[Tales from Firozsha Baag] EBOOK READ
It is better to live in want among our family and our friends who love ou and care for ou than to be unhappy surrounded my vacuum cleaners and dish washers and big shiny motor cars Poverty and the lack of of opportunity sends the narrator to a distant promised land Canada but his heart remains with his Parsi family and their colourful neighbors living in a rundown Mumbai tenement named Firozsa Baag Despite being episodic in presentation and jumping from one point of view to another there is a consistency and a continuity to the collection that makes me treat it as a whole and complete novel instead of a casual selection of short stories And despite the strong ethnic flavour and local colour I found a universal truth in the dignity the humour the uiet endurance the dreams and the personal dramas of the tenement inhabitants that are not so different from those of the people I grew up with on my own street For the evident love of the author towards his people and his home for the joy of life even in the most trying circumstances the ability to laugh at one s misfortune and still look with hope towards the future I would place this debut book by Rohinton Mistry on the same high esteem shelf I hold for the stories of Tortilla Flat or Cannery Row by Steinbeck for the slums of London as described by Dickens or for the exuberant images of Fellini in Amarcord or I Vitelloni for Kurosawa s poetic rendering of a Tokyo slum in Do Des Ka Den Big names here but I have no hesitation in adding Mistry to the list He has a fine eye for detail a wicked sense of humour an elegant turn of phrase and what I believe an unpretentious and honest approach to the subject I feel he speaks from experience that he describes actual people he grew up with and not some imaginary characters engaged in fictional plots Of course every good writer tweaks and embelishes the truth to make it presentable to the larger public but I repeat myself I feel like I have known these Firozsa Baag people all my life in one disguise or another Nothing is certain in life Only births marriage and death The Parsi community puts great emphasis on preserving their traditional way of life resisting the lure of a global culture that effaces identity and tries to turn us into zombie like consummers of mass produced food politics music or movies even of dreams of owning products Many of the episodes in the book look at the transition between the rigid older generation and the kids preparing to escape into the larger world The Parsis are not exactly destitute they belong to the middle class and from what I ve read they have the highest rate of literacy in all India They define themselves in terms of Zoroastrian religion than their Persian ethnic origins And their population is dwindling due to low birth rates and sustained immigration From this perspective it can be said of Rohinton Mistry that he attempts to preserve his ancestral identity and reaffirm his beliefs before the whole Parsi culture is absorbed into the larger melting pot of a global uniformity The journey was well worth it for me adding new layers of information about this group of people after first meeting them in the works of John Irving A Son of the Circus or Salman Rushdie Midnight Children Remind him he is a Zoroastrian manashni gavashni kunashni better write the translation also good thoughts good words good deeds All very fine in theory but in practice the people of Firozsha Baag do sometimes err in the practice of their religious tenets often with hilarious results The tone is set in the first episode as we get to meet Rustomji the Curmudgeon preparing for a feast day only to be brought up short by dripping toilet tanks or tomatoes splashing on his impeccably white shirt Later we learn about a Goan lady seeing ghosts about the difficulties of evicting paying tenants from a sublet room and about the greatest cricket player from India Most of the humour is earthy and toilet oriented something I have also noticed with Rushdie but the major tonality of the book is sombre and melancholic People grow old children leave never to return changes are often for the worst good jobs are hard to find and death is always waiting for its cue in the wings to snatch
a loved one away I wanted to cry for the way I have treated Viraf and for his loved one away I wanted to cry for the way I have treated Viraf and for his father with the long cold needle in his arm and his rasping breath for Mamaji and her tired darkened eyes spinning thread for our kustis and for Mummy growing old in the dingy kitchen smelling of kerosene where the Primus roared and her dreams were extinguished I wanted to weep for myself for not being able to hug Daddy when I wanted to and for not ever saying thank ou for cricket in the morning and pigeons and bycicles and dreams and for all the white hairs that I was powerless to stop My favorite episode is probably the saddest of them all Condolence Visit about the strength of the marriage wovs and dealing with the loss of the loved one about annoying neighbors who refuse to keep away and about the strength to live on illustrated by a traditional marriage pugree an intricate type of head covering for the man Every flat of Firozsha Baag has its history its secret its pain Sometimes sharing is important to ease the burden other times memories are too precious to be scattered away and will
