Sunday, June 17, 2018

MY BOOKS – A Confession and a Submission



MY BOOKS – A Confession and a Submission

I start this with a disclaimer – my intention is not to use this post as a marketing gimmick. I have learned a few lessons during my writing life. For me writing is not a profession, it is a passion. I have understood it more and more as I wrote my books.

Recently a friend of mine from the old book club days at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Ms. Elizabeth Koshy came out with her book ‘A Palimpsest’. Ms. Koshy a prolific writer and contributor to various newspaper and journals, the book is a collection of her writings over four decades. She is also the founder of the Chaitanya School at Gandhinagar. While talking to me she said that the proceeds from the sale of her books will go towards charity. That I thought was a very noble thing to do and it set me thinking.

For people like us who have been endowed with decent means to sustain ourselves and need not look towards making gains from the sale of our books this perhaps is one of the ways to give back something to those who have for no fault of theirs are leading a life devoid even of the necessities of life materially and on an emotional plane. During my writing life, I have had the opportunity to observe life more than I would have done earlier; perhaps I have had more time on my hand especially after retirement or maybe it is due to the awakening to the realities of existence. It has not been possible for me to indulge in activities that require physical exertion. It is the truth that I have not been able to contribute meaningfully to such causes because I did not know how. But now I know that I can make a difference through what I think I do best – writing. It is not that I write blockbusters and earn a lot of money – I even have trouble making my friends buy my books.

I have asked myself the question ‘Why I write?’ many times and have not been able to truthfully answer it. Is it because I want to get across to others so that I am understood as to what I am or because I am trying to understand more about the world around me? Or is it because I am seeking recognition and adulation or want to be a commercial success? It could have been a combination of all these. But I know one thing, I write because I like it. I also like it when someone says that they like what I write.

My travel through my books have brought me closer to understanding myself, empathizing with the lives I am surrounded by and I feel I have become a better man. The latest book ‘Autumn Leaves – Seasons of life’ takes me further in accepting the reality of aging parents and the loneliness that overtakes them. I have looked at physically challenged persons and the irrelevance of old practices which weighed heavily against women, in ‘Light in the Darkness’ and ‘A Tale of Two Widows’ respectively in my earlier book ‘Darkness and Beyond’. In ‘I am just an Ordinary Man’ I have asked myself questions and tried to shed myself of the hypocrisy I had surrounded myself with. My writing is therefore centered around emotions and how hope plays a large part in making our lives more meaningful.

I have not felt this more than what I went through while writing ‘Autumn Leaves’. The intensity reached its peak while I was writing the last story ‘An Enigma’. It was time that I also make a small contribution to such causes that can in someway alleviate the sufferings and enhance the quality of such underprivileged – orphans and destitute.

Taking a cue from my friend Ms. Koshy I have also decided that the proceeds received from the sale of all my books will go to such causes. I know a lot of my friends are also involved actively in philanthropic work and would welcome their suggestions in this matter. I know my limitations as a retired pensioner, but still, I would like to make a difference. I have decided to start with a small contribution (initially not connected in any way with the sale proceeds of my books) towards one such cause, maybe a drop in the ocean, but I am sure that it will give me the satisfaction that I can make a difference through my writing.

A small gesture is all that is needed. Let us in our own ways make a difference.

Thank you for hearing me out.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AUTUMN LEAVES – Seasons of Life- Excerpts from the book



The primary aim of this post to let people know what to expect and I am sure it will interest them

AUTUMN LEAVES – Seasons of Life
Excerpts from the book

From AUTUMN LEAVES

‘When I was young, no longer a child, I used to listen to my grandfather’s narration of his childhood. How he spent his holidays in that small town where his grandfather lived as a patriarch of a large family. The house was filled with uncles, aunts, and cousins.
He would say that he missed those days spent playing with his cousins on the banks of the river, the temples, the gods and most of all the festivals which looked more as a celebration of life than mere rituals. As he grew old and shifted away, all these were consecrated to the shelves. He had accepted the changing times though reluctantly. There was still a tinge of regret that things were not what they used to be……’

‘I decided that it has to start with understanding myself and for that I needed to go back to where it all started, my parents. And that was what took me to India, to search for the great Banyan tree under whose shade generations had come and gone, the sacred Peepal under which the Buddha attained realization, the burning ghats of Varanasi where one understood the meaning of life and death and the heights of the Himalayas which promised a peep into the unknown.’

