The Quest of the Sparrows
I had a misconception a few days ago that every author with a ‘Chetan Bhagat’ background serves to the literature a ‘Chetan Bhagat’ class. However, like I said, it was a misconception only. To be honest, I did not read any of his ‘best-selling bad literature’ (combat Jeet Thayil, his phrase) and rather concentrated on my studies. Recently, I came across The Quest of the Sparrows, a book by the father-son duo – Ravi Sharma and Kartik Sharma. The blurb was exciting; the cover was a little elusive and the author intro was the thing which made me reluctant. Nevertheless, I heard much about this book and gave it a go. A thorough read and today I am pressing these keys to write this book review.
The Quest of the Sparrows has something for readers from every background and with any kind of preoccupation. The ultimate deliverable, however, is remarkable – the message of Lord Krishna – the lesson of detached toil – the ‘freedom from the known’. Before I comment anything upon the book, here is the opening remark which would be followed by mine:
“Don’t think of yourself in isolation. This moment, now – think of yourself as one with your divine self and the universe. Shrug off your burden and your higher self will bear it for you. Remember, you’re only limited when you assume you’re the doer. Limitless possibilities open when you think your higher self is the doer, not you.”
The message that Ravi and Kartik Sharma want to convey by writing a 261-page novel is very simple. Practical knowledge and practical life are way better than the abstract – one has to live to understand the life and live with the full enthusiasm. Spirituality is the key theme that drives the novel and the conflict around the minds – what’s the best way to lead the life? People keep coming around a magnetic personality, Swami Partibhan, with their versions of spirituality and interpretations of life. The charismatic lessons and lectures which Partibhan delivers to his followers turn their life entirely and they understand that sitting idle and waiting for a miracle to happen isn’t the right way. One has to MOVE. One has to DO.
The episodes where swami lectures to the foreign audience and clarifies their conscience towards Krishna’s theory of detachment are wonderful to me. To the ‘more readers’ The Quest of the Sparrows would offer something sort of adventurous tale in which certain people set out on a journey of 600 kms by foot, experiencing the life all the way… away from the luxuries and away from the worldly noises… meeting different people like Ajoy-Vijoy and combating the mental make-up of robbers… the journey is enchanting.
This is perhaps the only compiled writing where I did not see only the seamy side of spirituality and religion. It all depends on our intentions and people can do good if their mind is clear and determined. Even after his murder, Partibhan lives in the discourses of Sneha and the ‘sparrows’ keep the flight incessant.
To conclude my opinions on the book, The Quest of the Sparrows is a novel for almost everyone. The plot is very simple and the tale is having a manifold of varieties – offering the chunks to every possible reader. To all, to be sure, it offers ‘life’ which a fiction should (rather MUST) do. Pursuing what suits one’s soul without caring for the result to come (morally upright wants only) is the thing which pops up at the end of the novel, but the journey from chopped fingers to applause in foreign countries is quite wonderful and a MUST READ!