STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

'Girls and the City' book is sweet hat-tip to women who venture into places outside their comfort zones

Things come to ahead one stormy evening when the heavens open up and the rains come down.

Published: 22nd November 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd November 2020 12:51 PM   |  A+A-

calm, spirituality, mindfullness, woman

For representational purposes

Express News Service

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar puts her character development skills upfront in this story of how three women, from Unnao/Mumbai/Chandigarh, try to hack a living in Bengaluru. By the time the racy, pacy tale winds down to its conclusion, the reader has had  a close look at Juhi Jha, Leela Lakshmi and ReshmaTalwar, understood their compulsions, needs, desires, what makes them tick.

Even though all the protagonists are well fleshed out, Juhi-from-Unnao is quite the most interesting of the trio. Quick on the uptake in more ways than one, yet to shed her small town gaucherie completely, in equal parts horrified and hooked by some of the sights the big city is showing her, Juhi is basically looking out for herself, doing everything it takes to survive and come up trumps.  Her past holds an extremely unsavoury secret but over the years, she has learned to subdue the recriminatory voice that pops up inside her head, pull a carapace of justification over it. 

Leela Lakshmi, the oddity of her surname explained by her jettisoning an abusive father’s name to take on the victim mother’s, is a feisty single mother who walks her talk in life, juggling all the balls she needs to keep aloft quite adeptly, never quite drowning even when the swell of her life sometimes seems overwhelming.  She is mother to a sweet little girl and anxious to keep her abusive former partner far away from his daughter. 

ReshmaTalwar is the straight bat character here, so to speak. She’s in Bangalore enjoying her life but missing her mother back home in Chandigarh. And it’s Reshma who starts a romance with KierenWarrior, a dishy male of Malayalee-Goan heritage. 

The supporting cast of characters are all quite interesting, too: Mrs Rao, the crotchety landlady with the golden heart; Alu, AlamKuttyThangal, Juhi’s techie nerd friend; Virat Mehta, Juhi’s sleaze-ball boss; Shantadurga the coconut seller who once saves Juhi from a demented attack by a flashing perv. 

Things come to ahead one stormy evening when the heavens open up and the rains come down. The city, with its dismayingly large number of large potholes dotting virtually every road alongside its indiscriminate felling of trees, is a sitting duck for disaster to strike every time a natural calamity occurs. 
And yes, disaster does strike; a death occurs and there is a probe on, to ascertain if it is a death by accident or a premeditated murder. 

The book  a smooth read except for a few cultural references that are off. Kieren would not call his Malayali father Appa, it’s more likely to be Achchan, if this New Yorker wanted to stick to tradition. He is also not very likely to be calling a ‘south Indian lungi’ a veshti or wearing one… it’s a mundu, the dhoti Mallu men wear. Juhi from Unnao dropping  a ‘siyappa’ in her everyday converse also sounds odd.  

Those points apart, the book is a sweet hat-tip to women who venture into places outside their comfort zones and do a damn good job of it, too. 



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp