I received the book The Monsters Still Lurk by Aruna Nambiar as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same. This book is the story of a middle class family from Kerala who lived in Bombay and Kerala and the story is set in the seventies till the recent times.
It is 1991. As Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated and a new government comes to power, setting in motion a process of economic reforms that will transform India, an ordinary family is about to experience detours from the traditional middle-class script of their lives. Over the next quarter century, as the world around them changes in ways unexpected, their lives too wind along uncharted trails, sometimes sunlit, sometimes shadowy and forbidding.
Set in India, in the cities of Bombay, Kerala, Bangalore and Madras, this story takes the reader through the seventies, eighties, nineties till the present decade. The story has been written in first person from the point of view of Vivek, the narrator, the youngest child of the family.
Their father works in a bank and their mother is a homemaker. The oldest child, Vinod, grows up to be an engineer who moves to the US and marries a ‘foreigner’, the middle one Sudha, marries a doctor and is settled in Chennai and the youngest one, Vivek, the narrator, a civil engineer marries an architect and they settle down in Bangalore.
The story starts from when from the time these three children are kids and live in a flat in Colaba in the seventies till they grow older, have careers, get married and become parents themselves and their parents are old and retired. She has mentioned the events that rocked the decade like Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, recession, to mention a few.
The characters are realistic and relatable and I could actually imagine many scenes, being a seventies kid myself. She has described the parent-child relationship well and also. The story reflects Indian middle class families through the last five decades.
The language is simple and the story is serious and funny at times. There is humour as well as despair. She has moved back and forth between the past and the present and the first chapter gave me an idea as to where the story would go. But, the monster??
She made me nostalgic, I am also a seventies kid and I could actually remember the Binaca tooth paste charms (mistakenly written as Forhans). The days when we passed out from school and all we could think of becoming was doctor or engineer.
This book is a must read for all the seventies kids and also for the kids of today who seem to take everything for granted.
DISCLAIMER: I received this book as a review copy from the publisher and have not received any monetary compensation for the same. The views expressed are entirely mine.