Their first meeting was not in a romantic environment-warm, cozy, bright. Rather it was the time when all hell broke loose-fire leaping at the eyes of her eyes-she is going through torment that no individual ever desires to undergo-and he, has been hit by a bullet. A deadly wound-but still he has to serve his motherland-until the last drop of life remains in his body.
Even if there is no blooming of flower- it was spring! Even at inferno-spring does come….
Mistress of Honour by Bhavna Arora is a multi layered book of romance, where events flow like a streaming river-where pure romance is not the only narrative on which the story survives. It is a strong writing by a coming of age writer –developed amid the backdrop of anti insurgency operation in the golden temple and aftershock events that shook India.
Separatist movement on the demand of free Khalistan might be a cliffhanger to the insurgency groups and Indian government, but for millions of innocent Sikh people it was a nightmare. The aftershock of the operation Blue Star was devastating, as it played like a catalyst in the minds of common Sikh people to be sympathetic to the separatist movement. Many a sleeping cells from the ordinary Sikh people originated as an aftereffect of the counter insurgency operation of the Indian army in the golden temple –the seat of the Akal Takht, the holiest place of the Sikh religion. Suddenly people from other majority religions started to view people from Sikh religion as somebody alien- somebody who is carrying devil’s plan under the turban. Those who peacefully lived as friends-and hoped to live happily ever after as friends started to view each other with suspicion! The assassination of smt. Gandhi –the, the then prime minister of India at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards acted like a matchstick on a pile of hay-riots that broke out in Delhi and all over the country made us forget that words like love, sympathy, friendship do exists in the dictionary-men had lost their reasons and acted like a headless monster- blind with rage, furious with sense of revenge. In the words of the writer
‘A man has grabbed a lady who was struggling to free herself to save her husband from two other men who were beating him with hockey sticks because he was a Sikh. The poor woman screamed in despair, but the men showed n mercy. Her wails of anguish were drowned in the chaos all around. No one came to their rescue. Right in the middle of a street, the men burned the Sikh man alive till he died from the burns, leaving his wife helpless and alone in her misery.’
At this point the story does not merely get confined being a story of romance-but transits being a testament of contemporary time-a chronicle of shame! In this backdrop the mental dilemma of Pansy-our beautiful half British half Sikh protagonist has been portrayed brilliantly. She has lost her parents in the counter insurgency operation. Still the flames-the scram-the death plays before her eyes every minute. Can she trust anybody in her entire life? Can she love anybody? Can she ever dream of making a relation again?
There are some close descriptions of physical intimacy-but never has it crossed the hurdle of obscenity! Descriptions are rather symbolic of the seesaw relation between the protagonists-Potnis and Pansy. And the flower of romance blooms-beautiful Rhina comes to the lap of Pansy. It was happiness all around and both the protagonists tied the marriage knot. But here too questions left for the reader to be answered-was it a marriage under compulsion? Will Pansy, who have seen her parents die before her own eyes-can ever be a loving wife and a caring mother?
Bhavna has assembled many characters in the story who have done their bits in developing the storyline. Shamser-a comrade in arms of Potnis-a loyal trusted follower and friend is one such character. His characterization is so real that the reader can easily fall in love with the man. Of course it is platonic love …. Contemporary times have given another dimension to the story. The activity of Indian peacekeeping force in Srilanka, the aggression of the LTTE –all have their places of mention in the romantic novel. And as I have already told that is where the novel is so different-it is not a traditional boy meets girl story-well, they meet no doubt but it is rather a saga of love, courage and sacrifice as the author dubbed in the blurb.
As I have already told that Bhavna has assembled many characters in the story line. Advik is one such character. He is as uncommon as his name suggests. As a child of parents-who have been separated-normally you can expect him to be a spoiled, mission less child-a disturbed soul-but amazingly Advik is different. His single point agenda is to get entry in Indian Air Force-it is like a passion for him. And he is somebody who can readily sacrifice one precious year of training in the academy so that his friend too can be trained along with him.
Military operations and campus life has became an integral part of the fiction-rendering colours to the hitherto bright canvas of the picture.
Destiny takes him close to Rihana-a relation that can be best described as completing the circle of life. He was able to touch her heart-there was a stormy night of physical intimacy-storm inside and outside-but will that love transpires to relation? At the crossroads of life-they have to take decisions?
Country, passion, romance, love-all combined to form a beautiful mosaic of human emotions.
What decision will it be? Will history repeats itself?
The review was done courtesy to the copy provided by the writer in association with bookadorers.com,
And the views expressed by me is my honest thinking of the book.