Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"A Fine Balance" By Rohinton Mistry

Its past one o clock at night and I should have been in the bed two hours ago in order to be prepared to reach office on time tomorrow but here I am trembling and shaking, unable to move with the baggage of having read a saga of great misfortunes in the book “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry. I toiled with last 100 pages for more than week with a meek hope that somehow the author will contradict the statement made over and over again in the book, “everything ends badly”.

“A Fine Balance” is a story of four people and how their lives get intertwined with each other, yet their fate remains solely theirs.  Dina Dalal is woman in her forties, a widow and is trying hard to lead a dignified life without taking help from her snobbish elder brother Nusswan. She had always been the tough nut to crack for her brother with her indomitable spirits. She married a man of her own choice much against his will. Her husband died after 3 years of their marriage and she never married again.  She gets into a contract with a garment company and hires two tailors, Ishvar and Om. Om is Ishvar’s nephew and they belong to the Chamaar community. Ishvar and Om had come to city to ward off their past which stinks of ill-treatment, sufferings, burnt bodies and with them a whole generation of hope, love and happiness. For a steadier income, Dina decides to accommodate a paying guest into her flat. Maneck, Dina’s ex-classmate’s son enters the scenario.

Set in the emergency era, the story impeccably handles the details of the world the government creates for the poor and the world that is ultimately created. For person born in the nineties like me who had known nothing about those turbulent times, the book indeed drafts out the era with precision. And the precision comes out boldly with the characters the author has painted in bright colours even though their lives are painted in stale chalk powder.

This is not the book you would want to open and re read again as once you have read it, it will remain with you and direct your understanding of life. You will feel sad and will remain in despair for a long time, accusing the author of stealing you a happy ending. You will curse him for over exaggeration and will produce a catastrophe at the end of every misfortune. But you will surely thank the author for writing such brilliant novel which has greatly changed your perception of life.

P.S Please share your reviews on the book if you have read it.  


Psych Babbler said...

I actually loved the book despite how sad it is. I have also read it twice. I think Mistry is an amazing author and this is one of my favourite books.

bhawna said...

same here!
the thing is that when we read we want refuge from the reality but this book makes face it one on one!
i am planning to read more of his works

Rishi Vohra said...

My name is Rishi Vohra and I am the author of a debut fiction, 'Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,' recently released in bookstores. For more information on the book, please visit

I was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing the book on your blog.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Warm regards,