From AMORA

‘Everyone goes through the stages of growing up from a child to adolescence to adulthood. At each stage you have experiences which you do carry with you. I have had my share, and for me it has all been a part of growing up. Adolescence is a time of disturbance and psychological confusion. It is when you reach adulthood that you tend to cope with it through the choices and actions you undertake, which again would depend on the environment you have grown up and become used to. Growing up is wiping off the cobwebs of the past and moving on. I have already told you that I have exorcised the ghosts of the past. I have accepted myself for what I am and moved on. I have never shunned or shied away from relationships. If it happens, it happens. I have no expectations and I have found peace,” Amora replied.
…………….
‘He did not believe that life is determined by destiny, He did not believe in Karma. God to him was just a manifestation of the hope that we carry within us. How we live our life is a choice and whether you suffer or survive is just a happenstance. The outcome of our living should translate itself into something meaningful and should be visible, for only then can we correct and march on.’

From AN ENIGMA


‘Once I used to think that the world revolved around me. That’s no longer true for I have now come to accept that there is another world, a world in which you are also an inhabitant. Amol you belong to the other world. I remember telling that you live in a cocoon, but I realize I have also been in one. I now yearn to be the butterfly emerging out to explore the freedom that awaits. Soon Amol, you will also realize that you have to break out from the world you have built around yourself. Real freedom lies in understanding the world as it is.’

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

AUTUMN LEAVES - Seasons of Life A BRIEF INTRODUCTION





AUTUMN LEAVES- Seasons of Life
A Brief Introduction



The advancement in knowledge and the growth in opportunities away from home, contributing to a more independent individual learning to live life on his own terms, though desirable, has led to the splintering of families and in a sense an inevitable reality of being left alone as one aged. ‘Autumn Leaves’ traces one such family’s travel through four generations. Krishnan finds himself sandwiched between his father Vishwam’s and his own children’s generations similar to what his father had gone through; each moving away to accept new values and shedding old ones which had ceased to be relevant, to accommodate the changing world. Despite all this drifting away, the one reality that seems to recur at some stage or the other in life, is the yearning to understand oneself when faced with existential angst. Anuja, Krishnan and Kavita’s daughter, though born and bred up in the US and in all sense, an American, sets out on a journey to understand the roots of her parents and forefathers and in the process arrive at her own self-discovery. The story is a fiction and does not judge, for each generation has to live with its own strengths and weaknesses. But whatever the scenario the one thing that will always persist is the reality of birth and death. Whether it is a biological process or God ordained is a matter of conjecture, and so will it always remain and continue to occupy the human mind. Each one charts his own way and defines his own fulfillment.

Autumn for me, conveys quiet contemplation and a reliving of the past and the seasons gone by, and a period of waiting. Keats’s four lines on Autumn still lie etched in my mind -
                                               : quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
   He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
   Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.

Adolescence is that time of growing up from a child to adulthood. The onset of puberty brings with it, apart from physical changes in the human body, a need for exploration of one’s sexuality. This is a time when one does not distinguish between love and infatuation. While we always talk about love as everlasting, infatuation is a passing phase which we only realize when we move away. This passing phase for some takes a long time, in the course of which they exist subjecting themselves to procrastination and in the process unfulfilled. Even what we call as love is a fixation that accompanies us as long as we believe it exists. Once it ceases to exist, we are shattered, for there is always an expectation of reciprocity. A sense of betrayal of trust is predominant.

The next two stories ‘Amora’ and ‘Enigma’, deal with infatuation, love, friendship and a search for unifying the divergent forces that exist within us to attain fulfillment.

‘Amora’, I thought was a unique and lovely name. Amora is the closest to ‘Amour’ the French word for love. It was strange but the name’s origin lies in a dream I had, the only thing of which I remember is of a woman who appears therein and when I ask her name, she replies ‘Amora’. I do not know whether my subconscious was at work or whether hidden infatuations had surfaced. But from that single word the story of Aparajit the protagonist developed. Aparajit finds himself bound between two women ‘Amora’ (love) and ‘Maya’ (illusion). Unable to initially accept the truth, he ultimately realizes that relationships are based on understanding and acceptance and that alone is permanent.

Hermann Hesse has been a great influence in my life. Long ago I read Hermann Hesse’s ‘Narziss and Goldmund’ and to this present day it still remains one of my favorite novels. Through all his novels one can sense his attempts at bringing about a balance between the two opposing forces of asceticism and the world so that we reach a better understanding of life and move towards self-realization. In fact, one senses that life is incomplete without experiencing both the states. Like in ‘Narziss and Goldmund’, the theme of duality is dealt with in ‘Siddhartha’, and ‘Demian’ effectively, one of disillusionment and the other of Order versus Chaos.

To say that while writing ‘Enigma’ I have to a large extent been influenced by his writings, will be the truth. The human being is by nature multi-dimensional, but he lives exploring a small part of his potential, frightened of the conflicts that could arise in trying for a synthesis. Real fulfillment can happen only when he is able to do that and for which he has to summon all his courage and brave the consequences that could arise.

The central characters of this story are Atulya, Arundhati, and Amol the narrator. The story is about friendship, love and ultimately fulfillment. To sum up this it would be necessary for me to quote from Hermann Hesse’s ‘Narziss and Goldmund’ –

“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other's opposite and complement.”

The two characters Atulya and Amol though very different in their approach to life, stay bonded throughout, recognizing and accepting the other as an integral part of each other. Aside from ‘Autumn Leaves’, which is quietly contemplative and recognizes the reality of aging and loneliness, ‘Enigma’ is intense and highlights the strength of relationships, synthesis, and fulfillment.

The stories do not follow a narrative style and I have stuck to what I have been following in my previous books of going back and forth from past to present and back to the past, avoiding the monotony of a straight narrative to keep the reader engrossed.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

PREFACE - AUTUMN LEAVES Three stories



AUTUMN LEAVES
Three stories

PREFACE
I have this habit of rereading what I wrote, be it the posts on my blog or my books trying to relive those moments that inspired me. The very first book ‘I am just An Ordinary Man’ has been of particular significance mainly because it was a journey into the realms of my mind. ‘I am just An Ordinary Man’ was a very personal journey and though laced with allegorical anecdotes and projections into the future, places it in the realm of a fictional autobiography and that is how I like it to be read for I wanted the reader to connect it with his own journey through life. There is this particular passage which I thought it fit to reproduce here –

I watched as the leaves fell from the tree near the balcony at her house, once green then golden yellow, brown and then on the ground. The tree stood barren and stripped; waiting for winter, to be covered white with snow, the rejuvenation in spring and glory in summer to once again the fall. The cycle continues. Isn’t it very similar to the processes we undergo during our lives? Then would winter signify the hibernation we undergo after death to be rejuvenated and born again during spring? 

This was the inspiration for my second book ‘Darkness and Beyond’ exploring the role of ‘Hope’ which takes life forward. The hope of a beyond after the darkness, like spring after winter.  ‘Darkness and Beyond – A Medley of Many Lives’ was a journey into the external world of all those who have gone through the darkness of living and still find hope in living and an authenticity that defines their existence. The book explores nine lives, each in its own way ultimately seeking redemption.

Strangely that very passage from my first book and in a way the first chapter of the second book ‘Roots’ which explored the disintegration of the joint family to a generation which once again goes in search of its roots takes shape in my third book ‘Autumn Leaves’. Though the book derives its title from the first and longest story ‘Autumn Leaves’ which also deals with the reality of aging and loneliness, there are two other stories which talk about infatuation and love and dealing with the duality that exists within us as well as the world outside, in our quest to understand life and arrive at a comprehensive view of life.

I have grown to appreciate and empathize with people, things, and events, which in the past would have just passed me by as I was too preoccupied with all things centered around my own existence. Maybe I have more time now but that alone is not the reason for this empathy. Ever since I started putting my fingers on the keyboard (like the good old pen on paper) I found the words give shape to experiences and people populate the pages of the word document. There are stories out there back in our world which still lie undiscovered waiting to be given form. Though I have an image I do not have a plot when I start off and I write as the story unfolds. This is very much in evidence in my second book ‘Darkness and Beyond – A Medley of Many Lives’ the characters developed as I continued writing and when I look back now I feel happy that I have done justice without resorting to over emphasis and melodrama, making them feel more real. Writing without a plot has made me grow along with the characters and make their experiences my own. It has been more exciting and adventurous this way. I felt like a reader myself waiting for the next piece to fall into place. And this is very much in evidence in ‘Autumn Leaves’

Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing’ says-

Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work.

I have taken the liberty to fall back upon two of my favorite poets John Keats and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and used them in the book for they sum up life and our quest better than anyone I have come across. In fact, I have quoted the entire poem of Keats ‘The Human Seasons’ at the beginning of this book-

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man:

These words gave the necessary impetus to finish what I started writing, and Longfellow’s ‘Psalm of Life’ showed what the ultimate quest of each one was directed at –

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

It has been a journey of nearly five months living through each and every character in the book. There are no heroes or villains, they are only people, though this is a work of fiction, they are real people and I have endeavored to sketch them as they are. There are no judgments, there is no procrastination: there is only life as it is. Each one, at the same time, trying to reconcile the inherent duality and reach a stage of peace and harmony and being one with the world.

GS.Subbu

Sunday, April 15, 2018

THREE OLD MEN AND A TEA STALL




THREE OLD MEN AND A TEA STALL

If you think that the title sounds very much like Jerome k. Jerome’s escapades of the three men in a Boat or a Bummel, that’s all it does. If you believe that two is company and three is a crowd, you are wrong. Well, that’s what I found out today, especially if it is a company of three old men. I was the youngest of the lot, so I am still young. And when I say a tea stall, it is far removed from the one under whose thatched roof we let loose many a tale of youthful romance, whether it be a figment of one’s own imagination or a true account of a lost love, under the perfect setting of a moonlit wintry night with only the distant barking of a lonely dog seeking out a mate that had run away with  another of the same breed. Sounds very much like the ones under the thatched hut, isn’t it? Only here there were more of them in the thatched hut. Now there were three – old, older and oldest and a tea stall on the pavement at the corner of the road leading to the beach. The old being me and the oldest some sixteen years elder.

Ever since I switched back to walking along the beach in mornings as the Chennai heat in the evening could be like being in a pressure cooker and you breathe in all the pollution let loose during the day. Though once you reached the beach, there would be respite; the familiar faces and the casual waving of hands as we passed one another, occasionally stopping for a moment or two to exchange pleasantries, especially after a break in our daily routine.

As I was on my last lap on the beach road, to an extent exhausted, the sun already shining in its morning glory, there was a gentle tap on my back.

“Hello,” he said, an old man in a yellow T-shirt, dark blue shorts, sports shoes and with a mop of silver hair on his head smiled at me.

This was the first time I saw him. He was a regular and since I was back on a morning walk, I was the stranger as far as he was concerned. Having come from behind he had drawn level and turned sideways to look at me

“I haven’t seen you before,” he said.

“That’s true because I am an evening walker,” I replied.

“It’s always good to come in the morning, the oxygen levels are high and you do not have to contend with the pollution,” he said.

By the time I could reply he had already stopped to talk to another walker. As I waited he turned to me and said –

“Go ahead I’ll join you.”

And so I went to the end of the beach road and waited for him, which he did after few more stoppages on his way. Usually, I do not break my rhythm while walking and would have continued on my way back home. But today I did wait for there was something very alive about his face; fair, with a straight and blemishless nose and eyes that seemed to bore deep into you.

He caught up with me and resumed his talking before I could introduce myself to him. It appeared that since he had already seen me minutes before I was no longer a stranger to him. But to me he still was and so I introduced myself as we continued to walk.

“Oh! I am V. Nice to get to know you. Don’t you feel the more people we meet, the more we understand ourselves?”

I couldn’t agree with him more “Yes, I also like meeting people, though usually, I do not stop during my walks. Today is an exception,” I said. He did not seem to hear me and said

“I usually have tea at the tea stall at the end of this road in the corner. Have you been there before?” he asked.

“Though I have seen it, I have never stopped for I do not have anything till I reach home and had some rest.”

Yes, I have seen that stall, small and usually with a small crowd in front of it. A meeting place for youngsters usually in the evenings. But in the morning, it seemed as if it had been taken over by the elders. There were small plastic stools and a bench on the pavement.

“Join me for a cup of tea, it’s very good you know.”

He ordered for three cups and just as I was wondering why that extra cup he seemed to read my mind and said “Well that is for a friend of mine whom I meet here every day. He should be here anytime now.”

