It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he recIt is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and rich in details of character and place, this unforgettable novel charts the journey of a moral heart in a turbulent world of change.
From the Trade Paperback edition....more
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published 2006 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 1991)
Such a Long Journey
0771061315 (ISBN13: 9780771061318)
Mumbai, 1971 (India)
Such A Long Journey Essay
Rohinton Mistry’s “Such A Long Journey” is the story of turbulent life of Gustad Noble and his family, who lives in Khodadad Building north of Bombay. The story portrays the series of events such as his son Sohrab’s refusal to attend Indian Institution of Technology, hardships faced by his friends and family, political turmoil and chaos caused by the war between India and Pakistan. Gustad transforms from a stubborn, materialistic and awful person to an open-minded and more adaptive to circumstantial changes in his life. Ultimately, Gustad Noble journeys to a greater understanding of his role as a father, friend and citizen of India.
In the story, Gustad is shown as a loving and caring father who is passionate about the future of his eldest son, Sohrab. He bears many grievances from past which have limited his possibilities of becoming successful in his life and wishes to fulfill his unaccomplished desires through his son. Sohrab’s intelligence and brilliance at home and school assure his parents that their son is very special and is capable of doing anything in his life. His father starts making predictions that someday his son is going to become an aeronautical engineer, architect or research scientist. In addition, Gustad is glad that his son also shows interest in family tradition of furniture building when he says “it must be in the blood, this love of Carpentry” (Mistry 65). He endures all the hardships and encourages his son to comprehend the idea to study at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). “And the Indian Institute of Technology became the Promised Land” (Mistry 66) indicates the extent of Gustad’s predetermination and resolution about the future of his son. The attempt made by Gustad to protect and save his son from being crushed by taxi and throwing himself in front of taxi provides evidence that he can do anything for his son. He talks boastfully to his wife that “Sohrab will make a name for himself, you see if he doesn’t” (Mistry 3) and says that “At last our sacrifices will prove worthwhile” (Mistry 3). Later on, when Gustad finds out that his son has got admission in IIT, he becomes impatient to deliver this good news to his wife and Sohrab. He intends to awaken Sohrab but his wife stops him from doing so as she says “Let him sleep. His admission result is not going to change if he knows it one hour later” (Mistry 8). He agrees with his wife that he will not disturb Sohrab and satisfies himself just by “Looking upon his son, his eyes filled with joyful pride, and he was reassured” (Mistry 8). At this time in the story, he feels that soon his dreams will come true.
While Gustad prepares to celebrate Roshan’s birthday and Sohrab admission in IIT, he cracks joke at Sohrab that “You would think he has been handling chickens all his life. Look at expert way he holds it” (Mistry 27). The atmosphere of festivity changes to hassle and commotion, when Sohrab argues “How does a chicken have anything to do with...
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