ANITA DESAI IN CUSTODY EBOOK
In this sensitive portrayal of human nature, Anita Desai, one of India's Stimulating and thought provoking, In Custody is a brilliant parable. Touching and wonderfully funny, In Custody is woven around the yearnings and calamities of a small-town scholar in the north of India. Buy the eBook In Custody by Anita Desai online from Australia's leading online eBook store. Download eBooks from Booktopia today.
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Read "In Custody" by Anita Desai available from Rakuten Kobo. Touching and wonderfully funny, In Custody is woven around the yearnings and calamities of a . Read "In Custody" by Anita Desai available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase. In this sensitive portrayal of human nature. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Anita Desai is one of India s foremost writers . She has Kindle Store; ›; Kindle eBooks; ›; Literature & Fiction.
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In Custody by Anita Desai | | Booktopia
Touching and wonderfully funny, In Custody is woven around the yearnings and calamities of a small-town scholar in the north of India. An impoverished college lecturer, Deven, sees a way to escape from the meanness of his daily life when he is asked to interview India's greatest Urdu poet, Nur - a project that can only end in disaster.
The author chronicles India lovingly but it would be a mistake to think of her simply as an Indian writer, for her themes are universal". General Format: English Number Of Pages: Random House. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join.
In Custody By: Anita Desai. Be the first to write a review. Share This eBook:. Add to Wishlist. Instant Download. So he sets off on a number of adventures on Sundays, the one free day that he should have spent with his wife and son. Some of these are quite funny. Having sunk into a senile old age, surrounded by fawning sycophants, married to a younger calculating wife who wants to use his glory to win herself fame, Nur is not what he once was: The saddest part is the result of the sessions.
Drunk and encouraged by his admirers who follow him along to the sessions. Deven, a shrinking and weak man, is somehow drawn to this old poet and wishes to help and protect him as he cannot defend himself. Perhaps it is the tie of Urdu poetry that Deven remembers from his treasured times as a child with his father. So, in order to save the name and works of Nur for posterity, Deven decides to record his voice on tape for his small-town university.
I found this book very interesting but increasingly depressing. However, In Custody is a compelling read and I recommend the book. This story was billed as humorous, but I found it to be depressing at best. The only good part about it was that I could look at the story and go alright, my life sucks, but it's not as bad as Deven's.
I did finish the book and in some ways enjoyed it, but it's a book that leaves you feeling depressed afterward and not in a profound way. I'm glad I read it, but it's not a book I ever want to read again. I've never read anything like this before I hated all the characters; especially the protagonist..
I had such a great urge to get inside the book and punch him in the face..! Other than that, I think Anita Desai writes very well. Reading morose Indian fiction is extremely trying on my nerves. It pulls me down and keeps me there for weeks after I go through any such stories. I don't mean to say that human frailty and failings do not deserve an airing now and then. Its just that I have found that Indian authors have a knack for bringing out a deep well of hopelessness in their writings that are devoid of any stray ray of laughter or happiness to alleviate the sheer darkness of despair in the lives of their main protagonist Reading morose Indian fiction is extremely trying on my nerves.
Its just that I have found that Indian authors have a knack for bringing out a deep well of hopelessness in their writings that are devoid of any stray ray of laughter or happiness to alleviate the sheer darkness of despair in the lives of their main protagonists. It is certainly a gift and definitely a souvenir of the society we grow up in but takes a strong stomach to digest when presented in all its naked, terrifying glory.
This is the story of Deven, a professor of Hindi in a private college in Mirpore, deeply dissatisfied by the 'stagnant backwaters' of his life and a devotee of the works of the Urdu poet Nur. Deven is the eternal victim of life's unfair vagaries from his viewpoint, is constantly cowed down by all and sundry and is in turn a tyrant towards the few people in his life who are under his thumb, namely his wife and son.
He is a pessimist and overtly sensitive to all sorts of imagined and real slights coming his way and, yet, incapable of standing up for himself except in a whining and wheedling tone that seems to get on everybody's nerves. Deven is not a likable person. At no point in the book did I feel sorry for him or want to know him better.
Anita Desai, 'In Custody'
His obsequious hero-worship of the once demigod Nur, who has now dissolved into a shadow of his former life, and his quite unnecessary anger on his spoilt hero's behalf were a constant rub on my already frayed nerves have I mentioned my nerves enough already?
The glowing foreword by one of the greatest writers of our times, Salman Rushdie, states that this is 'not at all a bitter book' but I most humbly disagree. It is bitter and sad and with the word 'despair' used repeatedly to describe Deven's state of mind, the condition of his life and that of Nur it just makes for an altogether deeply gloomy read.
It is also a story of the decline of a language whose beauty and lyrical prose seemed to elevate the most mundane of topics to mystical heights. I remember my Nanaji reading poems and novels in Urdu and having a love of that language that he never quite got over. Various members of my family still hum ghazals by famous Urdu poets and reminisce endlessly about the beauty of the language. Nur, the poet, is a metaphor for the dying language in his decrepit home and ungainly body, but his passion for the language, which he constantly harangues Deven about, seems to take a backseat to others things in his life, namely, his ego and his desire to be the centre for attention.
All in all, I was not a fan of the story at all. I see that the book was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and I feel extremely guilty that I am unable to appreciate the gems hidden in the prose but also feel that I must be honest in putting down my views however simple-minded they may seem to a more discerning audience. Jul 11, Sanjukta rated it liked it. I have read one other novel by Anita Desai, so I was aware of the fine, detailed prose I would be served.
The depth of the characters, their frailty and limitations etch an accurate portrait of small-town India in the 80s. For instance, Sarla with her dream of matrimony as an entry into a life with a fridge, a televisi I have read one other novel by Anita Desai, so I was aware of the fine, detailed prose I would be served. For instance, Sarla with her dream of matrimony as an entry into a life with a fridge, a television and the glamour of glossy-magazines, is painfully accurate, as is the petty politics of the small private college and air of miasma of the fictional Mirpore.
The plot is simple but allows a cogent exploration of human drama and emotions, as well as as issues such as the Hindi-Urdu debate in post-independence India. Having said this, there are parts where I felt so burdened by the despair and almost comically bleak situation of the characters, so weighed down by the relentless entropy that I had to stop and breathe and stop reading. The pessimism is only relieved at the very end when the idea of 'custody' is fully understood by Deven and the readers, but by then, I am lost among the hopeless of Mirpore and their dreary dusty existence.
Perhaps time will afford better perspective, and perhaps the film will endow a fresher one. In Custody follows the life of Deven Sharma, a teacher in the Hindi department of a college in Mirpore, an insignificant town laden thick with dust, nonexistent in history and forgotten in the present. He meanders through a life of drudgery and meagre earnings, weighed down by an insipid marriage until his life, in a sudden flourish, is overtaken by a higher purpose.
His conniving friend Murad, the son of a wealthy businessman and the editor of a supposedly famed Urdu journal, summons him to inte In Custody follows the life of Deven Sharma, a teacher in the Hindi department of a college in Mirpore, an insignificant town laden thick with dust, nonexistent in history and forgotten in the present.
His conniving friend Murad, the son of a wealthy businessman and the editor of a supposedly famed Urdu journal, summons him to interview Nur, an eminent Urdu poet of yesteryear living in Delhi. Deven, who considers Urdu poetry as his elixir, is immediately enthralled by what he assumes to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and pay his respects to a man whose verses he has so often repeated throughout his adolescence and adulthood as a means to cope with an otherwise nugatory existence.
Disillusioned by his own idolisation of Nur, a man marred by wine and old age, Deven breaks internally as he struggles to come to terms with the reality of his entirely banal life. Sep 24, Neerja Joshi rated it really liked it. Though Deven teaches Hindi, his heart lies in the Urdu language, especially in Urdu poetry. His friend Murad who is small time Urdu publisher asks him to interview Nur, Deven's favorite Urdu poet.
And with this starts the new journey for Deven, to witness his idol, his untold poetry and be part of his world. This book showcases the emotion of an ardent admirer, how we think of our favorite authors and their work. And what happens if what we witness is not what we have envisioned their world to be and the illusion we have all this while, gets shattered.
Read this book for the sheer pleasure of reading Anita Desai's work. Apr 29, Lynda rated it liked it Shelves: This is the subtle and charming story of the rather hapless lecturer Deven who dreams of escaping his humdrum limited impoverished position in a small college in a backwater town close to Delhi.
He has the opportunity of interviewing the renowned Urdu poet Nur who lives in the glamorous squalor of the great Chandi Chowk bazaar in Old Delhi bullied by his wife and surrounded by sychophants. From the first Deven"s mission is fraught with problems connected primarily with money and status and he fa This is the subtle and charming story of the rather hapless lecturer Deven who dreams of escaping his humdrum limited impoverished position in a small college in a backwater town close to Delhi.
From the first Deven"s mission is fraught with problems connected primarily with money and status and he falls victim to the scheming of others. Desai reflects in the tale the difficulty for Everyman of following one"s aspirations and her portrayal of both the ageing poet and the ineffectiual scholar is told in a gentle charming style.
Being the custodian of the work of the greatest living Urdu poet is undoubtedly a tie that binds. The host of minor characters both female and male are fascinatingly portrayed. May 21, Mahima rated it liked it. I don't know how to feel about this book. I did like it quite a lot, but something was just amiss.
The question of poetry's place in life deeply resonated with me. I love poetry. But can poetry get me anywhere in life? I thought the book might answer the question in terms I hadn't thought of. But it didn't. And that was disappointing.
What was also disappointing was Deven's character. He was puzzling, and while having anxiety myself I could understand his anxiety to an extent at times, the other I don't know how to feel about this book. He was puzzling, and while having anxiety myself I could understand his anxiety to an extent at times, the other times he was being plain stupid. Other than that, I did like the book.
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The setting of Chandni Chowk and Darya Ganj especially was nostalgic as I have spent around 15 years of my life there. Also, it was remarkable how poetic this prosaic text was at times. I'll probably see the book with some more clarity at a later time, but for now I think it's deserving of at least 3 stars.
Sep 26, Akshay Dasgupta rated it it was amazing. Another gem by Anita Desai. Beautifully written. Like most of her books, the story was tragic - though humorous on account of the Urdu poet and his outright hatred for the Hindi language. Like I have always said earlier, Anita Desai is an underrated write and has never received the kind of success and adulation which writes receive today.
This book was written i believe in when very few Indian authors ventured to write in the English language. Recommended for the Urdu language loves.
Feb 26, Pascale rated it liked it. It can be harrowing to follow the tribulations of this teacher whose misconceived master-plan to record for posterity the voice of a local poet of some repute who, predictably, turns out to be a bit of a con-artist lays waste to his life. Of course it conveys a rather bitter message about corruption and greed in India - what else? But it is definitely among the best novels of one of India's best novelists.
Jan 07, Vani rated it really liked it. The book is written in the Anita Desai prosaic style, which is admirable and has a sense of humour. It points to the struggles of life, the funny characters hanging all around us and the peculiar situations we can get into. It's a must read for all the prose fans. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. SJC Review: This opportunity is afforded Deven by ex school-friend, and present editor of a literary magazine, Murad, for whom the former is an occasional contributor.
From the outset, Desai paints her principal character as a man of unfulfilled aspirations, cowed by all his struggles, and incapable of warranting respect from colleagues and students alike. Any ambition he had entertained of becoming a poet, not matched by his paucity of talent, had had to be abandoned to take up his post in this backwater to support his wife and children. Thus, he struggles 'to reconcile the meanness of his physical existence with the purity and immensity of his literary yearnings'.
