Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tall Man Small Shadow by Vipin Behari Goyal

What strikes us first and foremost is a unique title- Tall man , small shadow. Since its inception the story line appears to carry  a deeper meaning , something more than what is apparent.

The narrator comes out as someone very frank , readily giving us his honest opinions .Vipin Behari Goyal has successfully  weaved an interesting story with certain original philosophies.  At no point does the author impose his thoughts and ideologies on us. Instead the novel is crispy enough to make one read the book in one go  . The story is written in style that is understood easily  considering  the complex plot .  Events in the story may challenge one’s rigid traditional beliefs or  seem to pose a threat to the cultural system , yet one cannot deny that these are very much prevalent in the society. 

Salil falls in love with a shadow of Aalya ,  the girl next door. Both these characters represent a typical cosmopolitan mindset- where the youth is confused, has little contemplation about their actions even when all they are doing is something seriously unethical.
Salil, does not think it incorrect to father the child of his ex-girlfriend knowing that she is someone else’s wife now. Aalya considers this lack of morals yet she feels very comfortable in her sexual experiences with a married woman , her guide , Seema. What she is doing herself never bothers her .Perhaps she is naive enough to be lured into these adventures or she is just exploring her sexual orientation. Interestingly , she is very much attracted to Salil and Seema even goes to the extent of giving her advises to woo him.

This shows the present situation where youth is facing identity crises. They are stuck between their own values and that of the rest of the world.
We see a mention of some social problem here and there. The elderly suffering due to neglect  as the trend of nuclear families is on a rise. It is very thoughtful of the writer to pen these current problems subtly pointing out the fact that one suffers because one expects and when these expectations are not fulfilled,  a strange sadness jeopardizes his entire existence.
While talking about Seema , the author comments that workaholics are escapists. Indeed so, this shows how minutely the author observes the world around him. Thus , we find a very matured thought process guiding the entire story .

The book “ Tall Man, Small Shadow” has its share of cheesy romance and sizzling scandals yet what makes it worth reading is the journey of the narrator , his intelligent meditation .
What also provides an uplift to the book is Sulekha, the narrator’s wife giving a dramatic ending to the series of coincident that we read about.
While the author gives us  a glimpse into the psyche of major characters- their deepest yearnings , their most sophisticated thoughts ,he also wishes to remove the remaining flaws of his own personality. This shows his critical nature is devoid of any bias!

There are instances of expert sociological explanation in the text where we see caste system , social change theory being addressed. The author serves as a torch bearer for the youth to bring change in the society by setting an example.
Towards the close of story , we find the narrator growing as a person...his thought process, his mind- set , his very soul. His soul expands to that  peaceful state  where he feels unaffected by happiness or turmoil, profit or loss. This self- enlightenment paves way for hope . The hope to accept who we are , to be able to face the truth.

Thus TALL MAN, SMALL SHADOW may not be a fable you want to escape in, it is one book that may help you face life as it mirrors the society very well...

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