Thus begins the first of a round of speculations and suspicion as the entire village sets out to solve the murder, complete with two seriocomic policemen whose attention is on everything but solving the case. Idyll Of Ignorance? Bulbul Sharma's love of mountains comes through in her detailed descriptions of the hills surrounding Giripul, complete with their rhododendron shrubs, raspberry bushes, apricot trees and blue-tailed magpies, and her evocative accounts of daybreak in a sleepy little village.
Her characters, for the most part, are endearing; although they have too much of the 'quaintness' that city people invariably — and all too erroneously — attribute to their rural counterparts. The city gaze is what informs Giripul as well; its isolation and timelessness are completely at odds with the modern-day world in which it is set, and its importance as the main rest stop for buses carrying passengers from cities and nearby villages to Simla and that spelling is the only indication that the book might be set somewhere before the late s, when the name of the hill town was officially changed to Shimla - as Giripul appears to exist in a vacuum, it is hard to tell exactly when the events described here take place.
But would villagers even in the s provided that is the time Sharma had in mind have been so clueless about the world outside, or the socio-cultural changes taking place, given the ubiquity of newspapers and the occasional television set? While the murder is solved satisfactorily enough, the revelations surrounding the little albino boy, whose story seemed to be the underlying thread holding the narrative together, are anticlimactic; and one wishes there was a little more of Leela, mistress of Badi Kothi, whose memories of an ill-fated love affair with a British officer and amusing recollections of her hot-tempered husband make her one of the most lively and real characters in the story.
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The Tailor Of Giripul
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The Tailor of Giripul
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