Be Selfishly Guarded From selfishly guarded from Daulat shut the door and withdrew into her flat Into the silence of the flat Where moments of life past and forgotten moments lost misplaced hidden away were all waiting to be remembered A recurring theme is the passing of tradition from one generation to the next In The Collector Dr Mody despairs of his own son getting interested in his passions and teaches a Bird Habitats in Britain young boy from the court about stamp collecting Jehangir watched and listened to the euphonious voice hinting at wondrous things and promises of dreams In Suatter Nariman the storyteller enchants hisoung audience of wild boys with tall tales of cricket and hunting slipping in one about an immigrant boy who returns home after a failed attempt to live in Canada with The Guitar Style of Jerry Reed yet another vivacious example of toilet humour In Exercises parents impose a curfew on Jehangir falling for the first time in love and try to convince him the girl is not suitable by taking him to a guru outside of town With all the subtlety of a sixteenth century morality play a crowd clawed its way into a local train All the players were there Fate and Reality and the latter s offspring the New Reality and also Poverty and Hunger Virtue and Vice Apathy and Corruption The reader might be tempted to be discouraged by these failed attempts to preserve the past in a fast changing reality but as the children grow up some wisdom and respect for their elders and their values find their ways into their hearts I think this is illustrated by the wonderful uote selected by the author for one of the later stories It s about children immigrating away from Firozsha Baag about threeoung men one who tries to live in both worlds one who despises his origins and criticizes everything about his home and one who remains and fights poverty and corruption الإيضاح لمتن ايساغوجي في المنطق your lights are all lit then where doou go with Riders of the Sea your lamp My house is all dark and lonesome lend meour light from GitanjaliThe Parsi need their sons and daughters to remember where they come from and to keep the flames burning bright for future generations The closing episode is the logical conclusion and probably the most autobiographic in the book Swimming Lessons describes a Canadian tenement who gives shelter to old men abandoned by their children to elderly spinsters on the prowl to new immigrants from the Balkans and to a homesick Parsi boy Firozsha Baag may have a dwindling population but Jehangir is carrying its essence with him as he learns to live in his new country reading the letters from home and observing his new neighbors The tale continues in a new disguise The art of swimming has been trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea The devil was the money always scarce and kept the private swimming clubs out of reach the deep blue sea of Chaupatty beach was grey and murky with garbage too filthy to swim in As a metaphor for India and the social impediments of living there the image works its purpose in explaining the exile The rest of the story explains though that India is also the place Jehangir draws his strength fro. Firozsha Baag is an apartment building in Bombay Its ceilings need plastering and some of the toilets leak appallingly but its resident. MI will definitely be interested to read from Rohinton Mistry Like John Steinbeck s Cannery Row and V S Naipaul s Miguel Street Rohinton Mistry s Tales from Firozsha Baag is a book about a particular time and place The novelist s dilemma to capture a people in a certain milieu can find a possible solution in this setup to have all the characters live in a neighbourhood So ou can focus on one at the time structure events in one story that can cross over to another with ease create scenarios that though uniue in their execution stay connected with the overall fabric of the narrative by the unchanging setting resulting in an effect neater than but not different from a novel with similar goals in which a singular conflict has the danger of getting exhausted by being carried along with little newness from one chapter to anotherWhat a skilled writer like Rohinton Mistry can achieve with such a luxury is treat each character like an island so that no character is present in the tableaux just to provide a context or act as a punching bag for the main character It is just that the focus is on A right now in one story but should we shift the focus a little bit in another story B can be given eual possibilities for piety glee or pathos ualities that are the hallmark of time tested storytelling There is hardly anything in the name of plot in these tales What works are the everyday colours the going ons of a middle class Indian life and mild unhurried events that help Mistry keep the reader thoroughly invested while he dives into the lives of the Parsi folks his narratives ranging from inner monologue to richly detailed free indirect style to collouial first person The deceptive simplicity of the narrative comes from observation and being honest to the content There are episodes of uarrel some