“The Tune of Kahunsha” is a novel by Anosh Irani about a boy who flees from an orphanage with a dream to discover his dad, nevertheless, as soon as exposed to the genuine, destructive society we reside in, Chamdi finds himself struggling to climb out of Bombay’s deepest gorge of violence, racism, and hardship. The author does a wonderful job of plainly showing the development of the protagonist by offering a series of twists and turns in Chamdi’s life which consequently contributes to his maturity from a little kid from the orphanage, to a genuine guy out in the real life.
Chamdi battles with internal conflicts in the beginning of the story, likewise called Guy vs. Self. Curious and questioning the existence of his parents, he starts to demand answers from those around him which adds to the advancement of a brand-new dream; to find his daddy. With all of the dangers and threats Bombay’s present racial war proposed, Chamdi never attempted to step exterior of the walls of the orphanage.
“Mrs. Sadiq, who runs the orphanage, has actually not permitted any of the children to step outside the orphanage walls over the previous three weeks” (page 10). Due to issues with the property owner, the orphans were expected to leave within a month and Chamdi made the most of this chance to carry on with his preliminary objective. “He now knows he needs to leave the orphanage before it leaves him” (page 41). We discover the primary step towards maturity as Chamdi takes a brave action out of the orphanage with no money, knowledge, and possessing only a white fabric smeared with his dad’s blood.
Chamdi spends his first few nights on the streets with another boy named Sumdi and his little sister, Guddi. He is introduced to the underground begging system of Bombay; “Anand Bhai is our boss. All beggars who work in this area must give him whatever we earn. Then he will give us some money back” (page 118). Chamdi is now facing external conflicts with the horrific weather conditions commonly referred to as Man vs. Nature, and is also struck by poverty, violence and racism, also known as Man vs. Society. As Chamdi is put to work as property of Anand Bhai, he is both witness to and participant in terrible acts of violence, yet still manages to retain a belief that the city around him is capable of goodness. Using his imagination, he pictures a place of good; no violence, discrimination andpoverty, a place he refers to as Kahunsha. Constantly referring back to Mrs. Sadiq’s words “once a thief, always a thief,” he is always feeling guilty of his actions.
It is evident that the protagonist is developing a sense of maturity, as an independent boy with a dream to find his father is forced to face his fears on the dangerous streets of Bombay. Furthermore, after the unfortunate death of Sumdi, Guddi and Chamdi are taken care of by Anand Bhai’s warm hearted parents. However, as Chamdi and Guddi fall in love, he is determined to protect her for the rest of his life. When Anand Bhai threatens Chamdi with Guddi’s life, he is forced to murder a Muslim family which was an obstacle he faced, known as Man vs. Man. In the long run, although Chamdi committed an unforgivable act, it is it which further contributes to Chamdi’s maturity as a man. In the final scene where Chamdi and Guddi release the ashes of Sumdi, Chamdi also lets go of his cloth which symbolized the tough decision of letting go of his goal to find his father. “At the last of the ashes leave the white cloth, Chamdi lets go of the cloth itself.
Go land at my father’s feet, he says to the cloth… Now it is his turn to find me” (page 265). This scene is significant, for it symbolizes the new man Chamdi has become. “Chamdi wishes Mrs. Sadiq were here to witness this moment because she would have been very proud of him. Her words come to him: You are no longer ten. You are a man now and it is my fault that I have made you the man you are. But Chamdi is grateful to her. He wants her to know that” (page 265).
In times of hunger, pain and hardship, it is very difficult and may seem impossible for one to find happiness. However, Chamdi’s character throughout the novel is highly significant in terms of character development. “Finding beauty in unexpected places” is the theme that Irani has clearly transferred. A young boy who grew up with no parents is heartbreaking, however, with his imagination, he found happiness in his own setting: Kahunsha. Linking all of his favourite flowers, music and food to this beautiful place, it has helped him persevere and dream of a better, cleaner Bombay. Furthermore, as Chamdi found the girl he loved, he has simply learned to “let go.”
He put himself second by temporarily forgetting the rather “important” things in his life, such as his father, and has clearly stated his final dream to make Guddi happy, to protect her and to love her till the day he dies. This act of determination when he takes priority of Guddi rather than himself is something humans are often not comfortable with. It is also an act of “giving” which is ironic, for Chamdi is a beggar himself. Chamdi’s experiences of living as a “prince” (as Sumdi referred to multiple times) at the orphanage with clean bedsheets and food, and as a beggar on the dangerous streets coping with poverty, violence and racism, has significantly contributed to the timeline of a Chamdi’s life from boy, to a man.
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