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If it is Sweet

If it is Sweet

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Author : Mridula Koshy

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In If It Is Sweet, precisely etched characters collide, the blind suddenly seeing the blind. Mridula Koshy plumbs the chasms across which they stare, asking the question: what is it people see when they see one another? Her characters are proximate, though from vastly different class backgrounds. Servants and mistresses. Middle-class insomniacs wandering the same footpaths on which labourers wake to care for their sleepless infants. An old man, his maid, and a koodawallah, and a conversation that ends in both insight and blindness. If It is Sweet does not set out to transport the reader to another world. It is one rooted in an unsettled world; it intends to unsettle. What hardship does to the human spirit is one of the central questions asked by literature. Koshy’s stories are not those maids-and-madams stories that have found poverty ennobling. Nor does she argue that poverty is a curtain so dark one cannot see past it. In “The Good Mother”, the middle-class woman from Manchester, in Delhi to scatter the ashes of her two young boys killed in a car accident, is clearly not safe on her side of the dark curtain. She agonizes over her failed motherhood. On the other side, in “P.O.P.” an old Banjara woman, resident of a bustee, laments her failed motherhood: “Manish was such a good boy when he was little. But I should have known. The least little thing he did wrong he thought marked him as bad. After that, he would only do wrong. The child could never see all the space there is between black and white, good and bad.” Privilege does not protect characters from degradation, nor does poverty rob them of the soul-searching that is usually the purview, in literature, of the well-off. It is in such reordering of traditional narration that these stories achieve their unity as a collection. Exhilaratingly, this is a collection that claims Delhi’s place in the world. Although not all of the stories are set in Delhi it is clear that Delhi is their centre of gravity. Kotla and Klamath Falls, Oregon rest cheek to cheek and Los Angeles’ Sunset Blvd runs right through Connaught Place, and alongside KG Marg. Above all Koshy propels the reader amongst the lives jostling on these streets to see the dark interior of their stories illuminated briefly in their moment of contac

Book Details
Paperback: 283 pages
ISBN: 9789380032122
Publisher: Westland Limited
Published: May 2009

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