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bungalee which is allocated to women and from which they cannot advance. Borders are setup to separate people from each other in the funeral ceremony. Williams asserts, however In the end Gustad’s story takes down the wall between Parsi and non-Parsis alike (The book’s predominant visual figures (Williams, 71) disappear in the end. The big wall is demolished and Gustad takes down the blackout paper from his windows because the war is over. The Parsi’s hope for territorial recognition vanishes but it does not follow that the communal identification with Khodadad Building itself is endangered. But
Gustad, personally does suffer from a sense of loss For the briefest of moments he felt the impending loss cut deeply, through memory and time the collapse of the wall would wreck the past and the future (400). Genetsch points out that The fall of the wall destroys a source of refuge and meaning for the future because it destroys the memory of the past. [...] A reduced awareness of time and place, i.e. the loss of spatial and temporal deixis, signifies a severe threat to the resources of meaning in Gustad’s life (153). How-
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vol.
41
Central European Journal of Canadian Studies Revue d’Etudes Canadiennes en Europe Centrale articles
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articles
Judit Molnár
Topophilic Sentiments in Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey (1991)
ever, Edward Said warns us, Borders and barriers which enclose us within safety of familiar territory, can also become prisons, and are often beyond reason and necessity (qtd. in Gabriel, 38). On the one hand, Gustad wants to prevent the wall from being brought down, and on the other hand, it is he, himself, who decides to takeaway the blackout paper As the first sheet tore away, a frightened moth flew out and circled the room (413). This final sentence in the novel makes room for believing in a confident and trustful future in the long run by blurring the boundaries of subject-object division [...] doing away with borders [...]” (Williams, 71). Gabriel comments:
With the wall down, we are left with the fi nal image of Gustad removing the blackout papers from his window, With light pouring into his war-darkened house for the fi rst time in more than a decade,
Gustad begins to see that borders are provisional, merely constructs. This nal scene underlines the novel’s critique of any cultural system that valorizes retreat from external in uences. (39)
Mistry managed to illustrate that Eastern identity has always been given to ceaseless change (Williams, 71) by integrating two most important spatial markers the wall and the blackout paper into his narrative weaving through the text in such away that by the end they become furnished with new meanings. Commenting on the end of the novel, Gabriel asserts “[...] Such a Long Journey, reinforces the fl uid idea of home by announcing in its title the diffi
culty, perhaps even the impossibility of homecoming (31). Further on, she relies on Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the chronotope: We will give the name chronotope (literally, time space) to the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spacial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature (Bakhtin, 84). Gabriel convincingly argues, It is the chronotope of the journey itself, the passage between arrivals and departures, which the text suggests carries the meaning of culture (31). Finally, new perspectives develop The blackout paper which the protagonist takes down [...] allows us to see inasmuch as it allows Gustad to see out (Williams, 71). In the end spatial barriers are replaced by spatial freedom, which, however does not exclude disappointment and a sense of belonging certainly remains.
In sum, Ind a very strong sense of nostalgia in Mistry’s work. Edward Casey claims One of the most eloquent testimonies to places extraordinary memorability is found in nostalgia. We are nostalgic primarily about places that have been emotionally signifi cant to us and which we now miss we are in pain (algos) about a return home (nostos) that is not presently possible Casey tells us that the word was coined by Johannes Hoer, a Swiss medical student in 1688. Hoer said that it was a synonym for homesickness and that admits no remedy other than a return to the homeland (qtd. in Casey 201). There is such a strong attachment towards the Bombay Mistry describes that it makes the reader assume that despite the fact that these are discourses of cultural diff erence he strongly identifi es himself with India. I agree with Vijay Sharma, who notes that Distance from one’s homeland lends the writer not only an intense desire and nostalgia but the unique perspective to examine what is apparently the past (qtd. in Lal 67). The novel is, among other things a guided tour of the Bombay of his time. We are familiarized with the city and our place experiences stay with us. At the same time we are fully aware of the ambivalence to an
CEJCS_07_2011.indd 41
CEJCS_07_2011.indd 41 25.1.2012 13:01:07 25.1.2012 13:01:07

articles
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articles
Judit Molnár
Topophilic Sentiments in Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey (1991)
42
extended set of oppositions, home and nostalgia for what has been lost, the colonized past of India and its post-independence present, childhood and adulthood caught in the warp and woof of memory. In the end, what unites all these oppositions is the imagination of the exilic and transplanted author, himself, writing the imagined space of Bombay from his own relocated space in Canada.

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