A self-appointed defender of Urdu literature, Deven bemoans the plight of the former language of the royal court, which now 'languishes in the back lanes and gutters of the city. No palace for it to live in the style to which it is accustomed, no emperors and nawabs to act as it's patrons'.
It is to such passions that Murad appeals, and such vanity he exploits, in proposing that Deven interview and prepare a piece on respected Urdu poet, and our protagonist's childhood hero, Nur Shahjehanabadi. A further attraction behind accepting the task was that it would proffer an opportunity for Deven to escape Mirpore and its environs which 'became for him the impassable desert that lay between him and the capital with its lost treasures of friendships, entertainment, attractions and opportunities'.
The author provides her most vivid descriptions in the novel to capture the essence of the bleakness of this landscape, with its ubiquitous dust, and the ennui which infest its inhabitants. A staging post for travellers on longer journeys, Mirpore witnesses constant migration, and all that remains behind is debris and litter. Yet, in spite of its apparent insignificance, this backwater encapsulates the history of the subcontinent.
This is no more true than the history behind the Urdu department at the college where Deven is employed. It was founded on the substantial donation by a Muslim family, descendants of the nawab who had fled Delhi in the wake of the mutiny, whose tiredness at being publicly slighted meant that now they were resident in the Muslim homeland of Pakistan. Upon meeting his idol, Deven's obsequious and fawning attitude blinds him to the former's obvious character flaws, and the open discourtesy levelled at his own arrival.
As such, even Deven is able to detect their rehearsed responses to the great poet's entreaties to save the Urdu language. Though he has been tasked to interview Nur, with its stated purpose of bringing the latter's great verse in that language to a wider readership, Deven questions the value of the project before it is even begun, seeing his own life's trajectory as evidence of its futility. Having been taught the beauty of Urdu by his scholar father, the latter's early demise had robbed him of his influence, and led to his subsequent education in Hindi.
Worse, the pressures of sustaining a family had now led to his employment lecturing that language at the expense of his own linguistic roots. Such an attitude apprises the reader with first-hand experience of our protagonist's indecisiveness and lack of resolve. These failings are compounded by his inability to disassociate his lifelong idol from the 'warts and all' individual he is confronted with.
On witnessing Nur being berated by a female 'apparition of fury and vengeance' for his state of inebriation, Deven's only response is to take flight, with the inglorious image of the great poet prostrate on the vomit-strewn floor.
However, despite his qualms, Deven's dispirited return to the mundanity of his daily life, only serves for him to be lured back by another opportunity to act as saviour to rescue his idol from such domestic banalities. In a sense, a return would also save him from his own loveless marriage, where his wife had become increasingly resentful at witnessing her hopes of a more comfortable lifestyle befitting the spouse of an academic gradually prove groundless. Indeed, their shared defeat drives them further apart, not wishing to share their despondency and compound their own misery.
With Murad's return to Nur's household, the reader learns that the 'female apparition' is the great poet's second wife, and that this former prostitute has literary pretensions of her own. In stark contrast to Deven, this forceful presence does not baulk at asserting her own rights, to a point where, to her husband's impotent rage, she has appropriated his 'circle' and 'spotlight' to gain public recognition for her own verse.
In this first foray into a male-dominated theatre, Desai has, as she herself has acknowledged, created such a firebrand of female dissent that the reader can be left unsympathetic.
However, no matter how limited the true merits of Begum's work are, the manner in which Deven discounts her work serves as the spur for the author to use Begum to pose the following question: Nur's apparent descent into unfitting and coarse behaviour seems to reflect and embody the decline of that language which adorned his verse. This is never more apparent than during the taping sessions set up by Deven with the intention of creating a historical record of Nur's poetry for future generations.
In spite of the latter's grandiose summing up of the significance of recording his memoirs, stating: Another character who embodies the ebb in fortunes of the Urdu community is Siddiqui, head of that language's minuscule department at Deven's college. He is forced to make ends meet by selling his ancestral home of past glories to a Delhi Hindu businessman intent on developing the site for commercial outlets.
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