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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Man of a Thousand Chances

Whatever happens happens for the good. Everything is preordained. These and other maxims that convey the same help us reconcile ourselves to the mystery behind various happenings in the Universe.

This story also helps us to examine not only our thoughts and actions but also various incidents that seem coincidental and attribute the same to a larger force that is driving the big picture of every one’s lives.

Something like a big chess game being played at a higher contextual level.

The story is set in the backdrop of Chennai where Harihar works in a museum and is working hard to make ends meet. Estranged from his parents and the rest of the brothers, he has no share of property and thereby is totally on his own. His small savings have been put into a high return mutual fund scheme that will mature just a little too late for his daughter’s impending wedding.

Harihar is in a fix. Reluctant to borrow from his affluent brother and the shame of not being capable of conducting his only daughter’s wedding, in a desperate bid to save face, he “borrows” a valuable Jahangir gold coin from the museum. His plan was to pawn it for money and come back to release the coin after he received his mutual fund deposit. He would quietly return the coin and none would be wiser.

With his stash of money in exchange for the coin, Harihar loosens the purse strings. He generously buys the silks for his wife and daughter and all would have gone well if Sanjeev, his friend and financial adviser would not have given him the terrible news of the collapse of the mutual fund. Harihar managed to recover some money but the shadow of the entire episode weighed on him through out the wedding.

But this was not the end of all. After the wedding, he shares his problem with his wife.
His wife reveals her secret- she has been trading secretly and that lucky day she ends up making a huge sum which will cover the cost of recovering the coin. Someone’s loss ends up being someone’s gain and in this case overall balance of loss and gain in the family has been neutralized.

Harihar goes to the pawn shop and learns that since he is a week late, the pawnbroker has melted it to recover the huge sum he gave to Harihar and he also gets some more money from the pawnbroker in exchange of the coin.

A series of incidents take place that somehow resolves one issue after another. But does Harihar manage to come out of this situation completely? Are their still unsolved puzzles in his life? What about the biggest trouble of his life- the disappearance of his son? Can the explanation of the wheel of karma and pre ordained happenings explain this to him?

An interesting book to read, it definitely managed to keep me interested.
There was not a single dull moment. However, I honestly felt that sometimes, in order to give a visual to words, the descriptions of scenes became too elaborate. Also, it became too philosophical towards the end which somehow I felt did not fit in the entire weaving of the story

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