February 24, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'In pursuit of Ecstasy' by Sujata Parashar

  I had read and appreciated Sujata Parashar's first novel titled 'In pursuit of infidelity' which involved an ex-lover returning in the life of a married woman and the path, the lady takes from thereon. Sujata Parashar's second novel 'In pursuit of ecstasy' supposedly is a novel for the youth as the author maintains at the start. The story contains a wide mix of characters (both primary and secondary) and the experiences of the six main characters, their lives' ups and downs.
So now we have four teenagers (Aparajita or Aupora, Deepanita or Deep, Aniket and Siddharth or Sid) in their degree college who lie and hide things from their rich parents, who are either ministers or rich business folk. They view life with multi-layered glasses and have a lot of expectations not only from themselves but also from people around them and top-most on the list is to liberate themselves from family bonds and live their own life.
The parents of  these kids are busy in their own lives and either have no time for them or the past has distanced them from their children. 
Aupora's father who is a cabinet minister does not like his daughter participating in any kind of art, esp. the dance she fancies. Her mother though not as adamant supports her hubby in this aspect. Aupora finds herself coming closer to the domestic help but that does not stop her from lying continuously to find ways to enjoy her dream of becoming a choreographer and not an economist as her father wishes.
 Deepanita's father heads a company with help from her two elder brothers. Deep's parents want her to be married off once she is done with her college but she dreams of being an accountant in her father's firm. Deep also has a huge crush on Aniket, who along with Aupora forms their own little friend circle.
Siddharth has the image of a good guy gone bad once we come to know his life story. having lost his grandmother, who was the only person who loved him, he is torn between the constant busy schedule of his parents, esp. his father, who is a scholarly personality and is even invited to his college to lecture other students occasionally. Sid can't see eye to eye with Aupora due to some personal differences but ends up falling in love with her best friend, Deepanita.
 Aniket's father is the minister for art and cultural affairs and has a soft corner for Aupora like his son, who is totally smitten by her. Aniket is bugged by the fact that his mother always nags him and all his father does is talk about himself. And so he develops a drinking habit.
No, the story is not over yet. This was just the introduction and the author takes four long sections, each divided by several chapters to get this across. Though it could have been done a little briefly, the motive is well-intentional, to bring the story at a common platform.
And it does, once Ritesh and Sushanto, two brothers who have links with the underworld enter the scene. They are apparently under threat from Lord (not again please!) who is a dreaded don, to buck up their drug peddling business or crumble. Sushanto, who disguises as the dance teacher of the college uses the students to come out of his 'drug deficit' for supplying drugs to a 'rave party' in Shimla. And then everyone is caught red-handed by the police and what ensures is a court drama.
That's the actual gist of the book. The book is not that long, around 238 pages but still I felt the story could have been shortened in places, like introducing secondary characters when there isn't really a necessity. Scenes which could have been summarized end up occupying dialogues. A bit more of romance however, would have been welcome as some of the passages intending to do so are quite decent.
 The real action starts only when the introductions of all the character ends and that is the only major drawback I could find but the story progresses rapidly after that. With help from the introductions, then the author mingles them and creates delicate relationships between the teenagers. However, it is the ending that takes the limelight. From the prologue, you can sense something is coming but the author keeps you waiting till the end and then displays her cards. Sometimes it may end up sounding like a lesson in values and morals for some but it is important to understand the core of the issue and address it. Have we lost our children in the pursuit of worldly pleasure? Have we alienated them so much that they no longer trust their own family? The small speech towards the end by the two girls throws some light on these issues. The author has clearly set out her expectations from this book in the beginning and trust me, she hasn't done a poor job of it. Being from the social sector, I'm sure she might have encountered such issues a lot and it is this experience that shows in her writing. A breezy read that addresses some not so light issues. Give it a try. I give it a 3.5/5!

Get it from Infibeam.



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