Skip to main content

My corner : The End of Innocence

Book Review

The End of Innocence
By Moni Mohsin

Almost immediately you will hurtle into a love story- one that is hectored by adult wisdom and succumbs to the inevitable consequences. This Bildungsroman nostalgically takes a peek into the affluent world of a curious eight- year -old Laila and her best friend Rani, the dreamy granddaughter of a maid. Rani is busy cavorting in her love story that gets briefly elevated to the cinematic kind by nothing else but the vehicle of her imagination.
A child herself, fifteen- year -old Rani plans her marriage and gets her dowry ready: “six glasses and a jug and four sets of new clothes. Oh, and shoes, golden and shiny, with heels-like brides wear-and maybe even some lipstick.” It is a secret that Laila promises to never reveal to the adult world further cemented by the fact that Laila and Rani are partners of a game called “Terrific Two”. Laila swears to never betray her partner. But in that innocence there lurks the hint of betrayal that is propelled by a childish selfishness to claim the sole proprietorship of a friend. Friendship being the space in childhood that is most precious and in this novel the eagerness to preserve the friendship unwittingly opens the door of evil.
The seemingly indolent narrative is delightfully interrupted by thoughts of George, Annie, Julian and Dick. This effortless migration of characters from Enid Blyton’s storybooks into Laila’s thoughts is charming. Laila constantly gauges how she would measure up to these characters often chiding herself, “Worse, she had failed as a detective. George would have found a way of giving Bua the slip.”
Set in the villages of Pakistan in the year 1971, the novel meanders through the atmosphere of ancient havelis and huge bungalows as the war with India looms in the horizon. While adults worry over the war, it is the children that think up innovative defensive contingencies to ward off the Indians. Says Rani, “I’ve hidden a bag of extra hot chilli powder by the door. If Indian soldiers come into our house, I’ll hurl fistfuls of chilli into their eyes until they run away screaming.”
Moni Mohsin’s “The End of Innocence” is the latest addition to the growing pile of literature from across the border. Effortlessly written it also gives their view of us and it is not that bad.
(First published by the Sunday express)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Suryanelli Girl: Her Story

Suryanelli: The place of no sun. 
  Roofs weighed down by rock bags to keep the wind from blowing them away
Off the Kerala state highway that connect the small, brash towns giddy with foreign remittances, sits an unassuming, modest home that goes by the name: Lovedale. A septuagenarian couple, a retired postmaster and a retired nurse, live here with their younger daughter and, a ghoulish past that continues to taunt every waking moment of their lives. The 33-year-old daughter smiles shyly revealing an innocence frozen in time. 17 years ago, the daughter, then a 16-year-old girl, had left home wearing a skirt and a blouse to go to school and returned sexually violated and terribly traumatized: her transformation from a carefree school girl to a bloated individual was violently shocking. The girl had been kept captive, fed sedatives and alcohol, traded for sex and raped by 42 men in a span of 40 days in the months of January and February 1996. The family’s tryst with rapists, the police, …

Free Masons: All about them

Free masonry- the 'spiritual society' of sacred brotherhood with its origins in antiquity has always been shrouded in mystery. Their initiation rites, rituals, symbolisms, secret signs and code of conduct have further enhanced the aura of mysteriousness. Is Free Masonry a remnant of an ancient religion that worshipped the Sun or is it just an exclusive, elitist boy's club that indulges in secret charity missions?
In 1961 the Grand Lodge of India, which is an off -shoot of the Grand Lodges of Scotland, England and Ireland was constituted. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India Mr.Arun Chintopanth was recently here in Kochi to preside over the meeting of the Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India. In an exclusive interview with the Grand Master sought to demystify the Masonic Lodge. Arun Chintopanth in full regalia. Dont miss the apron. What is Free Masonry? It is not a service organisation. It is not a religious group. It is not a mutual benefit society but it is a combi…

Book Review: An Autobiography Of A Sex Worker by Nalini Jameela

I am 51 years old. And I would like to continue to be a sex worker.” This is how the candid and defiant opening statement in Nalini Jameela’s autobiography in Malayalam, Oru Lymgika-thozhilaliyude Atmakadha, goes. It at once throws a challenge at society’s double standards — harsh on prostitutes and soft on the clients. Nalini Jameela, who is the coordinator of the Kerala Sex Workers’ Forum, reveals her sordid story with no trace of compunction.
Nalini was a 24-year-old widow when she entered the profession to feed her two children. At that time she did not think about the repercussions of her act. She writes, “I was earning Rs 4.50 at a tile factory near Trissur. My mother-in-law served me with an ultimatum to either give her five rupees a day to look after my children or leave the house. I recounted my woes to a friend, who introduced me to Rosechechi. Rosechechi promised me Rs 50 if I spent time with a man. The first thought that came to my mind was that my children would be looked…