neighbours of women hastily going through the daily chores during festival times making sure their husbands have had enough tea to generate a bowel movement so that they can get ready on time a local help who is annoyed by and secretly enjoys when a ghost wraps its body around her every night of departures and difficulties with commodesThe world building is so total every spatial detail so lovingly described the shades in the backyards where the children play the WCs that are always leaking the corridor near the stairs where the maid sleeps at night the empty dwelling after a recent death where a candle has to be kept burning one can simply step inside and live in this bookThe goal here is no less than that of Balzac who attempted to comprehend the whole of contemporary society in a series of twelve volumes only that Mistry s endeavour is an example of economic grace and gleaming prose People spend their days doing what they do in Firozsha Baag their minor day to day comedies accumulate as months turn into ears only to appear tragic in sum and effect as with most of our lives Because the way Friends Forever: Everything Changes (Friends Forever) you spendour day is the way The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts you spendour life the stories end up capturing a microcosm of the banal the un heroic the everyday which rings with faint echoes of the universal when the reading is done with so that later when NV Level 3 Health and Social Care you recline onour bed trying to sleep or take that ride through the public bus on a busy street Writing in the Dust: After September 11 you remember observations such as these placed by Mistry at correct moments in the narrative Undisturbed forears the iron trunk had rusted peacefully under the bed I have uoted the above from a story titled The collectors Though Swimming Lessons is a much analogized story from the collection I was particularly charmed by the former I grew up in a small town in Gujarat and though the days passed without much complain and holidays were spent playing cricket or going on long cycle rides in empty fields a sense of pleasant boredom comes to me when I think of those childhood days something I cannot put my finger on because what is childhood if not a play of selective memory It is this feeling the story made me reliveMore so because I fondly remember a neighbour whom I called Jay Uncle for the lack of a better address whom I will forever be indebted to for introducing me to books He would give me paperback whodunits to read and had patience enough to explain things I did not understand at that age In Mistry s story the Bulsara boy who sat silent and brooding every evening watching the others at play was treated a little unfairly by other kids who found him odd but to Mr Mody a neighbour of particular standing in the building the boy Was The Observer Of C the observer of C Their unlikely friendship centres around the meetings that take place at Mr Mody s house every Sunday morning Off course I will not rob the first time readers of the uiet narrative delights of the story by giving details but will just mention that the best kind of gift a human being can give to another a hobby is the focus of the story and I couldn t help think of Jay Uncle as I finished reading it In each story ou can smell and taste the setting And as the backdrop is Bombay itself always silent not willing to interfere or prove its importance like in the work of lesser Indian writers but just being there and lending firm detail to the whole structure I am amused that good books like this can be produced that can enrich both the heart and the mind 4Read these 11 stories over a couple of weeks and it was a blissful experienceA great collection of short stories because1 They are not very short 30 40 pages each2 Characters criss cross in each others storiesSo in effect felt this was a good novel impersonating as short stories Mistry s story telling techniues are at an altogether different levelThis one focuses on human emotions and observations from middle class Parsi families living in a building called Firozsha BaagThis was my second book first was AFB and I ve become a fan of the authorHighly recommended This is a collection of short stories based around an apartment complex in Bombay occupied mostly by members of the Parsi community The stories stand alone but are closely intertwined and set over *A Period Of Years So Children In *period of ears so children in earlier stories are seen as adults later Mistry picks out the idiosyncrasies and indelicacies of daily life foibles and habits are laid World can be a bewildering placeand dreams and ambitions are often paths to the most pernicious of trapsIn the early decades of the post independent India Mistry here tells us about the lives and idiosyncrasies of certain residents in an apartment complex in Bombay But before I say any further let me bore ou with something I have to sayMy childhood was spent and cherished in a mohallacolony not an apartment complex in a small city There was no Parsi family in our neighborhood The time was three or four decades after of what this book pertains to YET while reading these tales I was filled with a bittersweet air of nostalgia The smell of the school s lunch area the nagging of a curmudgeon neighbor the omnipresence of a meddling aunty the gang of children and a pariah child all seemed to be lived inHaving read A Fine Balance I was prepared to cherish the excellent narration of the genius
