Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai // Ending?
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai is the first book I read of Kiran Desai. I have read many novels of Anita Desai (mother of Kiran Desai). Clear light of Day is one of my favorite.
Though Anita Desai never won booker, her daughter did. So I really wanted to read her work — but somehow this novel was sitting on the shelve for 3 years. I picked it last week and read it in 3 days.. Hullabaloo is a short book and funny.
If you have read Anita Desai, you can clearly see the glimpse of her in Kiran Desai’s writing. The hanging single words, metaphors through foods, list of objects, subtle satire, and pinch of western ideas.
The big win for the Hullabaloo is stark personality of the characters despite being there so many. Even in movie it is impossible to create personalities for every character, but Anita Desai does it in this short book.
Mother, father, son, sister, police, doctor, ice-cream seller, and even the roadie monkey have their character trait. The new characters are introduced are quickly established with a funny and relevant back-story. Their motivations are delivered and their arc is covered sucesfully.
In the end, like any Priyadarshan movie, it all ends in chaos. There is certainly no clear ending, but I will try to discuss some points.
But first the quick story.
Water and food rains the day Sampat was bron, ending the long-running drought & summer of the Shashkot. But, after that everything went downhill.
Years later, he works in a post office and read letter of people to entertain himself. Tired of his boring life, he cracked, make a scene, and fired from the job. Tired from the jab of his father, he left his home and start living at a Guava tree.
A man was passing and he mentioned something he read in his letter that only man knew. Several similar incidents, he is known as hermit who knows everything. Disciple begin to join him, and gradually, he starts giving random answers to people. While dropping the info he learned by reading the letters during his post office stint.
It make him popular in the state — that there is baba who knows everything.
Plus there are monkeys. Who begins to hang out around Sampat’s tree and somehow discovered alcohol. They liked the taste, get hooked on it and start looting the places, shops and homes for every drop.
Alcohol addicted monkeys is not the craziest part of the story.
Sampat’s maternal side of family has mental history. Mother seems to have psychotic behavior as she cooks tasty dishes using the weird items. She is determine to cook a monkey. The same behavior is passed to Sampat and his sister.
Sampat does not leave the tree and his sister is stalking the ice-cream seller.
The ridiculousness of the all the event make the story hilarious — while the story never lose the touch of reality. Every act and scene could be a possibility in India, and not even a news in many areas. Like being a baba in India is so common, one does not even find it a news.
Monkeys being a menace and daily objects is also common in many areas.
In the end, the district government tries to push away the monkeys. On the same day, the sister plans to elope with ice-cream seller. On the same day, mother put the pot on fire to cook the monkey. On the same day, Sampat decides to run away again.
In all the chaos, the book ends with something dropping inside the pot, and Sampat turning into a Papaya.
What happen to Sampat?
The believers of Sampat believes that Baba turned into a Papaya. However the story never give any indication of being a fantasy. So this is not what I believe.
One reason could be that Sampat fall into the cooking Pot. So basically his mother has cooked him. But again, a man cannot be cooked so quickly. Everyone heard the noise and they all ran back to the Guava tree. All they find is the pot and something inside it.
What was inside it is a suspense.
But I doubt it was Sampat. Maybe it was the monkey.
The most probable situation is that Sampat ran away again. He was thinking of doing it for some days. He ran away from his family, and his family start living under his tree. Which was counter-productive for him.
So may be he ran away again.
But then what was in the pot? It is the suspense.
Do I recommend the Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard?
Yes sure. Its funny, short, entertaining, and full of satire. If you enjoyed Peepli Live (bollywood movie), you will enjoy this too.
Let me know what you think about the book in the comment.