The Versatilist

A rhythmic space for Hindi Poetry, Book Reviews and Travel Stories

Book Review: Ghachar Ghochar, Vivek Shanbag, Srinath Perur

Author: Vivek Shanbag, Srinath Perur
Published: 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 117
My Rating & Recommendation: 3/5, I Recommend this book

I picked up this book as a recommendation from a fellow blogger. It’s a nice & easy weekend read, almost as lethargic as some weekend afternoons tend to be.


The central character of the story is the narrator (Mr. N), who uncannily remains unnamed throughout the story. The story revolves around the life of Mr. N which is rather sedate, devoid of any real purpose & blessed with luxury of time. Another lead character of the story is Chikappa who is Mr. N’s uncle. Chikappa is the hero & villain (may be) of the story. Chikappa crafts the change in the family’s fortunes and enjoys reverence from the rest of the family.

Appa (father), Amma (mother), Malti (sister) & Anita, wife & victim (may be) are other characters who hold the story together with distinctive & neatly fleshed out roles. The ladies of the house have several shades to their characters, especially Malti, who is portrayed as very headstrong with clear (or cruel intentions). Vincent, the waiter at cafe which Mr. N almost inhabits, is practically Mr. N’s conscience, delivering him coffee & ‘facts’ with panache. Overall, the characters are simple & unmistakably real, it’s hard not to feel connected.

Writing Style

Mr. N meticulously handholds the reader through the details about his family members in an eloquent manner. The portrayal of lower middle class’ lifestyle, chores, unsaid fears & emotions have an unmissable ingenuity. The dissonance of the family caught in the poverty of the past & the abundance of the present captures the attention as a reader. Mr. N has a firm grip on the story and comfortably helps the reader to absorb the intricacies and the undercurrents in a real life witness kinda style.

Overall, the book is a light read but it makes you think. It intrigues, resonates and also throws you off the balance a bit in the end, when you are least expecting it! I recommend for it for sheer simplicity of writing, which is soothing, captivating and a complete antithesis of the meaning of its name Ghachar Ghochar . Happy Reading!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: