Hullabaloo in the guava orchard is Kiran Desai’s first novel and the recipient of BETTY TRASK prize in 1998 and the blurb at the back of the book seems hilarious and Kiran proved it to be as well.
The story is about a boy named Sampath chawla, born under such circumstances that it might not be wrong to have prophesied that he would turn into a child prodigy but things went otherwise. Since child he had been a nuisance for his father who endeavors hard to keep the prestige and motion of his family intact but failed to keep his son on the right track. Sampath was a daydreamer and had gone under the influence of his mother who wasn’t so much familiar like her neighbors and always used to think differently (Lunatically).
One day, sampath got so fed up from his life and tried to get rid of everything and every attachment by settling on a guava tree all alone and watch the world from that distance while enjoying his life with less demanding and expecting creatures. When sampath refused to move down from the tree, his father screamed in disbelief but god had other plans. As the days passed and all their hard work to get him down ran into gutter, Sampath used the gossip that he learned while working in the post office as a medium to influence people in aesthetic way. He told them those secrets which are kept hidden in the small box at the corner of their heart. Everyone startled expectantly and that was the day when people showered the respect he had been missing since a long time back. That was the day he became a famous hermit of his town.
Things went awry when some naughty monkeys got attached to the cuisines served to sampath by his family mates and followers. Wonkiness didn’t just stop here but got even worse when these monkeys had Rum one day and started creating havoc not only in that orchard but throughout the city. Not just Sampath’s father but the whole city of Shashkot gets into the scene of solving this naughty racy monkey problem by suggesting one plan or another and by wagering politics over it.
This book has been written in lucid and brilliant way not to forget the talent she has inherited from her mother Anita Desai who herself is a magnificent author and has been shortlisted for booker prize three times.
This book does have some loop holes in the plot. For ex:- When it is clearly portrayed the problems the family members had in making sampath bath and dine when he clearly refused to step down from the tree even for a minute, it is nowhere mentioned when and how he used to Defecate while sitting on the branch of the tree if things are to be take logically. Nevertheless, the book is extremely hilarious and filled with witty one liners and no wonder you may find yourself laughing holding your stomach in the middle of the book. Kiran has left an open ending for the readers to decide for themselves what the end would have been.
A MUST READ I will say for those who want some light heart fun and satire on Indian society and its obsolete superstitious approach to certain things.