‘The Guardian Angels’ by Rohit Gore
Posted by wanderlustathome
When this sweet girl asked me whether I would like to review a book, my first reaction was, “why not? anything for a free book.” To be honest, I did not expect much and the book blurb seemed like a typical boy meets girl, in true Bollywood style,
…..he is the son of a billionaire,
she is the daughter of a socialist.
….he is quiet and unassuming,
she is firebrand and spirited.
After the first two chapters, it was as if my skepticism had been proven right. Aditya Mehta, son of multi billionaire industrialist Ketan Mehta, who lives in a twenty storied building in South Bombay. His mother , Naina Mehta is an equal partner in the business and is even suspected to be the real power. And if that was not enough, the wealth was amassed by his grandfather who started his life as an ordinary trader and rose to heights through apparently dubious means. Sounds very familiar, right?
This is when we meet Radha, like the quintessential breath of fresh air. The story is told through a flash back. Adi and Radha meet as 12 year olds, there is an instant connect and the bond is strengthened when Adi saves Radha’s life. The two share something special, it is as if however far they are physically, they seem to instantly know when one needs the other.
Life’s paths takes them through parallel roads, but the soul mates keep each other sane. Adi, who is shot back to crude reality after a dream that was shattered, joins his father’s business and as expected, shines brilliantly. Radha, with her haunting family ghost, goes into ‘activism’ and her revered Sudha-ji is obviously sketched after Medha Patkar. There is the resort that is being built by a goonda don by displacing tribals, there is the 500 km padayatra, and even a mention of fast unto death.
So what is so special about the book, isn’t it like a typical Bollywood masala flick, you ask? That is where this book differs from the dime a dozen chick-lit type best sellers that are being churned out these days. I loved the way each character was etched, the strength and weakness of each relationship was brought out beautifully by the author. It is as if you really know them, and you want to know what happens to them after each twist in the plot. I also liked the realistic manner in which the story was brought to end, no miracles , just the stark truth and an acceptance of what cannot be changed.
Whatever the story line maybe, even if you find it a little difficult to believe, if an author can make you reach back to the story after each time you put it down, that is when it becomes a success. You can clearly sense his passion for the protagonists and what they stand for. It is as if he know both of them personally and have lived their life with them. The differences in the parent -children connect at two levels of society was also brilliantly brought out without being preachy.
I was truly surprised that I hadn’t heard of Rohit Gore before this. My only wish after completing the book was if only he hadn’t built his characters on some well known figures in society, the similarities are so blatant. That somehow made an otherwise lovey tale a bit hollow. As also, the very smooth way things seems to have been taken care of. There were some editing errors that could have been avoided. For instance, ‘of course’ being spelt as ‘off course’ in at least two pages.
Verdict : Loved the characters, specially the firebrand Radha. A light, but gripping read, in spite of the somewhat artificial feeling plot, at least in places. But I loved the way his protagonists and their family relate to each other, that was realistic. Worth a read.