Mistress of Honour by Bhaavna Arora
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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?
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And the views expressed by me is my honest thinking of the book.
There’s Something About You by Yashodhara Lal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Figures are dancing in front of her eyes-fearsome figures! Some figures reminds her of her monthly rent of the apartment she lives in-some figures are of her living cost-one simple figure is the cost of petrol of the second hand car she had purchased…………….
But things were not as depressing as of now, barely some minutes ago. She is a pleasantly plump lady and pleasantly plump girls are jovial in nature-like her. And she is happy about her job-despite being a regular late bird. And only today her new boss-a substitute of Apollo on earth had called her to his office- obviously she can expect her new boss might have gone crazy over her after several months of joining the office and overlooking her for so long. Might be a hormonal effect-of her new musk based perfume-or might be her work skill that caught his attention!
But as soon he started to come to the subject-he has a reputation of weaving a magical spidery web on the simplest of subjects-she started to sweat in the comfort of the air-conditioned chamber. It has nothing to do with her splendor or skill-rather it is targeted on her late attendance skill. ‘Those nasty biometric things’-she was probably thinking. But it was only the tip of the iceberg-a prologue before he enters to the main subject. They are starting a new fashion and lifestyle site-for which they have hired fresh talents from the field of design. And creating a new structure means destroying-or in corporate jargon-rationalizing the existing structure. And well-you can imagine the rest…..
Everything went into a dizzy. What to do now?
‘There’s Something about You’ by Yashodhara Lal is a story of romance where the writer has shown rare courage to step out of conventional romance stories. It is a story where the romance has taken the back seat and the story has taken the driver’s seat. Already authoring two best sellers-in this novel Yoshodhara portrays the hope and aspiration-dejection and despair of a young girl called Trish-our pleasantly plump girl.
She is the next door girl-coming from a middle class socio economic background- living in the city of Mumbai-with her parents. Her mother talks a lot-and sometimes turns out to be irritating to the listener. And her dad- is in complete contrast with her mom. And now her relatively high paying job has vanished like a mirage-she has to chalk out her next course of action. But to her utter dismay-her mother is making her world still more difficult for her-with passing comments and discussing about her future with everyone around her possible. Yashodhara has created situations and conversations –which show her brilliant sense of humour-where smile is sure to come at the lips of the reader-even when the situation is apparently grave!
‘And now she was going to be out on the streets within a matter of months, with two senile parents to somehow care for. She imagined holding out a begging bowl, her father lying prone on a tattered sheet behind her, while her mother nagged her continuously from next to him ,’who will believe that someone so fat doesn’t gets food regularly? I’ve told you many times before to watch your weight. Even this begging business you’ve managed to mess up for us.’
Story has a flow of its own-a momentum of its own-more momentum than our protagonist when she runs for her life. But she has not run for her life-but imagine if she had to. After all she is now unemployed-and idle brain is devil’s workshop and all sorts of crazy ideas fill the brain when it has nothing to do. So she saved a drowning man. So she had accepted an offer for a part time job from one of her former colleagues for writing some itchy answerers to the queries of readers on anything (no, I am serious. It is ANYTHING) for their column. So she answered in a caustic way to their questions. So her ex colleague and friend (well-if you listen to their conversations then you will wonder who will need enemies if you have friend like these) got furious with her.
But they loved it. They mean the mango man of course-the readers of the newspaper. And so her status gets elevated-she get a permanent writing assignment from being a proxy writer in someone’s absence. She gets to see Zee-the chief editor of the newspaper (does not the name sounds like an Egyptian empress!), on the condition of being anonymous. After all everyone expects somebody rich and famous and gorgeous answering their queries-not somebody like Trish-hopelessly out of shape, hopelessly failure…….
Somebody is tracking her-like a Sherlock Holmes without any Watson. Somebody needs her help in resolving life problems. Somebody needs to talk to her face to face. And their first encounter was too heavy for that somebody-heavy in the literary sense-
‘She didn’t quite trust him, but she was confident she could pin him down again if it came to that. Of course, he might run away, but that would be no big deal, she had seen his face closely enough to identify him. With a grunt, she finally released her grip on his throat. She pushed her heavy off his, teetered a bit and finally managed to rise to her feet in an uncertain and rather undignified manner.’
At that point she wanted to get rid of him-but can she really? Or was it their first and the last meeting-or they met second, third, fourth…..and then lost count of it! After all trap of love is everywhere-anybody can easily get caught on it!
And what about her rather unconventional column? At some point of time she realizes that real people with real problem need real solution-and then she runs into a conflict. She is caught in a dilemma-will she solve their problem or meekly surrender to the need of the market. This conflict has imparted twist to the tale-giving it a very refreshing aroma.
Where the destiny will take the lady with the potential?
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