Showing posts with label Realistic Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Realistic Fiction. Show all posts
March 17, 2013

A Multicultural Romance in the Making - A Review

Love Comes Later -  Mohanlakshmi Rajkumar
Publishers - Amazon
Genre - Contemporary - romance - realistic fiction - women's fiction
Novel - Ebook - 262  Pages
Price: Price $ 0.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store


Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love. 

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.

A contemporary romance with elements of realistic fiction. The story has a strong Qatari flavour blended with South Asian and offers a tantalising view of student life in London as a bonus.
A refreshing tale of love and friendship that overcomes cultural, religious and racial barriers. It starts out in the plush interiors of an affluent family in oil money endowed Qatar, seeking the remarriage of a widowed, still grieving son Abdulla who wants anything but that. The culture is primarily seen from the eyes of Abdulla and Hind, and later on through Sangita - Hind's Indian American room-mate and friend. It's their reluctance to follow traditions, and Hind's impulsive demonstration of independence and adventure that sets off Abdulla's and Sangita's worlds into a collision course of first, tentative friendship and later on love.

The characters and the situations have been created skilfully and their interaction comes off as real as possible. The author has tried hard to give an accurate picture of Qatari life and attitudes, specially towards South Asians who form the blue collar workforce without sounding preachy or condescending.

Abdulla, a strong character, comes across as inflexible a couple of times but redeems himself as a modern, religious Muslim. I really enjoyed his opening up to the world around, specially to Sangita and his adopted sister Luluwa.
 Hind - a tad selfish and Sangita are well etched, and I found myself amused when the Indian girl who advises her friend to play safe goes on her own adventure, risking everything.
The secondary characters of Luluwa and Hind's sister Noor, often two extremes were ones I found interesting. While I loved Sangita's brother - idealistic but lovable character Ravi, it was Grandfather Jassim and Hind's father - uncle Saod who were a revelation in sharp contrast to the other elders in the family.

Now for the nit picking -
In my opinion, Abdulla and Sangita's romance did not have the time to develop enough for her to burn all the kind of ends up as an arranged marriage. But, then, they didn't fall in love at first sight and the author, to my delight, refrained from gushing descriptions of the protagonists beauty. A plus.
The Indians in the book, Sangita's parents came close to being caricatures.

The timeline was a bit confusing in some places.  A couple of dialogues were responses to an original action or comment that had been edited out. A revision if possible would enhance the book.

All in all, it was a pleasurable read and one of few romances I have truly enjoyed reading lately.
The book is well written, flows smoothly and the use of Arabic words in the story and the end notes are a nice addition.

I recommend this book to romance lovers, to those who enjoy realistic fiction set in the Asian and Arab world with ethnic characters, to generally anyone looking for a good book to immerse in.

I give this a 4 rating for simply being a good old fashioned romance story and a multicultural book.

Personal Disclaimer: This book was received for the purpose of review, hence the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blog review forum.
August 10, 2012

A Coincidence?

Time for another round of  RFW - Romatic Friday Writers

Challenge 42- I need a change.

I wandered into the balcony tempted by the cool breeze and the tantalising view of the golden sands. Sips of the invigorating cup of spiced tea while listening to the melody of the small town rousing itself from sleep formed my daily routine. I enjoyed hearing the slapping sounds of pigeons from adjacent cottages and the clanging horn of children’s bicycles as they passed by.
Peace proved elusive today and the noise grated on my nerves. This trip hadn’t turned out as well as I hoped, even my daughter’s imminent arrival from London failed to cheer me up.
His indifference hurts. It went back decades and I am used to it. Why did it nag me now?
Sundar is a liberal man, but his modernity extends to the children alone. For me, he is the husband cast in the mould of my father and grandfather before him. Disciplined men yet rigid in their set ways. My husband is in Singapore trying to solicit new customers for our knit wear factory.
 The textile industry has taken a hit given the global slowdown. With the high labour turnover and the power crisis in our state we may have a white elephant on our hands. The workers won’t be getting a bigger bonus, if they received one.
I took another sip and let out a sigh. I had an easy life. I shouldn’t be complaining.
He had been more enthusiastic than me over our ladies club’s week long sojourn to Goa. Why didn’t he take me with him? As the chief merchandiser, I could scout their retail markets while he attended the trader’s meet. I hadn’t visited our office in a month. The three projects on hand were on schedule, and the juniors competent enough to oversee the day to day activities. They kept me in the loop with emails and calls.
“Anita, a package for you.” My childhood friend, Dina‘s voice filtered through. Who could it be?
“Go on, open it.” My friend seemed to be onto the secret. “It from him,” she whispered.
What an age to turn romantic. Was my college sweetheart returned to me? I almost tore open the envelope in my haste.
 The papers fluttered down from my hands. My friend raced against the wind to retrieve them.
I watched, as her light coloured cheeks turned crimson. “Bastard,” was all I heard before my head hit the floor.

