by Ruby Gupta (Goodreads Author)
The title of the novel Maya alludes to one of the basic themes of Hindu philosophy that this world is nothing but an illusion. The prot…more
The title of the novel Maya alludes to one of the basic themes of Hindu philosophy that this world is nothing but an illusion. The protagonist of the novel, Viren, travels from India to the US and back to the newly formed State of Chhattisgarh (in India). His journey becomes an unconscious journey into the self – a quest to understand the existential angst. This is the larger connotation of the title. Maya is also the name of one of the central characters of the novel.
The story begins with Viren reaching Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh after receiving news of his Uncle’s death. This forced sabbatical from his high-pressure job as a software developer in Sunnyvale California propels him on to a journey where he confronts his painful past. His mother had committed suicide and he is estranged from his father. Here, in the backwaters of India, he finds himself juxtaposed between two different worlds and two different eras.
In the midst of this, Viren meets a beautiful mysterious woman, Maya, who stays alone in a dilapidated fort in the middle of nowhere. He is bewitched, for she seems to possess powers beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals. Her search is spiritual and she lives in the wilderness akin to the sages of ancient India who lived and meditated in the Himalayas. Viren’s repeated interactions with her intrigue him; and he begins to question the purpose of his current lifestyle and the fulfilment he derived from his work and relationships. Their conversations about life and mysticism form the core of the novel. Interspersed with this, are glimpses of Viren’s childhood, the dysfunctional relationship between his parents, his first love, and the world of his Uncle peopled with strange tribes.
When Viren does not return to Sunnyvale, his best friend, K.C. Mehta also visits Chhattisgarh. The novel ends with his first glimpse of Maya. The reader is left to ponder about the whereabouts of Viren, K.C’s possible interaction with Maya, the underlying unity between the ancient and the modern, and the illusory nature of this world. [close]
― Terry Pratchett, The Science of Discworld II: The Globe
― Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics,
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