Everybody feels a sense of coming back to home while reading anything written by one’s favorite writer. And The Namesake ironically, is a novel about coming back to one’s home or more precisely , one’s roots. Having read it after The Lowland , Jhumpa Lahiri’s true to self description of the Bengali way of Life and of Kolkata, and how these two mingle and make thier way into the households Bengalis living in the States, was not a surprise. For example, how a package from homeland, after travelling thousands of miles can bear the smell still of the dominant spice of your mother’s kitchen. Jhumpa Lahiri , does not ever go straight into the life of the protagonist but goes on detailing the live of his or her family, as it is them who builds a self. But as the story goes on, and the namesake and its significance is revealed to us, the readers, it becomes evident that Ashoke was not only the person who gave Gogol his namesake, he was also the person who lent him his ”overcoat” through his life. This particular instrument which shapes the whole novel at the end is beautifully depicted in the movie adaptation of the book by Mira Nair. Gogo,l, from infancy till his thirties, did everything , he could to make his place and belong to a country he was born in , but always with a prevalent cry in the background from the two abodes of College Street and Alipore, calling him to be part of that life. The first sense of relating to the place where he was born took place with the dead people , in a graveyard.
Coming back to the context of the movie, the only difference that mattered except the small ones like changing the name of Dimitri without any cause, is that, in the movie the relationship of Gogol’s parents as a married couple was not less forced than the one in the book.
The story is not about the several journeys made by Ashoke and Ashima to Kolkata but a journey of the protagonist’s slowly coming back to his roots rather than going far away from it as he was never actually there.