Yesterday I was watching the animated Tarzan movie. And it made me realize, a jungle would be a pretty cool place to be in. And also that essentially women like men who are strong and raw. What else can you say about Jane, who seems to be all nicely dressed up in yellow dresses and speaking English like only the English do, falling for the tree-climbing, gorilla-bred Tarzan who converses everything with ‘hooo-hooo’ and ‘oooooh-aaaaaah’? Given that the little they had in common, they shouldn’t have been in love. But they did. And they lived happily ever after, atop a tree maybe.
Meanwhile, the same cannot be said for Pia and Fokir in Amitav Ghosh’s ‘A Hungry Tide’. They like each other, and they respect each other for their work. Pia, being a marine biologist goes to Sundarban to study the Orcaella dolphin. Though their is the more apt, city-bred Kanai to talk to, she takes a liking to Fokir – an unlettered fisherman with a son and a very ambitious wife. However, his simplicity and knowledge about the Sundarban ecology charms her, making her forget that they don’t really know much about the other’s language except maybe a ‘mashima’ and ‘pool’ and ‘gamcha’. However, in one of the worst – but- almost-regular cyclones, Fokir passes away while trying to protect Pia.
What Amitav Ghosh does in the book is give you a clear picture of life in the Tide country. And while doing it he does not take sides. On the one hand he makes us want to like Fokir – for his free spirited simplicity. And on the other hand, we feel Moyna – Fokir’s wife has been wronged since she knows the ways of the world and wants her child to be educated and wants a better job for herself. Kanai is city born and knows how he can be attractive and demanding. However, he is patient enough to take a break from his job and publish his uncle’s journal in the city.
The book is a good read, and except for some people who didn’t go after the first five pages, everyone else found it so. I think that is one more to the list of ‘good books I want to have in my house all my life’.