The Homing Pigeons by Sid Bahri :: A review
“Not all love stories are perfect, but then, neither are people” an interesting quote on the cover page of the book, isn’t it ? I was curious on what this imperfect love story is going to be and having read all the 300+ pages believe and endorse that Sid Bahri has done a tremendous job in creating and narrating a love story with a difference.
Sid Bahri has taken a bold and a completely unconventional approach to build a story that has two pigeons that wander here-there-everywhere and battle emotions like love, lust, passion, greed, personal egos and endure bouts of grief and separation before they realize what they miss and settle down for life.
“Aditya” who lost his job to the great 2008-2009 recession has huge problems. He is jobless for a year, all his savings have evaporated, has been forced to sell his home & car to make the ends meet. As if adding to his woes, none of his job trials bear fruit which make his wife Jasleen think that her jobless,homeless& penniless husband is not sincere about his life and is practically wasting it consuming alcohol night after night.
On one of those fateful days as Aditya is about to finish his last penny on a drink at the bar in Chandigarh, a girl comes up, strikes a conversation with him, then buys him a drink or two and that conversation, that meeting changes his life altogether.
Around the same time, somewhere in Lucknow, a widow gets her step daughter married off, and is now forced to move out of the city . How does Radhika cope up with this change in her life. What plans does she have for the future?
What does fate have in store for both of them? what sort of past do they have and how is it going impact their future all these form the crux of this imperfect love story which the book narrates to us.
I would say that Sid Bahri was bold with the plot as some things he wrote might raise eyebrows of the viewers. I was shocked when I realized what the protagonist got into. To me, it was rather very very bold attempt to have the protagonist do such things in debut novel. It might be close to the reality but few traditionalists like me might not really agree with the protagonist’s acts and behavior. However, that’s an individual opinion. Do read the book and judge for yourself.
Coming to the style of writing, its easy to read and is a page turner. The way the story alternates between Radhika and Aditya and the way it alternates in the time is also good. The pace is very good at the beginning of the book but somewhere in the middle and end, the story slows down. However, that does not impact the readability of the book, one would enjoy it. The English is simple and easy to understand, occasionally studded with nice strong words. The very fact that I completed the entire 300+ page book in 5-6 hours speaks volumes about the ease with which one can read the book. Nice and joyful read.
Coming to areas where I thought the book could have been improved are
(i) The protagonist realizes the fact that something is wrong and changes gears in the end, but it happens too quickly, probably a little more space and time could have been devoted for that episode. To me this is important, because when a person reads the book it would be good if he knows the physical and mental stress few things leave on people. We never know the age group of the readers and spending a little more time the ill effects of few things might lift misconceptions from the minds of the people.
(ii) Though a reason was given for Radhika marrying a man quite elder to her, it was not elaborate onto why and how she gets into the wedlock there, probably a little more emphasis there would also help as it would make the book more complete.
I am saying these two things because I felt that the book is an easy read and 50 more pages or so would not have really burdened the reader and would have actually added great value to the book.
That apart it was a nice attempt, the emotions and the way people act as if they are spineless at situations were very well portrayed. We see people who run away when they actually have to stand up for the situation and that was shown nicely in the book. The scars unhappy marriages leave on people, the way riots and other untoward incidents change people’s perceptions are very well portrayed . The way fate plays games with people and their lives was very well shown. A great job done for a debut novel. All in all, a totally different way of looking at a love story. It breaks the monotony of the “regular boy meets girl— fall in love —face challenges— and live happy life there after” types and hence offers a completely different perspective to the person reading it. Do pick it up when you find time.
This book review is a part of “The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program”. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.