In the first paragraph of Vedi, the boy’s father voices the two most important themes of the book, self-reliance and memory: “‘You are a man now,’ he said. This sentence of my father’s was to become the beginning of my clear, conscious memory.”
It was Vedi’s good fortune to have a father who wanted his son to become self-reliant and had the resources to help. Consistently rational in a society permeated with superstition and hidebound traditions, the father took what steps he could to secure his son’s future. On the other hand, Vedi’s mother, though loving and supportive, embodied the fatalistic Eastern attitude he had to resist. Torn between the conflicting needs for independence and security, Vedi was finally oriented toward the West by his father. Necessary as this was, it makes Vedi a book about loss: of sight, of friends, of family. Vedi was always an outsider, the blind among the sighted and the rich boy among the poor. Rejecting pity, he had an impatient, almost imperious need for love, which he demanded of people but which never provided him with the security he sought. There is no self-pity in this book. As crucial to his achieving self-reliance as his father’s support was Vedi’s cheerful self-assurance, which reflects his mother’s emotional, irrational nature as much as his father’s enlightened ways. With a playful imagination that still shines in this writing, Mehta could pretend a cold shower was...
(The entire section is 1290 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Vedi Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!