Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Anudini

Anudini is an account of the year 1997 in Tipre family's life. Every member of the family wrote diary for a year. Author Dilip Prabhavalkar wrote weekly column in Loksatta, a Marathi newspaper. These columns were compiled and published as Anudini. The book has an introduction by Ratnakar Matkari, renowned Marathi playwright.

The Tipre’s – Aba (grandfather), Shekhar (Aba’s son), Shamala (Aba’s daughter in law), Shirya (Aba’s grandson) and Shalaka (Aba’s granddaughter) stay together in Mumbai. Aba is retired, Shekhar is an accountant, Shamala is a housewife and the kids are out of college and starting work. Aba’s wife, Shekhar’s mom is no longer alive. Shekhar’s sister Shaila is married to an engineer and immigrated to the US. The Tipre’s are a perfect snapshot of the aspiring middle class of the 1990s.

Aba is the cornerstone of the family. He tries to handle every situation with a grain of smile, because he has been there and done that. Because he was born in pre-independence period; he has memories of the British Raj. He is a fitness freak and uses his free time after retirement for whimsies of exercise, discussion and Yoga. Shekhar is humble hardworking person looking to take care of the family and ensuring that the kids get good education and settle in life. He is keenly interested in kavya-shastra-vinod, but sulks because he doesn’t have the time to engage in literary activities. Shamala takes care of the family and is lost in the demands managing a household warrants. Shriya and Shalaka are busy with their studies, work and making sense in a soon to be globalized world. Shaila has raised two daughters in US and is worried about their marriage and getting settled in life. In all it’s a typical Marathi family, aspiring to do well. Upwardly mobile as marketers like to say.

The columns are reflections on day to day events in the life of the family and the nation. We can see arrival of US companies in India, investments in infrastructure building. We also see general apathy towards common good and the infamous Indian “chalta hain” attitude. Sadly nothing seems to have changed after 20 years, in 2017. Just to site an example there is a story about flooding in June after monsoons. Something which was happening at least since 1997 that went awry in 2005. So the authorities didn’t do anything to prevent it all along for 8 years. I could see the same pattern in Latur. Last year there was a shout about water scarcity in Marathwada. Sadly it’s something which likes of P. Sainath had been warning us at least last 15 years. We really don’t learn. These things sure make me mad, but there is a silver lining to know that Shriya and Shalaka get good jobs, Shalaka starts working and gets engaged and the entire family is there to care from Aba when he is sick and needs to be hospitalized. It’s also a realization that solving at micro level is important. All Marco begins at the micro anyways.

Read the book to Bela and we were done before we knew it. I am sure Bela picks up the qualities to persevere and good humor Aba and the entire Tipre family has. When I watch Shriyut Gangadhar Tipre series now, I wonder at Guru Thakur’s skill to create script from the column entries. Everyone including Ashok Patki for the title song, have done great job. It’s one of the Marmabandhatali Thevs of Marathi culture I would say.

Finally thanks to my friend Prathamesh for getting the book to us from Mumbai in 2015.

No comments: