A few days back I was surprised to find a mail from Rohit Gore asking me if I would be interested in reviewing his latest novel. I had no idea how to react. I do not read much of Indian authors because of Chetan-o-phobia. I know I am generalizing here and that is why I read Anita Desai’s ‘The village by the sea’ and ‘Fire on the mountain’ and loved both the books. I also read ‘The blue bedspread’ by Raj Kamal Jha and heaved a sigh of relief that there are authors who can help me get over my phobia.
As soon as I got Rohit’s mail, I checked the reviews of his book on Flipkart and Goodreads. The reviews were majorly positive and so I decided to give it a go. There were reasons that were trying to pull me the other way but I will come to them later.
The book was a surprise. On the surface it looks like a regular story of rich boy meets poor girl and the clashes and the sparks that follow but it is a much deeper study of their relationship. Aditya Mehta and Radha Deodhar meet accidentally when they are in school. Radha saves Adi that day and thus begins their turbulent and absorbing journey. The book takes us through their relationship for the next two decades. Aditya is a son of very wealthy businessman and lives in a 40-story mansion (sounds very familiar?) while Radha is the daughter of a middle class man with strong principles and does not have a very good opinion about the Mehta empire headed by Adi’s parents.
I found the book very engrossing. In fact it is one of the books where I did not notice the passage of time. It is fast paced and there is no stagnation in any part of it. Not only Adi and Radha’s characters but the characters of their parents, Heena, Vedant and Sudha Bapat are also well etched. The set up is believable and well-defined. There is something very grounded about the book. You relate to the upheavals and the life turning events the protagonists go through.
Having said that I was not able to comprehend Aditya’s parents. They are sensible, believe in charity and still live in a 40-story monstrosity. But then we have a real life example of that, don’t we? Also, I was a bit surprised when Radha’s mother insist that she goes to Scotland on a holiday with Adi. I have doubts that this could happen in an Indian middle class family.
Coming back to the reasons that were pulling me the other way. I did not like the blurb at the back. It seemed like a desperate attempt by the publication house to sell it by portraying it as a run-of-the-mill love story which it is not. It has layers, it is deep and it is much more than a college romance. I would have second thoughts about buying the book after reading it. I am not a fan of the cover either. And so, I am glad that Rohit sent me a copy.
Overall, an engaging book and worth reading. I hope someone makes it into a movie. It will be a Bollywood movie I would love to watch if there are no item numbers in it.
Rating – 4/5