By Chitralekha Paul
You truly can never tell what’s going on in a woman’s heart or mind. At times, she’d be a wreck, and quite upbeat the very next. At times, she’d be emotionally too weak, and at times the strongest one you’d ever meet. At times, she won’t be able to put her thoughts in to words, and at times she’ll go on till eternity burst. At times, she’d need your shoulder, your touch and a smile she can trust, and at times she’ll walk away at the first mention of a hug. This is what I gathered out of Chitralekha’s debut novel, Delayed Monsoon that peeps in to the world of a lonely housewife who finds solace in the virtual world, and has reality nabbing her again.
The main protagonist, Abhilasha leads quite a lonely life. Her college-going daughter and her ever busy husband (Nikhil) have only a few moments to spare for her. She yearns for love, affection and a bit of attention. And she thus finds herself being drawn to the internet. She makes a few friends –spanning different age groups and professions. She learns to move on in life and not brood over things she has no control over, or can’t really do much about. She learns about the different types of relationships that really exist in today’s world- from the long term (ever-lasting) sorts to the fleeting and momentarily satisfactory ones. Her traditional thinking at times receives a set-back only to revive and understand the age we are living in.
The book also spans different generations. I felt like this book had some sensitive issues, handled with much maturity and wisdom. Her life from childhood to present, with certain convictions and ideologies, penned in utmost simplistic yet effective manner. It is more of an encapsulation of events in her life. From moving to different cities, to her experiences with people and life around her, to making friends over the internet to falling in love with Arvind, all the phases in her life are penned in detail. Feels like she undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts. She learns about the different choices an individual is usually faced with in life, and how each choice shapes his/her destiny. Soon her sensitive nature and emotional needs are understood and filled up by Arvind.
The end brings in a bit of a surprise element, as some would say. But I did feel it coming. The feelings of all characters depicted here are quite identifiable and relatable to. The story is something you’d feel you’ve read earlier or known somehow. There were places where the author seemed to be preaching about relationships. Something most of us today, wouldn’t really want to read/hear from someone else. Also, the sub-plots too got me a bit confused as to what the actual story is about. Abhilasha’s dreams, aspirations, confusions, desires and bonding did make up for a good read. And like someone rightly pointed out, it does not merely reflect a woman’s quest for love or attentions, but a quest for a direction to her life.
The writing is simple yet quite in-depth. But at places it lacked pace. Bits of it felt like reading a monologue or a personal blog. Though the insights are quite touchy and grave, the overall feel of the book died out because of its length.
Overall, a good one-time read. If you have lots of time.
(Review by Sanjana Kapoor)