I’ve been cooped inside my room reading Amitav Ghosh for the first time ever. It is taking me though an intensely riveting journey through the erstwhile little empire of the Burmese to the coastline of Ratnagiri district and then to Malay. Something tells me I need to brush up on my geography to keep pace with all the places.
I can’t but marvel upon how the events of a person’s life becomes so immaterial in books. Youth, marriage, kids.. All are given but a fleeting mention and suddenly the protagonist is dealing with issues that are rooted deeply in the positions they have scoured themselves. I’m amazed at how this book is written with such a good buildup. I can imagine the greatness of the glass palace and I can almost taste the stench in the air when King Thebaw and his family are forced to endure the commonality of the house at Ratnagiri. Their fortunes as emperors forgotten because of the British ruler’s insecurities.
There is such a strong element of realism in Ghosh’s work that it’s like interviewing and dissecting the lives of the people at close quarters. With every passing day, my personal opinion on love and familial relationships are challenged and this work is a manifestation of the many doubts that our minds may possess. We are reduced to the depth or shallowness of our society and our personal inclination. You can always control just how much of yourself are you willing to invest for the outward world.
The Glass Palace is perhaps a metaphor of our own warped lives. It’s a boundary or our limitations.