Varkala Hindu festival March 08

The death of Vishnu by Manil Suri

What an amazing book!

To me, that I love India so much, this book has everything I am so much fond of.

It plays in an apartment block in Bombay ( Mumbay) in the span of 48 hours.
During this time Vishnu, the "every job" walla, is going through his process of dying, meeting in the delirium of the last moments of his life the people who really counted: his mother, the girlfriend hooker Padmini, Kavita, a girl from the flat above his landing, and of course all of the Hindu deity, from Laxmi to Krishna. In the time that Vishnu is confronting his end, the drama and romance of the inhabiter of the building are played out to its fullest.

The author Manil Suri is describing an Indian universe in the personal story of each family members that lives in those flats.
You find in there a Bollywood style marriage proposal and of course the drama of elopement.
Two housewives' constant quarrel and bickering over the only one kitchen they need to share.
The widower on the top floor who after having lost his young wife turns to a solitary life with glimpses of spirituality to overcome the immense grief while endlessly playing his dead wife's favorite album.
To top it off Mr Jalal, the Muslim father, dreaming a path to liberation proclaims to everybody that Vishnu is not an ordinary job man but a god that has appointed him to spread the good news to the world.
Therefore to complete the picture of life in India we have, regretfully, the perfect mob between the Hindu and Muslim families, who are trying to understand each other but the weight of century of conditioning are difficult to bare.
Oh poor beloved Gandhi!

Vishnu ultimately is left alone to die on the staircase of the building, while some family are fighting who should pay the ambulance or the doctors. But no one is in fact assisting or taking care of him while he is dying.

The author writing is captivating, alive, witty and full of the Indian flavor I love so much. His characters are so deeply and wonderfully human and the acuteness in describing the many social differences and conditioning of real India is to admire.

My life in Poona

I remember one time on the way to MG road by bicycle I saw a beggar completely immobile on the street. I stopped and look around if someone was going to help. I myself didn't now what to do. The stench that arose from her lying position was so overwhelming that it paralyzed any good intention on my side to bend over and try to help her. Also in the Ashram we were told to keep away from beggars. In fact you could have gotten into trouble to touch a dying person. Police may harass you. You don't mix with the karma of a person, so they say.

This happens 20 years ago, but I believe it is till happening right now in the 21century in certain areas of India.
More and more the volunteer work founded by Mother Theresa and other association has been devoting to take care and "collect" the dying persons from the street and bring them in a more human environment to die in warm and loving hands.

My heart reaches out to all those who are actively working and caring for the dying.

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