This is a moving story of human relationships, of ties of love that can bind and nurture, andsometimes, push away or stifle our dearest ones. The mightyBrahmaputra river flows by in the backdrop, nurturing the regions culture and people. This life-giving river can also bring floods and sorrow. Its duality is hinted at in beautifully-worded passages.
It is the 1980s and the state is in chaos ever since the All Assam Students Union took on the government on the issue of Bangladeshis being allowed not just to stay, but to vote.
The protests have the support of the public whodesire to fulfil what theboys had started; to make the government do its duty by expelling the illegal immigrants rather than arm them with voting and citizenship rights.
With this backdrop, the book tells the story of Rukmini who doesnt have an easy relationship with her parents, Usha and Tarun. In this charged political scenario,Rukminifalls in love with the wrong man.
A man who was not of her religion, let alone her caste, nor of her race, not from any region remotely near hers, and a man whose skin was dark... Usha predictably refuses to bless her daughter on her wedding day, whileher father and brother quietly support Rukminis marriage to Alex.
Rukmini leaves with him to her marital home in distant Bangalore. She remains a traitor to her mother for marrying an alien Malayalee.
Marriage to Alex and being in love changes Rukminis perceptions. But, the good times dont last and they part ways without acrimony.
The story turns to their daughter Loya, now 25, and with a mind of her own.
Without informing her mother, because she knows Rukmini will not give prior consent, Loya goes to Assam to pursue researchon the behaviour of wild elephants.
A deep urge drives Loya to break away from Rukmini and her post-divorce life and reconnect with the grandfather she has never known. Deliciously complex currents of love, longing, resentment, suspicion and forgiveness play out as Loya enters Taruns home unannounced.
Granddaughter and grandfather stalk each other like a pair of hungry lions, each with deep wounds needing healing. Usha has gone, leaving her legacy of coldness to Rukmini behind. Loya is moved to find every trace of Rukmini meticulously cleared from her parental home, as though she never existed. As she delves into this part of her mothers life, Loya forms a deeper understanding of Rukmini and of others who matter to her.
As the hostilities wane and glimmers of peace, love and forgiveness show, events take a tragic turn. Bombs blast and panicking crowds create havoc.
The mighty river welcomes its own into its fold. It takes away life, yet nurtures new shoots as life goes on. Rukmini returns home to her beloved river bank, to loss, sorrow, reconciliation, and perhaps, hope.
This is a story well told in a clear, confident voice. A worthwhile read, which leaves its impact long after the last page.
See original here:
Love that stifles... - Deccan Herald
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