The village by the sea by
Clara Allende Iriarte and Alina Claps
Anita Desai, original name Anita Mazumdar (born June 24, 1937, Mussoorie, India), English-language Indian novelist and
author of children’s books who excelled in evoking character and mood through visual images ranging from the
meteorologic to the botanical.
Born to a German mother and Bengali father, Desai grew up speaking German, Hindi, and English. She received a B.A. in
English from the University of Delhi in 1957. The suppression and oppression of Indian women were the subjects of her
first novel, Cry, the Peacock (1963), and a later novel, Where Shall We Go This Summer? (1975). Fire on the Mountain
(1977) was criticized as relying too heavily on imagery at the expense of plot and characterization, but it was praised for
its poetic symbolism and use of sounds. Clear Light of Day (1980), considered the author’s most successful work, is
praised for its highly evocative portrait of two sisters caught in the lassitude of Indian life. Its characters are revealed
not only through imagery but through gesture, dialogue, and reflection. As do most of her works, the novel reflects
Desai’s essentially tragic view of life. Baumgartner’s Bombay (1988) explores German and Jewish identity in the context
of a chaotic contemporary India.
Lila had to go to the market so that she could buy the food for her family. On Lila’s way home, she stopped to watch
Biju’s boat being built by the Alibagh workmen. Hari was watching Biju’s boat being built with the village boys
instead of going to catch the fish his family needs for food. Hari wasn’t really interested in the idea of working in the
factories; he would rather work on Biju’s boat. The De Silva family came with their baggage from Bombay to stay in
Thul for a couple of days, Hari and Lila helped them everyday. Mr. de Silva asked Hari if his father was going to be
able to work for their family as a watchman to take care of their house in Thul when they were away, but as soon as
Hari got excited and brought his father to see Mr. de Silva, he kept mocking him and saw that he was a hopeless
useless drunk man. Mr. de Silva told Hari that he can give him a job as a car-cleaner if he ever comes to Bomaby.
Once Hari had spoken to one of the people that were working on the factories, he decided that it would be better to
work in the factories because all of the things the man told him about the new city opening in Thul that will be full of
chances for him to get a job, but the man kept belittling him and making fun of the fact that Hari knew nothing about
life. Ramu told Hari that Biju’s deep-freeze had arrived, but he had lost interest in it.
He didn’t know whether Mr. de Silva’s idea for Hari to work as a car-cleaner was true or not, neither if he will have the
chance to work in one of Thul’s factories later. Hari kept thinking about his family’s future, that his sisters have to get
married, and he was the one getting them all they need for it, also he kept wondering what their futures and jobs would
be, he didn’t know what the future holds. He felt so bad, he didn’t know what to do, and he was pretty sure that the
money he might earn from any job of these isn’t going to be enough for all of this.
The chapter ends with Hari coming back home surprised from his three sisters and Pinto’s desperate look, and asked them
about what happened.
What is Hari’s relationship with de Silvas?
What does Mr de Silva offer Hari?
What are Hari’s worries?
What unexpected arrival occurred in the chapter?
What does Bombay symbolize for Hari?
“Biju would come waddling down to watch the work in progress. A small boy would carry a folding chair down to
the beach from his house and plant it on the sand for Biju to sit on. Biju would lower himself onto it very gingerly,
twitching up his loose dhoti and sitting down very uncomfortable. he would obviously have been more
comfortable squatting on his heels in the sand as the others did.”
Waddle: walk with short steps and a clumsy swaying motion.
Gingerly: in a careful or cautious manner.
Twitch: To draw, pull, or move suddenly and sharply; jerk
Dhoti: A garment consisting of a length of cloth that is typically wrapped around the waist, passed between the
legs, and tucked in at the waistline, worn chiefly by Hindu men in India.
Squatting: To sit in a crouching position with knees bent and the buttocks on or near the heels.