I was on top of the world when this book was sent to me to review, cos this is a first for me. The anticipation to read the book was quite heady and delicious, like I was going to bite into a piece of a warm moist carrot cake 🙂
The Homing Pigeons is Sid Bahri’s debut novel. Shashi Tharoor’s quote is on the front cover which says,”….a remarkable novel by a first-time novelist of immense promise…” . I being a true Indian felt immediately sceptical. When I’m told that something is excellent, I start having my doubts. Anyway I plunged in and I confess that I lost track of time completely. I loved Sid’s style of writing. It’s very unlike the usual Indian author’s. There are less descriptions and explanations about the physical surroundings and more emphasis on the protagonists thoughts and actions. I’ve always felt that Indian authors write primarily for a Western audience and hence there’s so much of explanation about everything, which for an Indian reader gets slightly tedious. The Homing Pigeons is refreshingly different. It does not have extended families, depressed souls or poverty !
This is the story of Aditya and Radhika, set in 2008 the year of the recession which hit India and which sees such upheavals in their lives.
Story : “We meet Radhika a rich, young widow at her step daughter’s wedding. She’s waiting to fulfil her responsibilities and start afresh. The narrative alternates between Radhika’s and Aditya’s lives. We get our first glimpse of Aditya at a bar where he’s trying to drown his sorrows and frustrations stemming from a loveless marriage and unemployment. He ends up conversing with Divya who guides him into a new career and he moves to Delhi to pursue it further. In the meantime Radhika also shifts from Lucknow where she used to live with her husband, into her house in Delhi. The story moves between Radhika’s past and the present and suddenly we realise that these two people have many strands which bind them together.The choices that they make takes them away from each other but fate has other plans in store for them. Each trip to the past untangles the knots further and Aditya’s and Radhika’s lives start gradually moving towards each other”.
I liked -There’s not too much I can give away about the story since it would spoil your fun. It’s definitely a love story, but not the sentimental, mushy kind. There aren’t too many characters and yet the author managed to retain my interest. Aditya and Radhika are people that we would’ve met at some point in our lives. I liked the fact that I can identify with the people and situations. I’m a hard core romantic at heart and the intensity of their love took my breath away. The story moves forward seamlessly and I was swept along.
I disliked – I felt quite uncomfortable with Aditya’s career choice; I wonder why the author chose this particular profession. Maybe it’s my middle class mindset which constrained me, but I just couldn’t accept it. I also felt that the narrative tended to lag a bit towards the last part.
On the whole, The Homing Pigeons is a really good book. It’s the perfect book to curl up with because Sid Bahri captures our mind and we get caught up in the world of Aditya and Radhika.
I must thank Nimi Vashi and Srishti publishers for sending me this wonderful book to review.