Reading S L Bhyrappa’s work was not possible for me when I was in my teens. It sounded a different and difficult world. But when I gave it another try after some more years, it all started making sense, and his books got into prominent place in my book rack.
Parva is my favorite among his novels. I read, re-read it a few times, and was discovering many angles to it each time I read it. Of course, the epic of Mahabharata has influenced Indians over generations, from kings to commoner and people from all walks of life. And many story tellers were fascinated by it and retold the story again and again. But the master story teller puts it in a different way here. You take out the mythology, godly status and divine powers of characters in Mahabharata you will have Parva in your hand.
Tantu has a plot with five leading characters, each unique and having a different attitude towards life. The story begins with the journalist visiting his ancestral village to find out more about the missing idol from the temple. He finds that things have changed, like the village hospital his grandfather got built bearing a different name but he finds comfort in a school teacher who runs a school on Gandhian principles and also comes across an young man who has devoted his life to music. Back in town, journalist’s way of keeping morale high above anything else does not go well with his wife and son, who are fascinated by materialistic things of the world. His wife eventually parts away with him to start off a Garment factory with the help of her childhood friend. She finds success in her mission but gets trapped in the favors needed to run the business and also her needs to affirm herself with the need of a man (Musician, her husband’s friend) in her life. Their son, expelled from school in town due to unacceptable behavior, joins the village school, where he gets a makeover. But once he is in college, he finds many takers for quick relationships. He leaves the country for higher studies and does not bother to visit her mother when she is in death bed. The journalist and the school teacher get jailed during emergency announced by Govt. and the story ends there with one of the inmates dying in the jail.