Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is a narrative on the aftermath, some twenty years later, of the Air India flight that was blown up over the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Ireland en route to New Delhi. The author, through the main character Ashwin Rao, explores the reality of the grieving families who try to cope without their loved ones lost in the ocean some of the bodies were never recovered.  

Ashwin Rao, an Indian Psychologist, lived in Canada but later moved back to Delhi leaving behind his girlfriend in Ottawa.  He practises psychology in Delhi. His trip back to Canada in 2004 was to study the grieving families, including his relative. He listens, observes and takes copious notes on the act of grieving and in rare instances almost acts as psychologist to some.  But steps back as soon as he realizes that his task was to study the families and not practise psychology with them. 

The narrative evolves as the reader becomes aware that most of the passengers of Indian origin are Canadian citizens and yet the Canadian Government barely acknowledges this important fact. The hopelessness of the attendance at the trials held in Vancouver that highlighted the errors and discrepancies that illustrated the lack of justice.  All the while, Ashwin was studying the families and noted how they grieved or not for their lost relatives. 

Viswanathan describes, through this narrative, how the families attempt to move forward in their lives; some are successful while others continue to struggle.  Towards the end of the narrative, the readers are faced with a bizarre turn of events for one of the families.

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