that Mistry is But I was again awestruck by this little gem because Mistry is But I was again awestruck by this little gem because the wonted lives of these residents penetrated and penetrated deep There is a subtle sarcasm and a profound ponderance on some of the biggest social and cultural issues of all time cultural and religious superstitions caste and race bigotry covetous western influences and corruptionThe luster of this book is that all the 11 stories are interweaved into one piece of cloth the characters in the previous chapters are not forgotten or misplaced The last chapter especially is a gem wherein Mistry or less concludes all the stories and gives the reader an autobiographical essence Rohinton Mistry ou are a gem A paired look at Rohinton Mistry Tales from Firozsha Baag and Michael Chabon Werewolves in Their YouthI chanced upon these back to back both short story collections both by writers in their working outh Mistry s first book and an early one for Chabon Both as much as anything nostalgic bittersweet recollections of childhood the middle class childhoods of their own existencesChabon laugh out loud funny ou knowso that it gets almost irritating for those who are suffering through RTA - CIP B702.6 - Renault Clio III, phase 1 de 09/05 a 03/08 your pleasure They start sounding snarky when they say they must read it too The guy s brilliant this collection is splendi. S are far from desperate though sometimes contentious and unforgiving In these witty poignant stories Mistry charts the intersecting li. DMistry the blurb says extremely funny But the only good thing about the shit of his world and I mean that literally the shit on the street the upstairs lavatory that leaks ontoour head as The Tale of Atterberry The Faire Pendant Series you sit on the toilet the filth the water supply turned off at 6am because the city is without again the monsoonal water running down the inside ofour house the good thing about it is that this is all happening to middle class educated people the same ones who had they lived in Chabon s childhood would have been clean and without want This life he writes of is the relatively privileged existence one can have in India that s what I mean by good I mean there is a worse life I couldn t imagine anything less hilarious I could not imagine anything if it comes to that less compassionate another promise of the blurb I don t know that Mistry is ever the victim of that sentiment but certainly not in this bookrest here Old bai took English words and made them Parsi words Easy chair was igeechur French beans was ferach beech and Jacueline became Jakaylee Later I found out that all old Parsis did this it was like they made their own private languageI ll follow this language any day In these stories Firozsha Baag s language is pronounced in sharp italicized abbreviated tunes of the kind of laughter and pain that follows everyday life of the fabric of life within a community of the nuances of a people and culture of those moments that may seem simple and HERBALISM WORLD: This book includes: yet they deeply and meaningfully define a way of living Of White Hairs and Crickets one of my favorite stories in this book As aoung boy tweezes the grays out of his father s head daily he thinks t Patterns of life are selfish and unforgiving Reading this book was akin to watching Basu Chatterjee s movie Khatta Meetha sour and sweet and just like the movie s title the Tales from Firozsha Baag are laced with a bittersweet taste hence presenting us with a delectable feast to be savored and cherished for a long time Rohinton Mistry is a reader s writer and gives us a fiction that makes its course through reality as its central theme which further substantiate the fact about Mistry s deep understanding and impeccable observation of everyday life It s a collection of eleven interconnected short stories taking place over a period of time in Firozsha Baag Building Bombay now Mumbai having majority of residents from Parsi community and encapsulates the experience of one or characters per story with exploration of recurring themes like alienation escapism coming of age facing the challenges of migrant life cultural diversity and coming to terms with the cycle of life death to name a few The book starts out with tracing the happenings of a single day in the life of a Parsi Couple Rustomji Mehroo in Auspicious Occasion and how on occasion of Mehroo s birthday various uncalled events occurred with Rustom s incessant badgering about leaked toilets his disturbed bowel movements to the decayed apartment building and his permanent annoyance with his neighbors which earned him the title of Rustomji The curmudgeon Rustomji carries a sense of superiority in his ways but in no time comes to the realization of his standing wrt others in a rather ironic way One of my favorite stories The Ghost of Firozsha Baag is narrated from the point of view of a Catholic house maid Jacueline who hails from Goa but dwells in Bombay for almost 49 Kim Deal and Me years but still a sense of being an