The Psychological Thriller “Fire on the Mountain” is written by Famous Indian author, Anita Desai, originally published in 1977. The book story deals with a loneliness of a woman.
Fire on the Mountain By Anita Desai
Summary of Fire on the Mountain By Anita Desai
Anita Desai’s “Fire on the Mountain” story begins with character, Nanda Kaul, a woman who lives alone in mountains. Her husband was a vice Chancellor of a university, who died a long time ago. Nanda’s husband was very strict, she has spent all her life in taking care of her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. She never had a time for herself. Nanda lives alone with her cook, Ram Lal in a place called Kasauli. She loves to live a life of Solitude and peace. One day, Nanda received a letter through postman from her daughter, Asha. Asha asked her mother, Nanda in letter whether she could allow her great granddaughter, Raka, to live with her for few days. Raka is a daughter of Asha’s daughter, Tara.
Asha’s daughter, Tara is living a depress full life as her husband is very abusive who brutally abuse her mentally and physically. On the other side, Tara’s mother, Asha feels like that it is Tara’s fault somewhere that’s why her husband abuse her. The story now features new character, Ila Das, a school friend of Nanda, who is very excited as Nanda’s great granddaughter is coming to live with her. On the contrary, Nanda is not happy with her great granddaughter visits as she just wants to live a solitude life. Nanda discussed with her cook about what to cook for her great granddaughter, Raka. Nanda and her cook, Ram Lal are old and confused, they don’t know what today’s generation like to eat.
Afterwards, Ram Lal goes to pick up Raka from station. On the other side, Nanda is thinking how she is going to entertain her as she doesn’t know how to deal with a child anymore. Raka has finally come to Nanda’s home. She is like an insect from Nanda’s perspective. Raka is just disturbing Nanda’s privacy because she is curious to know everything about her and the house. She keeps asking questions from Nanda and Ram Lal about house, places, and other things. Nanda is worried and she is thinking whether she should keep Raka in her home or not.
One day, Raka goes outside of house to explore mountains without telling anything to her great grandmother. Nanda is worrying about Raka because she hasn’t come home for many hours. Finally, Raka returns home but with wounds on her hand and legs and she doesn’t talk with Nanda and goes directly in her room. Sometimes, Nanda thinks that Raka is like her because she also loves to live alone. She praises Raka as she like to spend time with herself.
As the story progresses, we follow Ram Lal, who tells interesting stories to Nanda’s great granddaughter. Raka gets close to Ram Lal as he tells her interesting stories daily. Ram Lal wants Raka to play with other children of her age, but she has no interest to play with other children. Furthermore, Nanda goes for a walk with Raka in mountains. There Nanda tries to talk with her by telling stories, but she shows no interest in her. Nanda keeps telling stories to Raka even though she wasn’t listening her. She advises Raka to go school but she denied her request.
One day, Ram Lal tells Raka that Army has organized dance club and you should visit it once. As Raka goes to see dance, she started having hallucination due to music. She saw that her father is torturing her mother again. Afterwards, Raka immediately returns to home. On the other side, Nanda is jealous of Ram Lal as her granddaughter, Raka is more interested in him than her. Nanda received a letter from her daughter, Asha that Tara had a mental breakdown and she is going to meet her. But Tara’s daughter, Raka has no interest to know about her mother’s condition. Raka has no feelings not even for her mother.
The story now jumps to a life of Ila Das, who calls Nanda to meet her. Ila voice is bit strange and wherever she goes people make fun of her voice. Ila belongs to rich family, but all her money is grabbed by her brothers. She is living in poverty. She goes in Kasauli to meet her school friend, Nanda, and her great granddaughter. As Ila saw Raka, she immediately kissed her and hug her. At the end of day, Ila returns to her home. As Ila was in her home, a man named, Preet Singh enters in her home, he raped her and killed her. The police calls Ila’s friend Nanda to recognize her body. At the end of story, we learns about Preet Sigh’s motive, who killed Ila because she was protesting child marriage. On the contrary, Raka comes to Nanda and tells her that she set “Fire on the Mountain”.