Sunday, May 14, 2017

Love, loneliness and lingering

Reviewed by ASIF ANWAR ALIG 

A Blueprint for Love, by Chatura Rao, Bloomsbury Publishing India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, Year2016.

ome nine decades ago, the arrival of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, defined the true ascent of love, loneliness and lingering in the backdrop of Italian campaign of World War I. 

It had pleaded to overcome human agonies. While reading A Blueprint for Love by Chatura Rao, I digressed to similar feelings. Reverberating with human anguishes and hollowness in the relationships, this book portrays why mankind’s anarchies haven’t diminished yet.

Almost a century ago, Hemingway augured the scenario of a landscape of war-torn world, and expressed such anarchies through his fiction work. Meanwhile, A Blueprint for Love realizes today’s sufferings of the Gujarat carnage milieu besides an unfinished love story set in current context.

Blending the stories of love, defiance and communal disharmonies of today’s India metamorphosed into human sycophancies, Rao’s novel asserts unique manifestation—of love lost, of human identities and relationships when Indian mindset is conspicuous through fast changes at the heights of mayhem. 

From the communal disharmonies to religious chauvinism, this book questions such pandemonium in Indian identities to human barbarism which demonize moral values and at the same juncture perish love.

Unlike other love-themed fictions, this novel engages readers with diversified plot and scenes thoroughly scripted as metaphors of realities which humans face. It beautifully crisscrosses from present to past to also highlighting human loneliness and shillyshallying of characters with the towering creative instinct.

Montage of scenes projected through characters portrays happy childhoods to anguished adolescents. Balancing scenes of unnerving rustic serenity with an urban chaos, the feelings and emotional experiences are meticulously presented. What makes the novel appealing is justice for the characters, locale and the projections to provide the readers with a feel of love, edginess and newer kind of segregation. They have been highlighted in the social paradigm.   

A must read for Indian fiction lovers, A Blueprint for Love takes the readers to various locations—scenes from Pune to Himalayan foothills, Mumbai to Gandhinagar and Baroda to Delhi, to experience it how relationships entice through egos for extempore sufferings. Its storyline sinuously appeal to the readers to know the places where the characters move. It balances the expressions of loveliness, personal sufferings, lifelessness, homelessness and hopelessness to India’s political tragedies in an era while human sanctity is utterly devalued.  

Novel’s protagonist characters Suveer, Reva, and equally powerful Aboli—whom novelist presents in memory—is symbolic of love and passion. Other character, Tarun appearing in the backdrop to Suveer’s frequent travels to Gujarat on journalistic assignment finds the plot digresses to a different connotation. With the shifting of plot to Gandhinagar, novel narrates how home of a Muslim businessman in the Hindu-dominated neighborhood becomes bone of contention in modern progressive India.

The stories of sufferings, especially that of Muslim woman being molested by the Hindu rioters and the tales of betrayals in the urban societies, symbolizes a very different kind of India. Incidents, such as Suveer doing his best to save the same Muslim woman, Mahnoor by even risking his life, to getting hospitalized and other related incidents are worth inspection.
That communal chauvinism was simply vested interest of a few selected people. It appealed in this context that in every scene of the novel that reflects either melancholy or failure to understand the emotional punch. They thus, truly define the blueprint of love—whether platonic or passionate.

Suveer is at crossroads in his life but other character, Reva barely overcomes her own share of sufferings. Love redefines itself in numerous paradoxes. Each character of this novel meticulously describes love as a longing. The empowered theme of this novel is while summer-filled romance has its place; some of the recognizable characters are groomed for bloodlust due to sectarian violence. They juxtapose social realities having been translated into fiction.

This novel concludes while a mob-molested Muslim character Mahnoor feels solace in her recuperation with a hilltop Hindu family host to revitalize for her willingness to lead life afresh. Her husband Zahyan though fails to overcome his share of trauma. Misguided by community’s political zealots—so called savors of him—he is fated to choose the downwards path of hatred and thus fails to enjoy normal life.

Rao’s novel is a welcome addition, and an engaging read. 

This review article was first published in Ceylon Today, May 14, 2017 edition.

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