I am trying to keep up my promise to self by posting another book review this week. Last I reviewed the book “Sail- by James Patterson” and made a pact with my blog to post one every week. Two reasons behind it – A) Lately I have kind of lost the motivation to read books, this will help me finish at least one every week. and B) It will give me opportunity to blab about something other than food and British weather. Which by the way, has gone back to its usual self today. Cold and dark. I started again, sorry!
From the author of the best-selling Keep the Change comes a new novel about Delhi’s suburbia. Set in Gurgaon, the dazzling face of modernity in India, Intermission takes us into the lives of Varun and Gayatri Sarin, not-so-happily married corporate couple with a typically NRI problem: settling back in chaotic India after several years spent in an ordered existence in the First World. Varun is pleased to be back and running his own business; Gayatri yearns for her friends and her life in the US and dislikes the transparently divisive society she has been flung back into. From inquisitive in-laws and absconding staff to potholes and pigs on the roads, there is a new difficulty to be tackled every day. Not to mention a teenage son with raging hormones.
Then Varun meets Sweety, young mother – of – twins, who is living her dream of life in a nuclear family, and everything changes. For him, for Sweety, and insidiously, for everyone around them.
This book, like most of the other Indian fiction work, is based on complicated urban relationships and adultery. I have read so many of them by now to predict how its gonna end. This book was given to me by a friend who was clearing out her junk. So I didn’t have to pay for it, and am glad about that. The storyline is not that bad actually. It showcases the dilemmas of a modern couple who has lived in the US for 15 years and then come back to settle in Gurgaon, India. How they deal with the lifestyle change and how it drifts them apart from each other, it is quite interesting to read through.
The main protagonist of the story Varun, is a middle aged man who falls for a young and vibrant woman, Sweety. (Nothing new in that!) But he eventually comes very close to divorce his wife and marry Sweety. His journey to this stage is filled with lots of ups and downs and obviously doesn’t come in easy.
I liked the character of Sweety though, beautifully portrayed as naïve and innocent as a typical Middle class girl in India is. She gets married at young age and as happens in most of the arranged marriages in India, devotes her life to her husband and new family. Varun brings in new adventures in her life and she gets tempted for a life with him. Its interesting to see that transformation into her life and thought process.
Nirupama’s strength has been the very normal, very real characters she fleshes out, striking a chord with her readers. She has successfully evoked the conflicting thoughts of Varun’s wife Gayatri, regarding the modern outlook and traditional values. This fits in perfectly well in today’s scenario where the current generation is envisaging the global culture and trying to adapt accordingly, while still trying to stick to the roots.
There are a lot of clichés regarding the life in Delhi and Gurgaon. The conversation among the rich trophy wives was kind of boring and I skipped the paragraphs entirely. The narration is slow at times, and quickly moves to a speedy one on the next page. So I felt it is a bit out of sync.
I enjoyed reading the book, although it was predictive at most places. But then I would blame it to the other books of the Indian fiction genre where the ending is almost always the same. I can kind of relate to it at some levels, it being talking about Delhi/Gurgaon area and I could see myself living that sort of life maybe in a few years from now. So for me the connection was strong. A reader belonging to other parts of India might not feel the same while reading.
I would give this book 2 ½ stars out of 5.