“You know Mr. Subbu, I am eighty-four years old and meeting other people and talking to them keeps me going. Every day I make a new friend and today it’s you. I started with a salary of forty rupees and spent a major portion of my time in Kolkata. I remember the first time I went for an interview, the interviewer a six foot something English man asked me whether I was wearing shorts or a full pant” and he laughed, “I had passed only eighth standard, started as an office boy and graduated to a clerk. I worked in a number of multinational companies with my proficiency as a stenographer. You know the Englishmen knew how to recognize merit and they also taught me discipline. It helped put my life in order. My children went to Corporation schools, did well and finished their education in prestigious colleges like BITs Pilani, St. Josephs, Trichy, and Loyola. They are well placed. You know during those times the bogey of reservation was not so much and merit still mattered.”

As he was talking, his friend joined him and I introduced myself to him. D said he was from Palghat, something I had already guessed from that distinct accent whether they spoke English or Tamil. V was also from that region but sounded more eloquent and kept up the conversation from his end without breaks, I can say a monologue. I did interject sometimes. But at the end of it all, I knew more about him than he about me. But for his ramblings, there were takeaways from that meeting which made me understand the principles on which this man had lived his life, a healthy and mentally stable one with the maturity to accept life with malice to none.

He said “Mr. Subbu there are three things you should remember and principles on which one should approach life – 1) if you lose all your wealth, you can still make up for the losses and regain your material status 2) if your  health is affected you can still go to the doctor and try to set it right 3) but most of all, you should remember that once you lose your character it can never be retrieved.”

In between, I made sure that I rang my wife and told her that I will be delayed. The tea was excellent with a dash of ginger to make it that peppier. V made sure to compliment the tea stall owner which I believe he did every day.

As there was no sign of V slackening I got up and excused myself “I should be leaving now, but thanks for the excellent tea.”

“Don’t say thanks. This is something we pass on to each other: me to you and you to others, the chain should keep on going, only then will goodness will prevail,” he said.

D told me he was seventy years old and before he resorted to a life in retirement, he had been a trade union and had been an MLA in Kerala.  I told him I retired from the bank and now spent my time writing. But throughout the entire conversation when V was on to his monologue D had been mostly silent. Maybe to provide V a sounding board and to enjoy the excellent tea. The tea stall owner I realized would be privy to many such conversations of different motley groups. His job was not to listen but to continue serving tea which he did with great pride and every time a compliment came his way it would make him happy. So, before we left I did just that and he returned the compliment with a smile.

D also got up to go and he accompanied me, till after some distance he turned right and I turned left, each to his own destination.     


Saturday, March 31, 2018

THE FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD TAILOR



THE FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD TAILOR

When I was a young boy, well that’s how any story starts, isn’t it? I could not get off the beaten track to tell my story of the friendly neighborhood tailor. There have been many of them, so it naturally should be ‘tailors’. Not only tailors, there have been doctors and barbers, vegetable vendors, the milkman and the grocery stores etc. so the neighborhood was always well endowed with friends and suppliers of services, whose faces we knew, knew their names and sometimes the problems in their families when in a moment of desperation, they would share with us. Not that they did not know what happens in our own household. But that was how it was, the world revolved around the neighborhood. Now the only thing the servant maid shares with us is how her husband had come home drunk, beaten her and taken away the money she had kept in a tin box with the friendly Tasmac outlets (Govt. liquor shops) strewn around the neighborhood, with the sole intent of gaining some pity and some money. Now with the supermarkets, the dairy outlets, ready-made garment shops and the online stores where you can order anything you want: the faces have been lost and names unknown and neighborhood gossip.

I still remember the milkman, a tall black giant of a man who would bring the cows in front of the house to convey to you that the milk was straight from the cow’s udder. But in the kitchen, my mother would invariably complain that the milk was diluted. We never came to know how he did it. But when he came to collect his money which he did twice or thrice a month and stand in front of my mother, scratching his head and asking for an advance, my mother would let him have a piece of her mind. He would stand grinning, all his thirty-two teeth prominent on his black face and ultimately leave after getting what he wanted. He continued till we left the place and on the last day, he bid us farewell with tears in his eyes. That was the first time I saw a giant of a man who would enact the role of Hanumanji in the neighborhood Ramnavami festival, could also cry; a twenty-year relationship having come to an end.

