Book Review: Fate, Fraud and A Friday Wedding

You usually pick up a book to read because you heard a good word about it from a reader friend, or you chanced upon a good review or simply browsing for a book, you read the back cover and were intrigued to know more.
My reasons for picking up this book is something you surely can’t beat!

A chance encounter with the author Bavna Rai in a networking event right at my workplace made me rush home and download it on my kindle for weekend reading. Now being a blogger and aspiring writer, nothing gives you more joy than meeting someone who shares the same passion. Unfortunately I have never met a single soul who has remotely anything to do with blogging or writing in my workplace though I have worked for some of the biggest names in the Investment Banking World. Imagine how euphoric I was to receive an invitation for a networking event with 2 senior women leaders and I see that one of them is passionate about writing and has authored a book.

Listening to Bhavna’s candid thoughts in the session, I was certain that a book written by her is sure going to be an interesting read.

I am a great fiction fan and of late to balance out my reading with my writing time, giving more weightage to the latter I have been going for light reads and am quite enjoying stuff written by Indian authors.

This is Bhavna’s debut novel though it never feels like a novice job. The start of the novel is action packed, full of moments that leave you tense and somewhere confused. I was struggling to try and find the connection between the different characters but as the story unfolds, the pieces fall in place, gradually like fitting together a jig saw puzzle.

The story revolves around the IT and outsourcing industry in an era when the boom had just begun. It takes you through the lives of the affluent in Delhi where everything seems perfect but you look below the surface and you know its not.

 It talks about falling in love when the world seems so magical and then it plunges you into heartbreak, regrets, moving on in life but somewhere the fragrance of the first love lingers on.

 It talks about relationships in the real world where people live in, move countries to be with their beloved, hope for acceptance and one fine day when everything seems to be in place, love just fizzles out. Though it makes you feel dejected at times, and it did make my heart go out for Jenna Anderson who really did so much for her beau Neel and it made me seethe with anger as it looked like betrayal on the part of Neel- but after a while I could appreciate what the author was trying to depict- she was talking about real life. I applaud her for not painting a rosy picture and showing people in true colors which makes the book so relatable.

The book talks about hope and ambition and what that can do-coupled with dedication and the ability to work hard to achieve your dreams. You can’t help but almost fall in love with Anand Sharma as you see his meteoric rise from a small town boy to  a billionaire  entrepreneur in United States.

And then there is Tara Mehra who is the right concoction of beauty, brains and wealth. Being a Leo I am probably being biased to her. You cant help but have a love hate relationship with her as you shake your head unable to fathom why she did a particular thing and ruined a perfect life, but the next moment you understand where she came from. There are no perfect answers and a perfect life, is there? We all make decisions, some of which work out, some we regret in hindsight but move on we must. Tara shows us this view of life and you cheer for her when she finds her soulmate after all the regrets of her past and truly moves on.

It also brings out the culture, traditions, sometimes silly beliefs and concept of arranged marriages in India. The vibrance of an extravagant Panju wedding, Diwali house party, the streets of India which are full of people but turn ominous at the crack of dawn when a lady is attacked by goons- it paints the real India and you are drawn to it.
The story is gripping for sure as I could find myself distracted when I had to put it down for as much as I loved I wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting as the toddler woke up! And the rest is history!

The intertwining of fate of the characters as the book moves between different stages of their life and the part about fraud as it slowly builds up the suspense and you are almost on the verge of your seat to find out who did it and why- keep you in tenterhooks. And you have the great Indian wedding in the midst of this to keep you engrossed. The characters are well defined and you relate to them – because they are not all black and white, but have shades of grey just like all of us.

The climax is just perfect- it is far from a happily ever after for all but each one finds his peace.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I really hope to read more by Bhavna.

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