A Fine Balance

Why do humans attempt to hide their feelings? Whether it is anger or love or sadness, they always tried to put something else forward in its place. And then there were those who pretended their emotions were bigger and grander than anyone else’s. A little annoyance they acted out like a gigantic rage; where a smile or chuckle would do, they laughed hysterically. Either way, it was dishonest.

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

If I were to sit down and write about Mistry’s writing style and what parallels I could draw of his works with that of Rushdie’s, then I would have to be more efficient and work on studying these two contemporary authors, on a more closer level. However, I lack the expertise and depth on delving upon such a topic. For I am just a lay person who has relished their works with equal angst and gusto. I am just another reader who has been enamoured with the power of the words they have wielded.

Rohinton Mistry is, unarguably, one of my personal favourite authors. What he brings to life while he writes is something that I have always tried to do, myself. Sepia-toned life gone by, comes alive and throbbing when he writes. And how he does so, effortlessly. Well, it seems effortless, not making it evident to the rest of the world that he too, would have gone through sleepless nights, he too would have gone through tormenting months.

Through his works, Rohinton created a mini world where everything revolves around the lives and times of Bombay-dwelling Parsis, compelete with their quirks and their distinct culture. A culture that I have always been intrigued by. A culture that I have always wanted to see in close counters. He brings to me the private moments of the residents of Ferozeshah Bagh. He brings to me a Rustam or a Darius. He takes me to their Tower of Silence and their Fire Temple. He makes me feel the pangs of a desperate Parsi who wants to fly off to Canada and he invites me to partake in the joys of Navroz. 

And amidst all this, Mistry manages to throw some gyan around. Littel phrases, short sentences, many lines of deep, rich wisdom that seem to come from a profound and wise old sage.

Even though Rohinton, like many other Indian authors reflect shades of Rushdie at more than a few places to go unnoticed, he still manages to keep his head above the water in the ocean of contemporary Indian authors, where loss of identity is commonplace.

Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay and now lives near Toronto. His first novel, Such a Long Journey, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and received, among other awards, the Governor General’s Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book of the Year. A Fine Balance is his second novel, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction, the Giller Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize as well as a Booker Prize finalist. Mistry is also the author of Swimming Lessons, a collection of short stories. [ Author description is taken from randomhouse.com]


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