“Words after all are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they’ve entered” – My thoughts on Ghachor Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (Spoiler free)

Screenshot 2017-08-07 15.39.30I found out about this book via an endless page of 4.5-5 stars by various Bookstagrammers and Booktubers. I was intrigued by all the love and admiration this Indian author received globally and instantly wanted to get a copy for myself!
(Having said that, my views remain uninfluenced from it all.)

Ghachor Ghochar was originally written in Kannada and later translated to English by Srinath Perur. I honestly think that this was, without a doubt, the best decision made! This beautiful story is even so beautifully translated!

This book introduces us to the protagonist – also the narrator – in the very first page, providing a few glimpses into both his past and present life. He visits the Coffee House, almost everyday, in hope to find solace from the everyday events that take place at home and also to contemplate Life in one way or the other. We’re eventually made familiar with what’s been troubling him and how it used to be before things changed for him and his family.

The simplicity of and with which this Bangalorean family’s story is weaved together, in just a little over a hundred pages, is nothing less than the work of a genius. Bound by a series of moments and the most ordinary description, each page has an unusual depth to it. The author has managed to touch upon the most essential topics that one tends to come across in life, in one form or the other, leaving the reader with a mind full of thoughts. And we all know that it takes some amazing stories to be able to do that!

“It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.”


It’s a story of a family of five – A mother, father, their two children and the father’s younger brother – and their transition from being a poor family, living in an ant-infested house where the need of even basic furniture had to be compromised due to lack of space, to an extremely rich one almost overnight. It’s about a transition from a family who had to consult with each other before spending any amount of money to a family that was now left baffled with the new freedom and spending power that they were introduced to. Despite the comforts they could now enjoy, the protagonist frequently takes us to their past where memories made in their previous house materialise in front of us and familiarise us to the many differences and sad realities.

It’s true that money is prerequisite for our survival but is it so for our happiness too?

My favourite character is Anita, the protagonist’s wife – a strong, independent and opinionated woman who stands by her principles, truth and all that’s right at all times despite being left unsupported, and also almost always disliked, through it all. She’s shown to be a strong-willed and open-minded person who isn’t scared of putting across her point and challenging the rotten, traditional or sometimes shallow thoughts.
The mother in this family and also the narrator’s sister, are someone I disliked the most.
I wasn’t too impressed by the uncle’s day-to-day tactics and decisions, however he does came across as a good person most of the times. And I was just constantly disappointed in the protagonist and his father for not taking a stand and speaking up when needed. However, they too weren’t wicked.

It’s an extremely well written book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this meaningful story and I can’t recommend it enough! However, I have a feeling that this book can hold different meanings and different views for different people and hence the quote in the title of this blog.

Ghachar Ghochar might now be one of the most used phrases I have in a day – something you’ll know if and when you’ve read or will read this book! 🙂

The ending left me with endless questions, eyes wide open and an aching heart. Had this not been a spoiler free review, I would’ve discussed about it openly. But if you’ve read this book, do let me know your thoughts on the story and the ending! I’d love a good book discussion!

I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

This book made a bee line to my “All-time-favourites” and “To-re read” shelves!
Also, with this book I’ve completed 30/50 books as a part of the Goodreads reading challenge this year 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this review and I’m really interested to know if this book made to your TBR! Or if you’ve read it, do share your thoughts with me 🙂

Thank you for dropping by! I’ll talk to you in my next one! 😀


5 thoughts on ““Words after all are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they’ve entered” – My thoughts on Ghachor Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (Spoiler free)

  1. Ok a skimmed through the review (I don’t read them before reading a book) but I’m definitely adding this to the tbr…absolutely love Indian writers!


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