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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: All And Nothing By Raksha Bharadia

When BlogAdda came up with this new concept in India of doing book review by bloggers, I signed up with much excitement. And the first book that I have received for review is Raksha Bharadia’s fiction novel ‘All And Nothing.’

Take a look at the opening paragraph:
‘Tina stood on the balcony of Pragya’s apartment waiting for the phone to ring. The old-fashioned black instrument was at an arm’s distance from where she stood, just inside the small, sparingly furnished living room. The sky outside was dark…seagulls, crows, pigeons flying above were just fleeting shadows. The notorious never-sleeping city seemed, at this early hour, uncannily asleep. Silence ruled in this otherwise so-noisy metropolis. But Tina’s heart was somersaulting.’

I mostly base my decision for purchasing a book based on the first page, the idea being that if the first page, or the first 2-3 pages at the most, can hold my attention, I will like the book, and most often than not this has worked to my advantage. The first paragraph of Raksha Bharadia’s book caught my attention and I did not put it down then. I liked the way the author described her surroundings and gave the reader a visual image of her words – I feel that is really necessary in a good book, that you can see the story play in front of your eyes even as you are reading. And Raksha’s book did just that.

The story revolves around the main protagonist Tina, who is young and married to her lover and successful carrer guy Aditya. Tina, who is a talented artist herself, gives up her ambitions after her marriage and devotes herself completely to her husband, who forms her whole world. But Aditya has a past that constantly shows up in their present, and no matter how much loving and doting she is, the cracks appear in their marriage, and there comes a time when Tina comes dangerously close to the point of no-return.

While Tina remains the main protagonist, the story also gives us glimpses into the marriage and love-life of four other close friends of Tina’s – Kriya, who is a successful, yet tormented fashion designer, Poorvi, a discontented socialist, Manas, a struggling copywriter who can’t let go of his lover who has now left him, and Upasna, a well-educated yet willing victim of domestic violence.

The novel unfolds to let us in in the complex relationships that all these people are encountering in their lives. As Tina is on the brink and about to lose it all, she makes one last effort and gets all her friends together at a quaint cottage in Mahabaleshwar, where, even in her absence, each of these individuals will fight their personal demons and their past, to try and attempt a fresh start.

The author’s style is contemporary, something the reader of today will identify with easily. The chapters are short and descriptive, and the author uses the technique of flitting between the past and the present.

Book Details: Paperback
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
No. of pages: 223

- Debolina Raja Gupta