Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

Review by Shwetha H S

The book opens with a very good quote of Calvin in the movie Ruby Sparks. From that quote, you can easily comprehend the theme of the story. I will not mention the quote here for the sake of the story. This story strengthens the general notions about relationships; one, long distance relationships seldom work and two, as humans we have a constant desire to be in a relationship. It will seem like the author is experimenting with parallel narration, but you will get to know later that he is not. The author describes the thought patterns of a needy mind very well. He writes “As time passed, Monty grew needier. He began to expect a relationship to develop from every conversation. But he did not have the confidence to approach anyone. As soon as he would share a little bit of himself in a conversation, he imagined that he had fallen in love and expected the other to be his girlfriend/boyfriend.” You might feel abandoned by the author at points like where he simply lets you assume that Virginia and Monty exchanged numbers without mentioning it in the narration. You will also wonder why and how Waqas sent his wedding invitation to Monty though they didn’t know each other. Or did Virginia forward the wedding invitation to Monty? At points like these you will yearn for some clarification from the author. The first chapter shows two different characters; Waqas, who is happy living a life under his father’s control and Virginia, who is free to follow her will. In the second chapter, you are made to understand that any decision not taken at the right time will make other’s life hell. Here the author also talks about pseudo social stigma, its effect on victims and their survival. And from there on the narration goes with the flow. The author tells you about the strange thoughts that can occupy your mind when you are lonely. Such thoughts will make you wonder about the difference between your reality and fantasy. You will start seeking assurance from people around you. When you reach the end of the story, you won’t believe it is indeed the end. Only then will you receive clarifications for your initial doubts in the story and narration. Yet, by the time you finish reading the last sentence, new questions might have risen, in a good way, and you will be demanding for a lot of explanation and closure. Narration is simple and not overloaded with adjectives intentionally to decorate or prolong the narration. Characterization is neat. It will definitely make a good read for you any day.