On Reading Transformation in Desai’s "Hullabaloo in the Guava Orcha"Sonakshi Srivastava, Ashoka University
Originally published in 1998, Kiran Desai’s Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard deals with the life of a young man, Sampath who seeks solace from the clamour of incomprehensible existence in a guava orchard. He does so after being bored of his frustrated attempts to make a mark in the commercial and familial world.
Through a close reading of the text, I will attempt to unravel how the metamorphic imaginations at work in and within the text functions as the exponents of existential and personal navigation for the protagonist. Sampath’s metamorphosis into a guava offers a radical reading and understanding of our entangled existence, and how such metamorphosis allows us to examine our lives so as to re-assess our existence in the face of capitalism, its impact on the flora and fauna and how a possible Buddhist approach may help curb our materialism so as to ensure a sustainable and green future. I will place the novel in conversation with Sumana Roy’s part memoir, part literary fiction How I Became a Tree published in 2017 to accentuate my claims, and highlight the commonalities that bind the metamorphic (and Buddhist) imaginings in the two texts.
Want to get involved?
Sonakshi Srivastava, Ashoka University