One Amazing Thing
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The world is an amazing place, which is populated by millions of people. Being a part of one social category as humans, each one of us represents a completely separate entity, having unique features which distinguish us from other individuals. Within the mankind category, the humans belong to some more generic and narrower specifications, which define closer the milieu we are attached to. Among them cultural divisions, gender, social gratification, class, social status, the sphere of activity and so on. These segments also affect the personality, our beliefs, religious affiliations, previous experiences, etc.; all these things define a person we are. Therefore, in terms of the limits, each person is a whole new world, centered on the mix of personal experiences, background, and the aims in the life, which has an unrepeatable impressive story. The history of humanity in the world itself is a compiled gathering of millions of amazing unique personal stories of each specific individual.
The novel by Chitra Divakaruni “One Amazing Thing” recites nine stories of completely different from each other individuals, which have just happened to find themselves in the same place at the same time under the circumstances of force major. Among the people, who found themselves trapped in some American city’s flooding Indian visa office after the earthquake, having little food left are a teenage punk who receives a gift which he did not expect, Uma Sinha an Indian girl senior student with unresolved love issues, Tariq, a biracial Muslim-American man who has strong emotional trauma since 9/11, Cameron, an angry African-American ex-soldier who holds a grudge and seeks for revenge, Mr. and Mrs. Pritchett, a relatively rich Caucasian couple with a very unstable relationship, V.K.S. Mangalam and Malathi Ramaswamy, two office employees who have strong affectionate feelings towards each other, and Jiang, a very mysterious Chinese grandmother with her granddaughter Lily. Trapped together in the office room they experience psycho-emotional discomforting struggle, which they seek to overcome by opening up through sharing to the group a unique personal story, which will be labeled as one amazing thing about the life, which have never been told to anyone before.
The stories of the nine folks impress by their surprising and unexpected diversity of a bouquet of social issues and struggles, such as self-acceptance and discovery, flirt and romance, wedlock, family proceedings, politics in the light of the situation they have found themselves in. The novel accents the uniqueness of human individuality through the prism of the might of the connectedness and emotional attachment through the expression of humanity. “One Amazing Thing” is the depiction of a resurrecting from the ashes phoenix manufactured by the passion to survive and recreate the life. It seems that the storytelling is vital for these nine people, as whenever one of them starts to speak, suddenly they are aware of the life running in their veins, shattered by their troubling past experiences. Each story, the following more interesting than the previous one, sounds as a finely retouched stroke of a brush in a common masterpiece picture, sighting with the complete exhaustion of near-death experience, inspired by life.
As the story goes on, the two leaders within the nine people can be identified. One of the stories has a particular charm and affect on the emotional state of the nine survivals is the one recited by the Indian-American studying literature, Uma, who is essential to the plot of the story as she helps to unravel the mysteries of each of the characters and help them recognize themselves through the journey into the past and complete the transformational metamorphose of the consciousness of each of the nine representatives of the minorities in the country. Uma says: “Everyone has a story. I don't believe anyone can go through life without encountering at least one amazing thing”. As a result, one can find an amazing thing that all of the amazing stories put together can help to create a symbiosis of life, which is enjoyable and easily implemented by sharing one amazing thing about one’s life. Following the Uma’s technique of telling a story, the individuals seem to enter a state of trance, which as soon as the story ends is followed by catharsis of the storyteller. Perceiving deeply the art of storytelling, Uma is represented as a soul healer of the group. She uses the The Cantenburry Tales book, the epic by Chaucer epic, which describes a group of pilgrims, each narrating a story, in order to inspire the individuals overcome the panic fear and anxiety by telling a story each. She shows herself as a strong person, who finds enough love in her heart to help the group of scared individuals not only find peace and calm in the room, but also peace with themselves, accepting their identities and their stories.
In her own turn, Uma is also transformed and changed. It seems that she feeds from the stories of the members of the group to gain more confidence to support the panicking individuals and provide them and herself as well, a light of hope. Her own story is about the young parents who came to the United States to work, yet do not manage to stay in the country, as they are being brought back to India by the immigration, having to rent out the house where Uma was born, in order to go back to Kolkata and live there in their hometown. Telling her own story, she loses herself in the memories and sadness of the past. Yet, listening to the stories of the others helps her to find herself again. She passes each story through herself, emotionally going with each one of them. After all the stories are told, Uma becomes a completely different person, who identifies that each person despite the race, social or cultural background, etc. is equally important, as each one has, and an amazing thing to tell. Uma finally establishes what she represents and who is she in terms of a human being belonging to a particular social unity.
The novel “One Amazing Thing” consists on the number of transformational novels, which inspire the reader to review one’s life position and think about it from a totally different perspective. Not only the recitation is memorable, but also it is as unique as the nine stories, told by the characters of the novel. The author grants Uma with the power to lead the scared to death members of the group by the hand to eureka moment, where the individual is finally hit by understanding of the self, understanding of others, and the mechanism of human
expression. She is depicted as a guru of raising self awareness, though the analysis of personal behaviors and achievements in life in a critical way which is drawn as a conclusion from the story being told. The writer engages the reader to critically undergo through the personal perception of the issue of the deliquescing social and minority identities in the hosting country, challenging the reader to identify in each of the stories a part of the self. The Uma’s character is brought up by the writer in order to transcend the stories through an emotional filter of conscious analysis depicted in Uma and close the point into a circle of logical premises regarding the role or social interaction and human expression.