“Humbling and Humility” is an intense, detailed narrative of an Indian-American father and husband’s struggle with betrayal by his spouse and its consequences upon himself and his children.
Including a critical view of state intervention into domestic discord in families in America, the narrative explores this father’s attempts to mitigate harm and accommodate disruptive life changes in non-violent ways, both in his family and in other families in similar predicaments.
In raw and honest discussions, with no pretense of holding back, the author delves into culture and gender differences, and the many challenges immigrants face in America.
The wagon rolled out of 4th Ave., and I was grateful to see some sunlight through the tiny window. We stopped at a holding facility in another part of the metropolis, where a young, stocky fellow, no more than a year or two above twenty, with a large black patch of what seemed like dead skin on the underside of one of his forearms, joined me in my side of the dog wagon.
He seemed chatty, and given my brief exposure to sunlight, I conversed with him permanent black skin patch through MRSA gathered from unclothed contact with surfaces inside many jail cells he’d been in. MRSA is a bacterial strain highly resistant to treatment. It is quite common in the holding cells and incarceration facilities of the state. He was hospitalized by the state due to the severity of his bacterial infection. They’d managed to stop it, but not before the starkly visible damage. He seemed dismissive of it, but I wasn’t so sure that I would, at my age that was twice his, survive such bacterial infection.
As we were led into the civic center in Dilbut that housed the courts, through back doors into a holding area, I saw the same cop who’d mocked my request for toiletries at the 4th Ave. intake line. This Hispanic member of law enforcement– from his name, Carillo– seemed to enjoy playing sadistically with the emotions of those in the state’s unrelenting grip, presumed innocent or not. His face had all the refinement of a Halloween mask. It was a face not even a mother could love.
who’d mocked my request for toiletries at the 4th Ave. intake line. This Hispanic member of law enforcement– from his name, Carillo– seemed to enjoy playing sadistically with the emotions of those in the state’s unrelenting grip, presumed innocent or not. His face had all the refinement of a Halloween mask. It was a face not even a mother could love.
In time, an officer came in to inform us that a female judge had put in an appearance, and the sadistic cop changed his slant to discussing how she’d been making bail release determinations. It’s rather redundant to indicate that he worked at raising our hopes, with claims that the judge had, just the past week, let many in arraignment leave without bail, right from the courtroom, on their own recognizance. It is also not hard to now see why those arrested and subjugated by law enforcement refer to them as pigs, which I hardly think stands for ‘people in government service,’ though you may again be forgiven for such a gentle assumption.
A short walk, and a climb up a spiral staircase, led us directly and surprisingly into a courtroom. There, we were all gathered in the jury section, some gloriously attired in overalls of white with wide black stripes, and all with handcuffs on. There was only the judge and two cops present in the room. She went through each person’s situation, setting bail at significant amounts for each and every one of us. Some she would not release at all, and had to resign themselves to going back to the holding facilities or to Waspoia’s tent camps.
About The Author:
Rian Nejar is a mid-60’s child from India. He trained and worked as an engineer in India, lived briefly in the Middle East, and arrived in America in the early 90’s. After a Master’s in electrical engineering in America, he worked as an academic instructor, engineer, entrepreneur, and technical writer over the two decades since. Humbling and Humility (HnH) is the first heartfelt written expression of his varied life experiences. He lives in the Southwest United States, and writes on the social and human condition.
Humbling and humility is predominantly an account of author’s take on the eastern and western culture.
The reader’s heart
We have always been complaining that the system in India is dormant and takes forever to reach a decision but Humbling and humility tells us a different story; the repercussions of a fast action. In a context of the humiliation of Indian Diplomat Priyavani, author unravels a dirty world where the facilities to the convicts or presumed guilty are menial. Author shocks the reader with the stories of unhygienic cells, which carries bacterial infections to the inmates of the prison. The protagonist ends up in an intervention center as a result of a bogus complaint filed by his wife. In spite of the sufferings from his spouse, the protagonist is the one who is convicted due to the indiscretion of the legal system and bureaucracy. In an unrelenting effort to make sure that the wrongdoer is punished, innocent people are becoming scapegoats. Protagonist is a first generation immigrant from India, who is struggling to adjust himself in the western culture. The dilemma, pain and frustration of the protagonist is conveyed well to the readers. Surprisingly name of the protagonist or his spouse if not mentioned anywhere in the book; or I missed it. While trying to put to light the inconsistency of marital lives in Western culture, author has portrayed a well to do family of his friends John and Parvathy, which shows that it is not an impossible task to inculcate two cultures but as the protagonist’s counsellor in the intervention center says, the Pendulum keep on swaying and at a point where it stops, things will work out. Protagonist’s life takes a turn when more people enter his life.
What I liked?
The language and craft of the story is solid. It is more of a monologue of the protagonists but yes, there are conversations but in a lesser number. Nevertheless, readers would not be bored. Author is absorbed seamless into the protagonist that at some points, I kept on wondering if I am reading an autobiography. Author touched so many topics, which are matters of concern for the protagonist. Through the stories of people whom the protagonists meet at the intervention center, readers are subject to revelations of unexpected happenings in a system that is considered secured, perfect and spotless. Last but not the least, the book is an eye opener about the misuse of Domestic Violence prevention measures. The editing is also done with finesse.
“Punishment for something I’d done, I can accept, but a beating, just because you are angry, is not okay.”
“This pendulum was not only an unstable system; it was, in the hands of a ruthless and single-minded collection of authorities, a hammer of social injustice and repression.”
What I disliked?
While we are half way through the book, the pace drops a little bit but takes momentum once Giddu, Guddy and Monty come to picture. A wave of anti- female feeling could be felt but it could be the protagonist’s perspective. The book cover design is simple when compared to the gravity of the topic.
Why should one read this book?
To know the sugar coated, quasi-perfectionism of a system which we look up to, one should read this book.
Writing Style: 5/5
Book Cover: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Title: Humbling and Humility
Author: Rian Nejar
Publisher: Anasim Books
Year of Publication: 2014
Price: 933 INR
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To this enlightening journey of words, I give a four-star rating.