Google+ Consumer Psyche: Book Review: IDRIS - Keeper of the Light


Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review: IDRIS - Keeper of the Light

Life is a journey and it becomes a joy when you travel with someone you love. It turns out great when it is an adventure and in the process you discover the joy of being with your loved ones and grow closer. Anita Nair's new book - Idris: Keeper of the Light is a close account of one such journey.

Anita Nair explores one of the most revered yet very rarely celebrated relationships between a father and son. How does the son grow to fill his father's shoes and start taking his own decisions and move ahead in life? When does a father start realizing his kid is no longer a small child and a grown up man
? What is the father has a lot to tell and but very little time?

Idris takes you on a personal travelogue from the cold harsh deserts of Ethiopia to God's own country. When you feel the story is settling and get ready for action, Idris whisks you away on a ship across the turbulent sea to the east coast in search of the glittering stones. Idris, though acts stoic and poised, fights his own demons throughout the story and remains the anchor to the story. His realizes the fire in him melt down to the warm mystery of Kuttimalu and the wall of poise melt down to the innocent and rather stupid briskness of his son Kandavar. Further in his journey Idris is finally comforted when he embraces the challenge of letting his guard down and finds comfort in the reality of life, the futility of chasing for the unknown and the joy of forgetting yourself in Thilottama. He may be a mysterious firefly to Kuttimalu but he will remain as dear Aboo to his Kandavar.

Kandavar is a joy to watch like a young puppy he jumps at things with a jest and fervor that reminds you of your childhood and grows easily under the guidance of his Aboo. His love for animals shows his ability to share, care and win over other people's hearts. He adapts easily to the things around him and takes them in his stride. You find traces of his warrior/kalari blood from his mother boiling and the calm demeanor of his Aboo which can be a deadly combination knowing his life's dream is to fight and avenge something he doesn't know. It is a joy to watch him grow in to a man and in an otherwise serious story Kandavar is like a cold breeze on a summer night.

Kuttimalu, Thilottama, Golla, Sala and other characters remind you of someone you know very closely. I loved seeing animals from cats to oxen being given prominent roles in the story. Maccanto, Musa, Vajra and Aamira come in and lighten the burden of the travel with their innocence.

I can see how much research has gone in to the creation of Idris as you are taken on a picturesque treat with a lot of detailing from the livelihood, culture, language, custom, traditions, way of conducting business, seafaring, astrology, celestial navigation and the art of writing. Even a long-lost story of amputation on a ship recorded during the period is given an important place in the journey.

Will Idris manage to build a character and strength in his son? Will he ever be able to grow in to someone Idris would be proud of? Will he learn the ways of the world? Will he be a survivor or a leader?

Will Idris ever end his journey and find peace? Will his quest for rare diamonds end fruitfully and will he find his crown jewel? You have to read to find out.

What can you expect from Idris: Keeper of the Light?

A wonderful treat to read and discover the joys of the seventeenth century South India and the changing customs, traditions and life.  When it is an unexplored and unfamiliar territory that you want to venture into, when you are about the little nuances of the four hundred year old traditions and when you realize life is an arduous journey you wish you were with Idris: to be safe, alert and engaged and safe.

Only Anita can make you sit down and wait while a traditional dinner with chicken curry, spices and butter is cooked and then lets you dine in peace on a whirlwind tour which is why you must trust me when I say the book is like that delightful savory your grandmother used to make. Can't wait for two more years for the next part to come!

Rating: 4/5.

Art by Bindu.

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