Ramchand and his colleagues wait on the richest and the most powerful ladies in Amritsar who choose to come to this sari shop for the variety and quality that it promises. From university professors who look down upon money, and rich business people who look down on people who may not have the kind of money they had. The Sevak Sari Shop attracted all sorts. They have a strict task master of a boss called Mahajan who used to ensure that they catered to all the customers in the best way they could.
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Shelves: india The book started with a peaceful-small-town vibe and then it changed gears and how. A very compelling read where all characters, conversations, reactions are ultra-real. The writing is very very good too. Will look up more books by this author. The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa is one such story.
A simple man, working in a Sari Shop in Amritsar decides to give his monotonous and failing life another chance. But in the end, gives up when all his efforts come spiraling down. A simple yet powerful read, not many writers can pull off a combination like this.
But Rupa Bajwa pulled it off effortlessly. The Sari Shop revolves around Ramchand, a tired shop Some stories are so simple and come from such small places that they leave you mesmerized. The Sari Shop revolves around Ramchand, a tired shop assistant at Sevak Sari House who spends his days showing all kinds of saris to different sects of women, one sect that can afford silk sarees and the other one who would love to but finalize cotton saris for themselves at the end of the day.
Just as Ramchad enters the Kapoor abode, he is jolted out of his monotonous, narrow life. And with this motivation, he attempts to recapture what he has lost before, his dreams of finishing his education and having a good career. He starts with two battered English grammar books, an old English dictionary, a new pair of socks and a bar of lifebuoy soap. But then his feeble attempt towards a new life spirals his life upside down.
It brings him face to face with the cruelties that lead him to this misery in the first place. A battered Ramchand falls down to the same place from where he dreamt of better things for himself.
In the end, The Sari Shop shares a very stark reality of urban living and turns into a simple story which has a powerful message. The Sari Shop is divided into two parts. The first part deals with Ramchand and his progress towards a better life. The first part also shows the stark comparison of urban India amidst Amritsar. From hypocrites like Mrs. Sandhu to the westernized and educated Mrs.
Sachdeva, the characters are in full color in The Sari Shop. Kamla, like Ramchand, wanted a better life but instead got everything that she never wanted. An alcoholic husband who beats her black and blue every night while blaming her for his failure, including a miscarriage. Kamla takes up the bottle for solace but ends up being raped by policemen and burnt to the ground by a gang of thugs, hired by the right and superior people of the society.
The Sari Shop is by the common people for the common people. We come across people like Ramchand on a daily basis, our home servants, drivers, gardeners etc. But never we look at them from a different perspective, never we pay heed to their dreams and aspirations.
But after reading The Sari Shop, I will look at them from a different set of eyes. The language is simple yet powerful, and flow of the story is straight. Though in some areas you might feel that the story is a bit dragged, especially the first part, but it can be ignored. Some of the readers might expect the "masala level" to be good, but I am sorry to inform it is not like that. The Sari Shop is too simple for some readers and they might think it is boring till they arrive at the second part.
But then, for me this is a book that introduced me to another brilliant writer, Rupa Bajwa. All in all, The Sari Shop is a story that you should definitely read. Thought provoking.
The Sari Shop
The Sari Shop: A Novel by Rupa Bajwa (Paperback, 2005)
THE SARI SHOP