There were so many of them whose services were rendered during those years without any growling, bargaining or cheating. Loyalty and faith was the ground on which these relationships were built. But coming back to what I started writing about the friendly neighborhood tailor.

I can still visualize that lean, miserable looking pockmarked face which had stitched all the shirts and pants my father wore and later mine. I do not know when my father started giving him work but he was there till we left Vizag after my father’s death. He had come and shed tears, real ones. Maybe he was way ahead of times for his measurements were either too tight or too loose, never right. My father would always try to get them altered and ultimately end up wearing loose fitting clothes. Once when in all my childhood innocence I asked my father why he did not go to another tailor, he would smile at me and say, “Poor chap, he has been there for such a long time it would be unfair to desert him, and he is a very loyal and trustworthy fellow.” Yes he was, but he would take on much more than he could handle and would always end up never meeting his deadlines. The result was that every time my father went to collect his clothes the tailor would come running out of his shop saying “Sar sar sar I will definitely have it ready by tomorrow” but tomorrow never came, it would be ready only a week later. My father would scold him in his broken Telugu and he would stand with that miserable look on his face and scratch his head. It was then I learned that to say sorry one should scratch the back of one’s head. Of course, I have never attempted it, especially now with no covering on my head. My father’s heart would melt and all forgiven. Anytime we passed by his shop there would be crowd of customers shouting at him, and to each one of them he would repeat “Sar sar sar I will definitely get it ready by tomorrow.”

I can never forget the day when my father and I on our evening walk passed by his shop and found him sitting outside and crying. When my father asked him the reason, he revealed that since he did not meet the deadlines for a bridegroom’s dress, the family had come and dismantled all his sewing machines and went away with them. On further questioning by my father, he said that the wedding was on that very day. My father could do nothing much except to console him.

Times changed and when we came to Madras after my father passed away, I found all my trousers were too loose and drainpipes were in. I remember my mother repairing them at home as per the prevailing style. It was luck that I did not need to stitch new pants. It was not the same when the drainpipes became bellbottoms, I had to get a new wardrobe. Amitabh Bachchan had done the damage and people were strutting the streets with their bottoms, sorry that should read pant bottoms waving in the wind as they walked. Well, that’s another story for another day. Now I have once again found a friendly neighborhood tailor who alters my pants mostly reducing the length of the pants bought from the not too friendly neighborhood super-store.


Why did I now remember the friendly neighborhood tailor of my childhood days? My father passed away on 28th March 1963 and that day he was there, our friendly neighborhood tailor as miserable as he always was but there were copious tears streaming down his face. I understood what my father had long ago understood that for all his faults he was a human being with a soul, a good man.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

THE COCKROACH VIGIL – by Devika Rajan BOOK REVIEW


THE COCKROACH VIGIL – by Devika Rajan

BOOK REVIEW

This a delightfully allegorical short novel. It reminded me of Kafka’s ‘Investigations of a Dog’ in which the unnamed narrator, a dog, recounts a number of episodes from its past, to rationalize and resolve the basic questions of its existence. Here the cockroach has been made real by naming it. The fact that it is a cockroach which is the protagonist, dawns on you slowly as you read.

Laroche and his niece were by the kitchen drain. Laroche had a view of the outside through a crack – the real world outside and not just the next room.

.. But their egg cases were secure

The entire setting is surreal with a nuclear holocaust as a result of the misadventures of a country. The entire wiping out of life in the future appears a possibility. While Laroche the cockroach narrates how through time immemorial despite being under threat of annihilation and being trampled upon, they had risen again and again. Here is where the allegory gets stronger alluding to the fact that despite the conflicts between the strong and the weak, the ruler and the ruled, the Gods and the lesser mortals, humankind can emerge stronger and resilient if we could only get rid of our prejudices and irrational beliefs. I particularly liked –

“You elders don’t value yourselves. We don’t need gods, we don’t need validation from others”

“Let go of the past!! I will not allow it shape our future! When we come back, we ourselves will be the gods. Uncle, LET GO OF THE PAST.”

Ultimately the cockroach teaches us the art of adaptability and ultimate survival instincts under any conditions.


This book though a short read leaves its impact on the reader and will for a long time.