Karvalo – in search of the universal truthMarch 23, 2007
Poorna Chandra Tejaswi has always been one of my favourite writers. His writings cover a wide range of topics from the latin american life style to the flora and fauna of western ghats. Even the desciplines of his work range a great deal from novels, short stories, non-fictions to transliterations.
His Millenium series is undoubtedly a unique concept by itself. In this series he caters the kannada book lovers with the wonders of the world. The topics like moon missions, world wars, Inca-Aztec civilizations are really a treat to read.
Today I thought I would pen down my views on his work Karvalo – one of the widely read novels. This novel has been translated to many languages all over the world, which shows its immense universal appeal.
Karvalo is a very realistic story which takes place in a remote village of the western ghats of Karnataka. This is a story exploring the existence of every indivisual living thing in this universe.
Why are we living today? What made us exist the way we do today? What if our evolution had taken some other path and ended up in forming something other than a homosepien. What if dinosaurs had managed to exist today, battling all the natural calamities? There are many such questions which pop out as you go through the pages of Karvalo. These are the fundamental questions which kept on coming back from the days of stone age man to the days of Charles Darwin and to this era of DNA technology.
In Karvalo, the protagonist is a well educated farmer, who is also the narrator of the story. Inspite of his great interest in rural lifestyle, his unsuccessful agricultural work makes him think to quit everything and head towards the city. During this time he meets Karvalo, a middle aged scientist. Their first few meetings were made to discuss the agricultural difficulties which the protogonist had to share with the scientist. There is another interesting charecter Mandanna who makes his appearance in the initial stage of the novel. He is a local cowboy who is considered as a good-for-nothing fellow by the villagers and his friends.
The narrator of this story wonders when he finds that Mandanna and Karvalo are very close to each other. He wonders what is the thing which brings them to a common platform. What is that a scientist finds so special in a local cowboy?
As the story moves, we see the narrrator getting an explanation from the scientist himself as to the importance of Mandanna. Mandanna might have been labelled a dumb guy, but he too has some unique skills in his kitty which makes him a special aqquaintance of the scientist. Mandanna’s ‘observational skill’ is the thing which made Karvalo choose him as a person to help him with his research work. As Karvalo says, Mandanna is very good at identifying different creatures.
One fine day Karvalo reveals that his fellow ‘student’ Mandanna had seen an endangered reptile in the jungle, which was previously thought to have been extinct. It is a flying lizard which opens a wing-like organ when it has to fly from one place to another. Karvalo is now on a mission to spot the creature. Now he asks the narrator to join his team, which already includes the scientist, Mandanna, a camera man and a womaniser cook.
Their journey towards the lizard is the story of this novel. The series of discussions and revealations which happens in their expedition gives a philosophical touch to the story. The questions like ‘Do they find the flying lizard?’ become immaterial when you find that it is the truth of life what they were in search of.
I find the serious discussions by the charecters very interesting to read. In one chapter there is a discussion about the existence of God. A believer of God thinks that the rising sun, stars and wonders of natures are the examples which show the existance of God. But quiet ironically these are the same examples which make a non-believer think that there is no such thing as God. Finally it is the examples which are true and the all the conclusions we draw from these examples are false. What a brilliant thought? Yes, you find lot of such discussions in this novel, which can give you a whole new idea about our life.
This is a story which makes you think about the wonders of nature. Some people may call it God; to some it is an ever-existing world. Call it the way you percieve, but it cant stop you from thinking about the universal question.
If you have not experienced the thrill of this novel yet, I suggest, give it a try.