My first and only book review till date.
The first thing that strikes about this book is the simplicity with which it is written, everyday incidents, regular folks and monotonous life are the key features of this book, not once does melodrama or brazen emotions creep in to destroy the subtle flow of narration.
Ameen Merchant dwells deeply into the minds of women and takes turns exploring the complex thoughts flitting through the minds of two young girls on the threshold of womanhood. It develops a delicate link between obligations to family, the realization of self and the childhood lost in the midst.
Set in the sleepy town of Sripuram, the story maneuvers itself through the lives of Janaki and Mallika as Janaki deals with her gifted talent of ‘veena’ to the tragic losses in her life – her mother and her bosom friend. She has to choose between the skeletons of her own family and her responsibility towards her younger sister and her one decision that changes life altogether for both of them whereas Mallika fights inner conflicts ranging from deep love for her sister to the deep scar received from her.
Apart from the story, what keeps the reader hooked to the book is the intact ethnic feel it has. The liberal use of ‘tamil’ words, the classical ‘carnatic ragas’ that depict each chapter, the rules of tradition, the bondages of the conservative Brahman society all intermingled with the relentless search for individuality comes out in the form of a story where silence is the most eloquent speech.