Thursday, June 7, 2018

House of Cards - Sudha Murthy

After tomes like 'Flow' and then 'Notes from the Dead House' I decided to ease up and picked up Sudha Murthy's 'House of Cards' (2013). It is a novel set mostly in Bangalore, rural Karnataka and Mumbai.

A young girl from a small village, Mridula, marries Sanjay, a doctor (with one arm shorter than the other thanks to an accident in his childhood). How the young couple struggles against life's vagaries - family politics, finance, career, children, success, love etc makes up the rest of the story. In the first part, they fall in love and marry. In the second, they struggle against politics and other troubles that naive and honest people face. In the third, they get rich and acquire a different set of troubles.

From bringing up children to leading a balanced life, money and ideals, success and failure - the book takes on too much and is told at a breakneck speed. If told at the pace it deserves, it could have been a 600-page book. There are too many stereotypes in corrupt seniors, politicians, government offices, youngsters, idealistic and sacrificing wives and so on. But on the plus side, we see a part of Karnataka we normally might not see otherwise and certainly, there is a lot of real life there even if they are stereotypes. In the end, I was glad Mridula goes back to the village. I felt a lot of relief. And I would have loved it even more if the last line could have been avoided. I thought it was a big compromise to add that.

It's easy to read and is a story we can relate to. Somewhat similar to Sudha Murthy's own life I felt - humble beginnings, independent and intelligent woman with a great enthusiasm for life, marries for love, an idealistic husband who struggles a bit initially and then great success. The parts of the son's love story and his own growth were rather boring. In fact, I felt they could have been avoided.

I have read a lot of Sudha Murthy's books - four so far or more. Says something. Thanks Sagar.

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