24 October, 2020

Worms In The Cottage Cheese

Kalimpongwallahs, her aunt included, take offence at Desai's dark portrait of their idyll

Swapan Nayak
Worms In The Cottage Cheese
Kiran Desai may have put Kalimpong on the world map by making it the setting for her Booker prize-winning novel The Inheritance of Loss. But no one in Kalimpong is thanking her for that. They are upset by Desai's dark portrait of this sleepy town in the Darjeeling Hills, which comes across as a squalid, divided place in her book. No one will bar Desai from revisiting Kalimpong—it's not that kind of place—but the new literary sensation has not won herself any fans here.

"The truth is apparent," says Desai in her book. All one needs to do is to "reach out and pluck it". But a visitor to this charming town, with its quaint British-style structures, and the majestic Kanchendzonga towering above it, may end up "plucking" a very different truth from the one Desai writes about. Kalimpong comes across as an easygoing rather than the hate-filled place Desai's novel suggests it to be. It's the kind of town whose people still have time for others because, as Wing Commander (retired) Prafulla Rao says, "Time gently quivers to a halt on...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Jaideep Mazumdar

Latest Magazine

November 02, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section