They say it takes just one visionary to see a change oriented towards the good and make it happen. If many such visionaries were there, then the country would develop. Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, which I read recently, spoke of many facets of our country that needed fixing. And today, a book that I started reading as a romance fiction actually turned out to be more of a contemplative, detailed look at some more things that need fixing.
Seeking Redemption, the debut offering of Dr. Madhu Vajpayee, brings to us the story of a strong willed girl named Meera. It is her journey, from her convocation day rehearsal to her family and friends, her first love and how that happened, her determination to do some good in the world and ultimately, her decisions on how to move forward in life. Though the blurb indicates it would be a love triangle sort of story, Seeking Redemption mostly hinges around the main protagonist Meera, with the two men Aman and Abhay weaving in and out.
What Madhu does well with this story is to highlight many factors that need change. She brings out facets like reservation. She talks about the more rigid mindset of an Indian family where the son is the apple of the mother’s eyes, and gets her support, and the main priority for the daughter is getting married and settling down in life. I liked Meera’s character… strong willed, generous and honest, and I liked GK Mishra’s character as well, to keep supporting his daughter and believing in her decisions. Overall, I felt there was importance to three characters (Meera, her father and Abhay), and these three characters were sketched well. There are some memorable lines present through the novel too, philosophy that the character believes in, and apt for that situation. The novel is a fast read, and can be finished in a day at most.
I think one aspect I find common with most self-published novels is the lack of editing. In some cases, it can be overlooked because the good points outweigh the bad ones, but to my dismay, this book had too much of editing issues. If Madhu looks at the first page, she may be able to see what I mean. Once Meera has been introduced in the first line, the second one needn’t start “Meera’s father”. Just “her father” would suffice. Similarly, when her mother is introduced, “her mother” is enough. To repeat the name too much in a short space feels very odd while reading. Another place where the editing jumps out is when Ahalya joins the conversation after Meera’s failed attempt at her post graduation exam. The dialogue misses the closing quotes, so it feels like just one continuous line. These are but two of the places in the book which has editing problems. Those aside, I think Madhu has tried to do too much in a short novel. In an attempt to bring out all those facets that need to be looked at seriously, and combine it with Meera’s life (and love life), the story ends up more muddled, and loses the emotion as it progresses. I don’t feel sympathy for Meera when Ahalya doesn’t support her in her time of sadness (though it might go well with her character), and at the last, what happens with her brother, that felt unnecessary (though it showed Meera’s character to stick with the right side). I’d have loved it if there was more of how Aman woos Meera, and how Abhay’s love for Meera develops. Without meeting much, and avoiding him often, Meera’s immediate acceptance of Aman’s proposal felt oddly out of place to me.
The story overall works to a certain extent to show a lot of things, and I feel this was Madhu’s original intent. To combine it with a love story didn’t quite work. It didn’t do justice to the love story, and ended up making the intent confusing perhaps.
IN A GIST:
Positives: Quick read, well sketched main characters, memorable dialogues, highlights important issues.
Negatives: Editing problems aplenty, tries to get a lot of details out and ends up confusing, very less of the love story in the book.
Title: Seeking Redemption
Author: Madhu Vajpayee
Genre: Romance Fiction
Publishers: Notion Press
Price: INR. 225
(26th Nov, 2013)