jashoda’s obedient and academically brilliant son.
Jashoda struggles to manage her home in Kantagiri, which is perennially drought affected, and ends up on streets of Mumbai. Her struggle to keep her family and her self in one piece, one can relate to. Ultimately Jashoda evolves as a business woman, who starts an eatery in her native place. Story of Jashoda’s evolution is realistic.
Sangram Singh, as Jashoda’s husband, is a selfish man. A casteist, a hypocrite and a greedy criminal. Sangram Singh schemes and acquires property of his employer, an ex-royal, and eventually got rid of him. Sangram Singh is well painted as a male chauvinist.
Story of Pawan is somewhat unrealistic. No doubt there are many brilliant students who are struggling to get a break. But to land Pawan in the USA, with an academic position and an American wife is a bit too much.
Over all a good casual reading. The book has a beautiful yellow cover. It reminds me of bright sun baked landscape of Rajasthan and western India.