'A novel with a Sufi touch' says the blurb. That prompted me to pick the book. He had also published another non-fiction book on Sufism. The start was pretty brilliant. Following on the life of Abu, who left his home town at 14 , working and living through various parts of the country , having acquainted many faces , some closely and some at a distance. Now, returning to his homeland after many many years ( the writer does not give any hint at this), he reminisce his nomadic days at his attic.
Abu, remembers his progressive father, who for his views and thought, was an outcast in his social and religious circle, denied Abu, the typical life of a muslim boy. Being discarded from the Madrassa, from his neighborhood , forced to lead a life in isolation. His mother, spent her time in the prayer mat or blowing air to the kitchen fire, never to set foot outside. The only sister stayed back after marriage, after her husband went on work to Malaysia. Unable to handle the days of distress, Abu leaves home at the age of 14. As is the case with many of his predecessors, he found his refuge in a small town in Tamilnadu, finding a job as a helper in a sawmill. His journey to manhood and learning begins at this small town of Arumapakkam. Through various acquaintance and encounters of people with spiritual background, mystics Abu grows in stature and learning. From Tamilnadu to Mumbai and onward to Delhi - Ajmer and other part of the country, we are witnessed to more of these meetings and friendship in Abu's life.
This is the life of almost every young Keralite, who leave the state in search of a living. goes through similar experience. Hashim , adds a flavour of Mysticism to his tale. To all, the journey continue from one place to other, at each "edathavalam' you gain a lot of friends, some last longer and many for a short time. This continues through out your life, adding newer names and faces to the list dropping few others. Hashim , restricts his tale to 3 cities, but this can continue eternal, or until like Abu, you call it quits and return to your fold.
Hashim is a good writer, and he has some wonderful pages in the book. But that alone, does not make this a compulsive story telling. It lacks in many aspect of a good fiction. Its dependence on the aura of mystic figures appearing and disappearing lack conviction and leaves us with non-interconnected narrative. Many encounters seems forced and unnatural. The shift from one place to other lacks continuity and real reasoning. The story by itself is incomplete.----------------------------------------
ഇടത്താവളങ്ങള് ( 2012 )
E M Hashim
D C Books