Ghachar Ghochar Summary & Study Guide

Vivek Shanbhag
This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ghachar Ghochar.
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Ghachar Ghochar Summary & Study Guide Description

Ghachar Ghochar Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Shanbhag, Vivek. Ghachar Ghochar. Penguin Books, 2017. First Edition.

This non-linear novel opens with a portrait of Coffee House, an establishment where the main character and narrator (who remains unnamed throughout the novella) passes time to avoid his family. There is a waiter employed there who the narrator considers to possess an oracular ability, as evidenced by his ability to often sense the issues of his customers before conversing with them.

The narrator currently sits at said café and observes a woman sitting nearby whose male friend enters and takes the seat across from her. The narrator then witnesses this woman attacking her male companion who is chased from the premises. This unknown woman reminds the narrator of a woman he used to see regularly at Coffee House. Their relationship was never strong, and the narrator remembers her for her strong feminist agenda.

The narrator then introduces his family that lives together; this joint family includes his parents, uncle, sister, and wife. His uncle owns a spice company called Sona Masala and is the “sole earner” of the household (11); thus, those who live with him treat him best of everyone else in the house.

The narrator then recalls a past event. A few weeks ago, a woman named Suhasini came to the narrator’s house, asking to see his uncle Venkatachala. His mother (Amma) and sister (Malati) would not allow the woman to enter their house, because Venkatachala had motioned that he did not want to see this woman. The woman pleaded with them and in defeat offered the container of curry she held in her hands, but Amma refused to take the offering, which fell to the ground, its contents spilling. Suhasini ran away. Anita, the narrator’s wife, was greatly unhappy with the scene and chastised her husband for not defending this woman.

Appa, the narrator’s father, is treated as “second in the family” (23). When he dies, his children stand to inherit his wealth but worry about losing their inheritance to a will denoting it go to charity. However, their family used to be much poorer. Appa used to work as a salesman but was forced to retire. With the help of Venkatachala, he then co-created Sona Masala, the spice company they now own and run.

Amma, Malati, and the narrator (the non-earners of the family) are “tied for third place in the household hierarchy” (39). The narrator describes the home in which he used to live with his family, one that was much smaller than their current residence. Said house also had an ant infestation, and the family members became cruel in their attempts to kill these insectile intruders. Their new house was much larger, allowing everyone their own bedroom. Uncle Venkatachala also paid to furnish the house.

Much was spent monetarily on Malati’s wedding; however, her marriage was unsuccessful. Attempts to reconcile Malati and her husband failed. Thus, Malati came back home to live with her family. Shortly afterwards, she returned to her husband’s family-home to retrieve her jewelry.

Then the narrator remembers his arranged marriage to Anita. They greatly enjoyed their honeymoon, but Anita was angered when she learned the truth about her new husband’s profession. She was shocked to learn that their money basically all came from inheritance. The narrator then began going to Coffee House almost every day in order to create the impression in Anita’s mind that he was going to work to earn his paycheck.

Anita and Amma have been arguing, especially about the treatment Suhasini had received at their house. Anita recently went to visit her family in Hyderabad, and with her absence, the narrator’s family has been much more relaxed, enjoying each other’s presence. On the present day, as the narrator sits in Coffee House, he worries that Anita might not come home to him.

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