Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 

Recently some one remarked to me that a lot of Indian writing in English is underwritten by a pain fro which there is no escape …… an accumulate collection of regrets that will never quite away though it can be some what treated through palliative care, almost like the morphine doses , increasingly measured out and administered to the terminally ill. Some books like “The Inheritance of Loss” almost spell it out in their very title. It is almost as if the writer himself or herself is on a pilgrimage and while she has left her origins, she is never quite sure of whether she will arrive at her destination and what that destination is after all. 


As I watched Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Namesake” filmed so well by Mira Nair, it occurred to me again that a sense of alienation and loss is always the immigrant’ life long companion whether you have crossed the seven seas to settle in another country and acquired another passport or have merely moved a couple of hundred miles to another city and set up home amidst strangers who speak another language and to all intents and purposes belong to another country and planet. 


Adults who have made these choices for themselves, rightly or wrongly feel the need to defend the choices that they have made and so will perhaps never publicly accept the life long effort and energy expended to conform and adjust and become some thing that is fundamentally foreign to their nature and character. Though they left their shores for a sense of economic or social or professional fulfillment , the process is one of gaining some thing to lose some thing else and often the heaviest inheritance that they pass on to their children is the inherence of loss. 


In The Namesake, although the parents, Ashoke Ganguly, (Irfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) have lost so much in terms of love, relationships and family ties, they take it in stride and some how cope. The contrasts between their own uneven lives and their parents fulsome one is presented plainly though with hardly any shades of grey. Tabu’s father in the movie dies at home having lived a full life and is loved by his entire family who mourn his passing and are by his side all through his long life. Her husband, in cold contrast suffers a heart attack while on an assignment in Ohio, lives alone in a cold unwelcoming apartment and when he feels unwell, he has to drag himself to his hospital to by attended, away from both his friends and family. As he lies dying, ho two yuppie children are partying in town.
Eventually when a cold, impersonal voice devoid of any emotion informs her that her husband is dead and Tabu some how collects he children and rushes to the hospital to collect the body, it is pulled mechanically out of a numbered rack wrapped in a shroud and handed over to her like a FedEx parcel. The isolation and machination of existence could not be starker both for the dead as well as the living. 


The Namesake really reiterates that our existence, in a way comprises of two life spans. One is the life that we actually live. The other is the life when we remain in the heart and mind of our off springs.  There is a bond, a connection between the past, the present and the future that follows us like a shadow, no matter how far we travel along the roads. Characters of each generation will set forth in their own journeys, and those journeys may be very different but if so, there will always be a loss to inherit and a double inheritance to pass on

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