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Karvalo – in search of the universal truth

March 23, 2007

Tejaswi

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.

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26 comments

  1. The tragedy with Kannada writers is that they are seldom hailed and appreciated while they are alive. Maybe the geniuses sought anonymity and a life of quiet, I’m not sure.
    Still, the onus rests on the government to promote their works and give them their rightful place under the Sun. This is not the case with miserable, Indian Writers in English, who spend much of their lives in Europe or America; paying token visits upon the release of some trashy novel. You should see the way the media shamelessly goes ga-ga at such non-events!


  2. Yes I have seen many writers who always look upon government to promote their work. But at the same time I have seen some writers who have dedicated their life for literature. Kayyara Kinhanna Rai – a Gandhian and an eminent kannada poet from Kasargod – is one such example. I had the opportunity to film an interview of him for a TV programme. He gave me a living example of true Gandhian principles. At an age of 92, he still writes with the same spirit in a remote village. I will write a post on him some day. Even Tejaswi was one such person, who firmly follwed the principles he believed.


  3. Yes friend. I will fetch this book immediately. A small excerpt of Karvalo was a part of our curriculum during schooling days.


  4. Prasanna, welcome to my blog. Karvalo will definitetly give you the satisfaction of reading something unique.


    • Yes…. truely karvalo gave the uniqe experience.at the time of reading that book i realy surprised about the beauty and secrets of the world.JUGARICROSS ALSO GIVE THE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE TO ME.are read this?


  5. Wonderful review.

    A “born naturalist” Mandanna and his “Guru” Karvalo create an unprecedented impression in our minds. It is, as you’ve given, a thrill to go thru the pages of this book. I have already read it thrice, within a couple of months of reading it the first time.

    The narrator in Tejaswi opens up a bright view of the forest before us, he creates an impression as though we are on the mission ourselves!!

    He also brings in a cook to give us an imprint of how these people, who are less educated, perceive of something that is referred to as a wonder. They give no extra value to the special being, all of them are as good as an animal to be having for a dinner.

    And I guess, this mindset of our people have brought us to this position, where every other being is to be added to ‘extinct’ category!

    Superb review Shiv.


  6. Thank you friend,
    On a superficial level, ‘Karavlo’ talks about a flying lizard and about the village life. But there is a deep philosophical interpretations which questions about our own existence. The beauty of the magical world it unveils is beyond words.
    Have you read his other novels Jugaari Cross and Chidambara Rahasya? Both are very interesting novels. I finished reading Maayaloka:1 few months back. This is a collage type of novel on a rural life. But I didnt understand that novel completely.


  7. I am one of Tejaswi reader..would like to know more abut him.. as i have read almost all his books and have collected his articles and articles abut him…

    Me presently working in gurgaon Haryana.

    Im quite interested abut unfortunately we lost him so soon…

    pls do write some words abut and ur concern abut tejaswi..
    regards
    venkatesh


  8. Namaste Venkatesh,
    I am very happy to know that you are also one among the lakhs of readers who worship Tejaswi’s writings. I started reading Tejaswi’s works when I was in high school. I have a good collection of his books and articles. I had written one more article about him. The link of which is here.

    http://astroshiva.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/remembering-tejaswi/


  9. hi, i enjoyed your writing..
    I want a site where I can download or read Kannada books like Karvalo etc..
    please reply


    • Hi

      I have lot of Kannada Novel soft copies (Authors: Triveni,BV Ananthram, SLB, Yandamuri, Saisute, MK Indira, KP Tejaswi, Karant, etc etc), If anyone want please send me mail at basusg@gmail.com, i will send download links .

      Regards
      Basavaraj S G


  10. Hi Sumanth,
    It would have been very nice if we had some good sites where we could download kannada novels. Unfortunately we dont have many kannada sites. I will let you know if we have any site where we can download kannada books. Until we have it, I suggest you to buy Kannada books from store.


  11. is this a real story ….


  12. I read Karvalo a few days back, it really felt nice to read your views about the book.
    Tejaswi remains my favourite for many reasons
    – he writes unconventionally (When i say unconventional i mean he choses subjects which a layman author would not have)
    – his choice of words are sharp
    – he never forgets to add humor and sarcasm which i am fond of
    – his cut-throat criticism about any system

    Coming back to Karvalo, the book keeps the reader on toes to witness the mystery of flying lizards to unfold.
    I somehow liked the character of the muslim boy servant who works for the author, the conversations between this boy and the author are witty. Honeybee incidents are worth having a good laughter and they even gave me an insight about how life looks like in deep forests of western ghats.

    Like to write about Karvalo, but i guess i will be ruining the curiosity of the one’s who have n t had a chance to read the book.


    • @arun No it’s not. But better than reality.

      @Tejaswini,
      I totally agree with your opinions about Tejaswi and ‘Karvalo’
      It is nice to know that you would like to write about Karvalo. Please give it a try. Blogging is all about sharing your thoughts.


  13. This book is really good really very good…


  14. Yes true.


  15. really yu have the potential but not its just to see a novel only by its single entity .. Compare tejaswi wit some of his contemporary works along wit its better i suggest yu to read vimarsheya vimarshey by tejaswi .it may give yu a new perception to your thinkin about tejaswi . All the best yu are doing gud . I expect more from yu :-)


    • @Viju, Thanks for the comment. Surely I will read the book you mentioned.


  16. I had read this novel more then 10 times, but I didn’t get any boring, it is a wonder full novel


  17. SIR,
    I HAVE READ KARVALO NOVEL SO MANY TIME. THIS IS BEST NATURAL NOVEL. I HAVE READ ALL BOOKS WRITTEN BY TEJASWI. I LIKE ALL HIS BOOKS FOR HIS NATURAL WRITINGS.

    BUT THEY GONE TO FOREST FOR CATCH LIZARDS IN BARE HAND ONLY.WHY THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN ANY NETS OR SUCH OTHER INSTRUMENTS CAN CATCH THE LIZARDS EASILY. IF THEY GONE WITH SUCH INSTRUEMENTS THEY CAN SURELY CATCH THE LIZARDS WITHOUT ANY DOUBT.

    REGARDS.


    • Dinesh… Happy that you like karvalo… Good observation. I guess there is more to this novel than these things. There is a subtle philosophical meaning to the novel.


      • YOUR REPLY
        Dinesh… Happy that you like karvalo… Good observation. I guess there is more to this novel than these things. There is a subtle philosophical meaning to the novel.

        BUT SIR,
        THE THE OVERALL MAIN AIM OF NOVEL IS CATCH THE FLYING LIZARD.
        DUE TO UNPREPRATIONAL CATCHING ARRANGEMENT HELPED FLYING LIZARD TO ESCAPE EASILY SO THAT ALL PARTICIPANT AND READER BECOME NERVOUS.

        by astroshiva August 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm


  18. can any of you tell me what is the name of this book’s translation in english. i’ve read this book several times and i want my friend to read this book too but she dont know kannada… please help


  19. Karvalo is one of my best and most loved novel it can be proudly tell that jurrasic park of kannada and POORNA CHANDRA TEJASWI IS MICHEL CRATEN OF KANNADA


  20. really it is a wonderful novel written by tejaswi sir. I went deep in the story and was very fascinated about the western ghats by the way author has written. I like mandanna and pyara charcters.



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