 Wc 400
 FCA - full critique acceptable

* Do visit on the 12th  to catch J.C Martin's, author of recently released mystery thriller Oracle, interview...there is a  Giveaway with three prizes for 3 winners that runs till Sept 2. 
April 08, 2012

Time To Change - Tap the 'Humane' In Us?

She sat there sweating profusely, her temper matching the heat outside. Would this too turn out to be a failed attempt? The pressure from the officials had been mounting. New mouths to feed arrived at a steady pace every month, eating into her share of the allocated funds. Being the head of the orphanage was not a lucrative business any more. She was tired of pandering to the egos of higher ups and soliciting new clients for her husband's floundering real estate business at the same time. The dingy room saw less and less of her as days passed by.

 Rama Shankar* pushed his way through the wooden saloon doors, he didn't bother to knock. 
 If she hadn't been preoccupied, would have noticed the smug look that permeated his features these days. "The Pandeys called, Madamji."
"Again? Bringing her...Munni back?" Desperation reducing her voice to a hoarse croak.
"Who tells this poor man anything?" His voice always reminded her of grease scrapped from a steel plate.
 Must want to wash their hands off her. These religious, middle class ones are all the same, just empty talk. "What did you tell them?"
 "The usual, busy with inspection work." He seemed pleased with his lies. His eyes had a hazy quality to them. Had he been...? "How many times have I told you to stay off bhang during working hours?
"Do you want to lose this job too?"
With watering eyes, he quickly prostrated before her, "Have mercy on me, family man, my kids will starve to death." adding, "These kids are like my children, they need me."

He managed to convince her every time; she needed him to cover up her absence. She was about to give him another last warning when the noise outside distracted her. There was a flurry of running feet followed by steadier ones. Snippets of conversation in loud and soft voices could be heard. The rushing feet stopped at her door. Utter silence. The door swung wildly as burly policemen swooped into her space. 
 Two scared looking attendants along with a dozen children of different ages waited just outside the threshold. The Pandeys and a few other parents stood next to an important looking official. The collector and here? 
Munni? Why does she have a glum face?  Looking at the cowering ten year old who stood between her adoptive parents, a familiar sense of something amiss hit her. Something had happened, she was the one scared now. Putting on a brave face, hiding the tremor in her tone and turning to Baldev Singh, the inspector she recognised, "What is the meaning of this, Baldevji?"

Baldev turned to the collector who gave him an impatient nod.  He looked at her sadly. She was a decent woman and yet it had to be done. "Arrest warrants for you and this man here." pointing to the peon who was staring at Munni with a dazed look. 
"Arrest Warrant?" she repeated, bewildered.
"For the rape of Munni and four other minor girls adopted from the orphanage. There are also charges by some of the attendants," looking towards the door, "of being molested." 
"There must some mistake, surely, I would be aware of such happenings." 

"If you had been around and had bothered to notice the obvious signs." Pandeyji spoke for the first time. "We found blood stains on our daughter's clothes. She would't eat properly, woke up screaming every night, woudn't even let my brother hug her.
"One of my neighbours who is a child specialist felt that she had undergone recent trauma. A physical examination by an expert left us with no doubt. My daughter found the courage to tell us everything that happened to her here. So did the other girls." affectionately patting his daughter on her head. "Can we go home, daddy?" Munni asked softly.
"Come on, Baldev, take them into custody. We have to move the remaining children to a safer place, we haven't all day." The collector shook hands with the team and the parents before walking towards the other children.

* This is a work of fiction though it's based on ground reality. Names used are purely coincidental and bear no resemblance to those living or dead.

Children are our future, more so girls - the nurturers of such future...If protectors turn monsters, where do they go? Please love, protect and cherish them.

This post is written for the contest Stayfree-Time To Change on IndiBlogger

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