The Inheritance of Loss

I needed some moments to completely absorb what I have just read. Mixed feelings were all over my mind after I closed The Inheritance of Loss.  I can’t specify what I felt at that time. Sad? Not really. Happy? A bit. Confused? Kind of. Angry? At some points, yes. Unsatisfied? May be so.

As confused as I felt, as puzzled as this writing may be for you. The plot of the story is a mixture between past and present. I can hardly sum up the novel into a good summary so I would like to write down a bit of what the book is all about. For those who want to read this, I inform you beforehand to fully concentrate in reading this novel given the jumbled plot of the story.

Jemubhai, a retired judge living in a mountainuos area in Nepal, has his life changed when his sole granddaughter Sai arrived at his home. Both knew very little about each other. She was handed Jemubhai’s address after his parents died in a car accident in Russia. Poor little Sai. At barely 10 years old, she had to accept the fact she was an orphan, flying all the way from Russia to meet then live with her grandfather she hardly knew at all.

Before Sai came to his life, Jemubhai has his cook and his beloved dog as his companions. He was regarded as one of the prominent figures in his village, Cho Oyu, given his good education in the UK. Jemubhai was fortunate to have parents who were well aware of his future. They decided to wed him with a rich girl, just 14 years old, years younger than his age. Few moments after they got married, he left her to live in the UK.

Jemubhai found that he was living a life in shame in the UK. He was shameful with his color, his teeth, everything that made him completely as a stranger. He locked himself in his self-kingdom, afraid of going outside. He did not want to be a laughing stock for passersby. He studied hard, seldom checked his wife’s conditions let alone his family at large.

Despite his lonely life in the country, Jemubhai was lucky in terms of profession. He got a job as a judge in local court and earned his good reputation until he entered his retirement. When he went back home, his extended family welcomed him with huge pride. But Jemubhai seemed uninterested with his homecoming. He now became a foreigner at his home, quiet and witty.

His cold relationship even with his wife led to how he behaved with Sai. Nothing much occured between the two as what grandfather and granddaughter should have acted. The lack of love between Jemubhai dan his wife caused a cracked for overall relationship in the family. Jemubhai was ashamed with his wife, an uneducated woman from the village whom he was afraid of causing him a shame when it came to official affairs of dinner parties.

So you may guess what happens when Sai enters his life. Cold, cold, and cold relationship. Jemubhai even prefered to spend quality time with his dog while Sai came closer with the cook. But never mind. At least, Sai had few good friends at such isolated place and Jemubhai ensured she had proper education. So, Sai was introduced to Noni dan Lola, whom taught her about science until their knowledge could not cope with Sai’s curiosity. That was when Jemubhai asked for Gyan’s help to be her tutor. And that was when Sai fell for him for the first time in her life.

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The cook has his hope high on the sky with his son, Biju, in the US. Little did he know that his son often changed his jobs, from one restaurant to another one, just to make ends meet. And Biju did not tell much about his job as he was afraid he would hurt his father’s dreams. Unlike Jemubhai who was so low about his Indian identity, Biju seemed happy with his immigration. Despite poor acceptance from his bosses, Biju survived and had lots of friends. But still, Biju did not want to tell the truth about his profession as a servant in the strange land to his father. And his father kept believing his son was a succesfull man in the US thus asked for his help to bring in other villagers to the country, too.

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No one could guess that Gyan came from a poor family, like many residents in the village. He was handsome, spoke good English and knew Western food styles, unlike many of his peers. The relationship between him and Sai went well until one day Gyan came across a demonstration of GNLF, a group who demanded the liberty of Nepal from India. Since then, Gyan turned out to such a hater. He hated her because she was a product of Western culture, and his grandfather who studied overseas. He hated everything and everyone who lived like Westerners. You’re such a hyprocite, Sai once says. But he ignored her then continued to support the GNLF; Gorkhaland for Gorkhas!

Slowly but surely, the movement grew bigger and bigger. They raided Jemubhai’s house, Noni and Lola’s, then seized whatever they could find. Such uneducated boys who knew nothing of the movement but they were the drivers of it. They blockaded main road leading to the village, set up shanties wherever they wanted. Cho Oyu was no longer safe and sound.

Sai could not help she was being unfairly treated by Gyan thus decided to search for his whereabouts. When they finally met, they were in verbal fights about political things directly unrelated with their love life. Gyan would not give up. He would not accept that his arguments were shallow and that Sai was correct. Sai went home. With her desperate feelings, she promised to herself she would never seek for him anymore. Despite her tears and dissapointment, she stuck to her vow.

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Biju ignored his boss’s advice not to leave the US then quickly flew to his village to see his father. The news about the riots in the village reached him. He had to leave at once as he found it hard to communicate with his father not even via telephone. After a long flight with Air France, he came home. And what he heard was right. The boys from the GNLF cut road access to the village. The only way he reached the place was by taking a jeep operated by the boys. Surely, Biju knew very well about the consequences of all this. He had to pay a lot of money, in US dollars, for them. Worse, they took all of his belongings with clothes stuck at his body left. No he was clueless at where he was let alone how he could find his father. He was left in the middle of nowhere in his village with nothing but his clothes. Coming all the way from the US, where he could hide his pride when he met with his father under such shameful conditions???

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A dog? Hahahahaha. That was what Jemubhai heard when he asked for their help to discover Mutt. People were starving and the situations were getting worse, and you searched for what? A dog???

Stressful Jemubhai was left hopeless knowing he lost his most lovely friend which was carried by a poor woman asking for his legal help but was refused. Now, Jemubhai got the pain. Tell her, I will look for the dog, Gyan told the cook when they ran into each other on the latter’s search. Suddenly, Gyan felt sorry for himself and realized his feelings to Sai.

After his futile search, the cook went home, finding his boss completely at loss about the dog. Beat me! I am bad. It was my mistake!, the cook says. Then the judge beat him, over and over again. Stop it! Sai begs. But they did not care. The beating went on and on.

Sai prepared for tea when she saw a glimpe of a person walking into the gate of her house. At first she thought it was Gyan’s shadow or probably the poor woman who previously begged for his grandfather’s help. But she was wrong. Looking at carefully, she noticed that the cook went outside the gate and hugged his son.

 

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