The novel has a single female protagonist whose present state of
affairs — mother’s death in an accident, father’s
departure for a foreign sojourn and a perforce stay of nine days
at her uncle’s house at Shimla — gives the reader a peep
into the mind of this young girl, who is mature beyond her
years. All this leaves the field clear for her to do what she
preferred her own company and loved to read and write... and at
times I just read myself."
something to do (she) during his uncle’s absence, she comes
across a number of diaries which later change the course of her
life. The diaries contain information about her unknown past,
philosophy and wisdom of ancient sages and a commentary on their
thoughts and ideas by present-day scholars and philosophers —
Tagore, Camus, Gibran, Nietzsche, Osho, etc.
deeply influenced by the abstract letters, diaries and one-sided
discussions. The diaries reveal how certain persons plotted to
get her mother involved in an extra-marital relationship,
resulting in her birth and then go on to describe an exchange of
babies at the hospital. Knowledge of all What this knowledge
does to the heroine is what the novel is all about.
sustains itself — on a single major character that of the
heroine. The rest of the characters — the servant, the twins,
her intellectual mentor and guide Vivek, her one-time lover who
never ever appears in person, her uncle father — are all
subsidiary. The landscape and splendour of Shimla juxtaposed
with the changing moods of the heroine, provides a welcome
relief from the otherwise serious, philosophical narrative.
Grover has been
successful in clothing his intellectual-mystical-philosophical
thoughts in a rich narrative style — Pithy one-liners abound:
disowned, I own, but my own I cannot own, nor disown."
are for those who guzzle. And Haiku for those who hike."
is the mother of god and fear the father."
"Life is a
ticking time bomb whose fuse is lit from the moment of
This book also
contains the beginnings of Grover’s poetic exercises as also
of the play The Nine Neins. He proposes to bring out
these two books in near future.
A thought disturbs and here it
is. It is said that Mahatma Buddha attained enlightenment after
meditating under the Bodhi Tree for seven years and got nirvana
or salvation much later. Are nine days in the camp-like
atmosphere in the secluded house of Mr Anand enough to attain nirvana?
The novel ends on the same note on which it
began — pain, shock, despair, anxiety.