Book: The Village by The Sea

This book is written by an Indian author, Anita Desai. She's now an old woman.

The book kinda gets the message about rural India across, but I'm just 13, so I don't really get what she's [Anita Desai] trying to say. It's probably about the differences between city kids and village children [note that I say 'kids' and 'children']. We talk about not getting the 4th-gen nano (hint, hint, Tanya) while they toil all day to get a meagre salary.


Hari and Lila are a brother and sister who live in the village Thul with their two sisters, Bela and Kamal, and their parents. Their mother is bedridden and their father, gone every night to the toddy shop, doesn’t seem to help as he is forever drunk.

Only Bela and Kamal go to school. Hari dropped out of school a few years back as he could not afford to pay the school fees. The entire village makes a living by fishing, but Hari’s family, being poor, can’t afford a boat. Instead, Hari climbs coconut trees and sells coconuts in the market. One day, Hari sees a site for a factory being laid and finds out that there is going to be a huge fertilizer complex stretching from Thul to Vaishet. There are soon lots of protests as these factories will release waste into the sea, polluting it and killing all the fish, which will eventually result in the loss of the villagers’ livelihood.

The villagers from Alibagh and Thul then decide to sail to Bombay, to give a petition to the Chief Minister saying that they will not part with their land. Hari follows them as well. Upon reaching Bombay, he realizes that he could stay here and make a living. Back in Thul, there is a house owned by a family called the de Silvas, who live in Bombay. They had given Hari their address. He goes there, but they have gone back to Thul. The security guard of their apartment leads Hari to a man called Jagu, who gives him a meal and a job at his restaurant, the Sri Krishna Eating House.

In Thul, Lila tells Mr. de Silva about her mother’s sickness and he immediately brings her to the hospital in Alibagh and agrees to pay for her treatment. When Lila’s father finds out, he gets angry and immediately leaves for Alibagh. The next time Lila visited her mother; she finds her father there and notices that he has given up drinking.

Meanwhile, in Bombay, Hari has taken up another job with the watchmender, Mr Panwallah. He teaches him how to mend watches and it is here that the monsoon starts. After earning enough, Hari returns to Thul by bus and meets his family the day before Diwali. He finds out about his mother and father. He goes to Alibagh to bring his mother and father home and they all celebrate Diwali together the next day with fireworks, sparklers, bonfires, Catherine wheels and bull races. In the end, their mother is well enough to go to the shrine in the sea with the other village women.

I would also like to mention that this is the longest post ever.


A Quote

"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as though you'll die today"
- James Dean