outsider lurks around her Never will I forget that first day in Bombay I just stood in one place not knowing what to do till Joseph Uncle saw me Now it has been forty nineears in this house as ayah believe or don t believe Forty nine ears in Firozsha Baag s B Block and they still don t say my name right Is it so difficult to say Jacueline But they always say Jaakaylee Or worse Jaakayl The narration is carried out by using vernacular style in order to capture Jacueline s true mannerism wherein she put across her opinions about the couple she works for and how everybody mispronounces her name therefore snatching away an important aspect of her being This focus on language can also be attributed to Mistry s commentary on usage of English language in post colonial India in general and cosmopolitan nature of Bombay city in particular Condolence Visit is the best of the lot A story about a recently widowed Minocher Mirza which examines her ordeal of carrying out various post death rituals for her late husband and her apprehension about handling all the visits by neighbors and relatives for condolence purpose only the thought of which irritates her to no extent Mistry skillfully captured Minocher s emotional turmoil here and her strong persona is truly reflected when she takes a stand in her own modest fashion against the artificial world around her which is bound by age
Old Customs And Traditions customs and traditions she let a fact established that she has every right to live life on her own terms just like she did when her husband was aliveIn the same way Exercisers treads its path through the teenage mind of Jehangir Bulsara wherein the hard facts about life are causing unforeseen twists and turns in his life where he needs to make certain choices regarding his parents the love of his life but most importantly he needs to find answers about his true self his sexuality and the extent of control he can or should exercise on his life On the surface these stories might appear simple and grounded but when approached with a sense of continuity the true brilliance of Mistry
s talent as story teller shines through The hold he has on his characters and the subseuent events that take talent as story teller shines through The hold he has on his characters and the subseuent events that take in their lives along with the treatment he gives to them by employing metaphoric and ironic elements in right proportions especially given the short story format is what makes him a great writer The final story swimming lessons came as a pleasant surprise with its metafictional narrative which although is not very experimental but the ease with which Mistry adapted this techniue seems like a natural climax to the whole collection Moreover this book carries an autobiographical element about Rohinton s life in Bombay and later his migration to Canada where he took along a whole bundle of memories which were waiting to find a place on paper which they did and it s pretty easy to identify that he remained true in telling about the various stories that born out of his life and the lives connected to him A special mention about the objectivity he maintained throughout while describing the Parsi lifestyle Being a Parsi himself he could have exerted some prejudice but I found none in view He is what we call a reliable narrator This book is highly
"RECOMMENDED ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO FEEL THAT HIS OTHER "especially for those who feel that his other are loaded with depressing stuff I felt a deep connection with almost everything this book had to offer for obvious reasons but at a basic level it definitely has the ability to reach out the hearts of everyone who finds pleasure in simple things about life It is said that when the British left India they gifted their mannerism to the Parsis I do not know the authenticity of such whimsical statements although I have never seen any community with such great degree of clear cut decorum Parsi is a Persian Zoroastrian ethnic community a minority in the Indian sub continent In a religion conscious environment Parsis are the most mild mannered and according to my adolescent psyche aromatic individuals As a child my pleasant memories of experiencing Parsi culture were those pleasant Sundays spent with an elderly neighbor Dhun Aunty as we would address her would serve our hungry mouths with the most delectable savory dishes of meat and eggs The spicy curries and rice with caramelized onions were devoured amid the lingering aroma of sandalwood and eau de cologne Bowls of warm bread pudding with afternoon tea while laughing our guts outs to the antics of Laurel and Hardy would see an end to a wonderful soiree It is where I l The thing about Rohinton MistryThat makes him uniue in my reading historyIs that he wrote three long novels uite fastEach one better than the lastAnd then in 2002 he stoppedAs if these three just couldn t be toppedAnd I have been waiting since thenI the most patient of menSo finally I picked up these short storiesAlas not a substitute for former gloriesNot much of a feast a light snackRohinton Mistry please come back. Ves of Firozsha Baag ielding a delightful collective portrait of a middle class Indian community poised between the old ways and the .