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June-July 2004

Refugees from Paradise

- novel by Anuradha Majumdar

This second novel by Anuradha Majumdar is an account of everyday life. The paradise question is far from over. Does it still exist? What about those living outside it? Milton is still on the track, even if it means to reincarnate as a cat and take up lodgings at Casa Mira, an unusual house of tenants in London town. He adopts one of them as his protégé: Jonathan Ferry, an aspiring filmmaker, haunted by a story that he heard as a child. But when Anjali Mehra, a television journalist from New Delhi, arrives hunting after another one, Milton falls into unbiased adoration and adopts her at once. Spotting paradise is a complex affair. Jonathan and Anjali’s stories merge inside an old man’s eyes in a village fair in Bengal. All this because Krishnagopal, the great baul singer, once rescued a wounded pilot who fell out of the sky, and kept him alive. But when his co-pilot suddenly enters the story, everything splinters. Milton keeps track of every sticky detail, and as tea and terror brush past his whiskers, he discovers a few remarkable things. The plot is spiced with Aurobindonian concepts and has highly amusing little aphorisms like ‘Reality has a thin skin, but a very thick head.’


If you are reading this, then of course, the story must be told. It's the one that tilts inside Jonathan's head, every morning, as he wakes up. He gets out of bed and shuffles off to the bathroom, splashes his face with water, eyes scrunched, eyelashes dripping rain. He shakes his head impatiently and looks up at the mirror. That is when the story gazes back at Jonathan from miles behind his eyes. It's been there since he was fifteen, perched inside his memory like a little blue egg waiting to hatch.

Published by Penguin Books India


Price Rs 295

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