Author's take on how money affects relations

If you have experienced change around you and your family with growing affluence, this book is for you. 

Capturing the effect of affluence and the accompanying changes in relationships in a middle-class family has come naturally to Kannada writer Vivek Shanbhag, whose first translated into English book “Ghachar Ghochar”, was released here on Wednesday.

The shy Bangalore-based engineer author, who has penned 10 books over 30 years, was candid enough to admit that the novel reflects his humble upbringing in a coastal Karnataka town and subsequent stay in cities, and working in corporates. “The story is not just about money but other linked things as well,” said Shanbhag, whose Kannada novel has been translated into English by writer and friend Srinath Perur for HarperCollins India.     

In a conversation with writer Jai Arjun Singh, Shanbhag said his Bangalore links – especially the famous city coffee house – get reflected in the backdrop created for the novel that sees a middle-class family get rich.

“Getting rich is a relative term and many middle- class families would identify with this family. It is not that they become super rich,” said the writer.

About the Bangalore flavour of the setting, he said it is not a conscious attempt. “It’s got to be a city. Any city. The cosmopolitan set-up is needed for the anonymity that characters require to do certain things without being noticed, which is not possible in a small town.”

During a conversation with critic Trisha Gupta, the writer admitted that he was excited about his first English translation.

“There are certain sections in the English translated version which are not there in the Kannada work,” he said.

“I had to reopen the work for adding two-three chapters. It was a challenge to rework on something which in my mind was closed,” he said, adding that the additions would add freshness and relevance.

Asked about the choice of the title, Shanbhag said, “Ghachar Ghochar is a nonsense word that I created. It does not mean anything but it is required to convey that something more is required to understand it.

“I did not start writing this book with the title in mind,” said the writer.

‘Brutal honesty’

Gupta praised Shanbhag and Perur’s efforts to present, through the narrator in the novel, the “brutal honesty about money and how it changes relationships and equations in a family”.

The book traces the life of a Bangalore family for which eating out once a week was a luxury. It later grows financially through a masala business to be able to move into a big house from a poor neighbourhood and throws a lavish wedding party for the family’s daughter.

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