Kabir , the word/name and possibly the person as I have heard/read of him all stand italicized in my mind. Too wisplike for bold and too finespun for an underline. Ringing along this is the chant of his couplets we'd studied in the otherwise largely dreary Hindi classroom. I recall that even the most bored -with -her -job -teacher would turn almost radiant and beatific while speaking of him and reading his work. Possibly many childhoods like my own must have felt its tranquil reflective touch when in the confines of a choking syllabi and the rote learning rut.
Would this be reason enough to make a fictionalized account of his life a treasured reading? I’m not sure
The story runs through a day in Kabir’s life , his encounters with the extremist clergy , the conspiracy they hatch and the twist in tale that leads these antagonists to fight over his body on his death. Laced with his couplets along with the narratives from the wind and Dhaga you get a peek into the various incidents in Kabir's . Was he a Hindu? A Muslim? Did he have a family? All such speculation finds space in the story through memories of characters that Kabir interacts with. Jaya Madhavan turns Kabir's companions of the loom into characters animated - speaking to the reader, bickering, laughing, conspiring against conspiracies and protecting their friend who seemed to attract trouble by the double. Dhaaga (this too shall be rendered italicized henceforth) the round-bellied-gossip-loaded string, leaves an impression more lasting than most human characters in the narrative. You see him gossip, speculate, swoon and panic. The racket in the Kabirs home is palpable when the panic stricken tools talk amongst themselves and lament Kabirs lacking in discernment. Kabir in my mind becomes a broad shouldered handsome man, only a seemingly passive participant and incisively active observer and analyst.Throughout the narrative he's surprisingly enticing, provoking status quo and speaking the truth to power.
A must read i'd say for those who'd like to relive their childhood enchantment for stories.