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Agastya or August
Feb 28, 2003 11:02 AM 12897 Views
(Updated Feb 28, 2003 05:05 PM)



The book starts with Agastya & his freind Dhrubo's conversation.

''I've a feeling, August, you're going to get hazaar fuc-ked in Madna''

''Amazing mix, the English we speak. Hazaar fucked. Urdu and American,'' Agastya laughed, ''a thousand fucked, really fucked. I'm sure nowhere else could languages be mixed and spoken with such ease.''

These lines from the first paragraph of the book introduce u to something called Hinglish literature. Well let me tell you this book gave us one of the best movies with the same name as the book. The movie is directed by Dev Benegal. Hey guyz the movie was as good as this book, both being master pieces in their own areas. But now let's concentrate on the book.

English August is written by Upamanyu Chatterjee I won't tell u the whole story, as it will ruin ur reading experience if u plan to pick up this book. It is about a young civil servant Agastya (known as August) Sen. Why he is called August? Guess all the wild guesses u can or read the book. Enough of that 'read the book theory', isn't it? Agastya joins the IAS (Indian Administrative Service). He is sent to a small town called Madna. Madna is known as the hottest town in India. Well that is till Agastya reaches here. As Agastya, oops August starts his stay in Madna, he as well as we come to know that Madna is not only the hottest place, but also a place which doesn't have the characteristics to keep up with the fast paced life in big cities. Then what follow r his sweet, bitter, sour experiences in this alien town.

Upamanyu Chatterjee creates Madna before us in an outstanding way. I mean we feel the heat. It gives u memories of what R. K. Narayanan did with Malgudi. Coming to Agastya, August is a complex character, which shows a more human side than a hero of a story. He can be explained as a youth trying to seek direction from life itself. This character lives in present, but always thinks of the past. In a way, he tries to relate the present atmosphere to the irony of the past.

A character, so interesting, that it lies for a reason or no reason at all, smokes marijuana, thinks as wild as human brain can do, masturbates, meditates. His mind always running from one end to another, totally restless. At one point he thinks of fleeing from Madna to a big city and considers taking a job in publishing. But then soon u find out he is back to Madna. The novel is comprised of various encounters, Agastya faces in Madna. His mind full of dillema, not knowing where to commit himself to. Upmanyu Chatterjee portrays August as a protagonist of the story who doesn't take himself seriously.

The book is full of light moments, delicate humour, funny experiences and everything woven into a touching story.

A must read.

Try to watch the movie too, if u can....

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