Notwithstanding the candlelit marches and party manifestos, life for a woman in India seems to be on an unceasing downward spiral. If the papers report occasional incidents of kindness and warmth, the ever so frequent reports of crime against women put much of it to dust. Taking a cue from the pitiful present, Jyoti Arora (author of “Dream’s Sake”) pens down a tale of acceptance and transformation. Primarily told through the eyes of a strong female protagonist, Lemon Girl succeeds in being immensely topical and insightful. However, it trips somewhere along the path and falls short of living up to the scope it had presented.
Lemon Girl is the story of Nirvi and Arsh – individuals brought together by fate every now and then. That Nirvi has a painful past becomes apparent early in the story. She creates a dual identity to mend for what she has been repeatedly told was her fault. When Arsh, the one link to her former world, comes to live next door, Nirvi is tempted to give up this dual existence carved out of guilt. The result is expectation, temptation and regret, all rolled into one.
“When it’s time for you to fall in love, even a lemon can become the cause of it,” says Arsh.
What is interesting is the insight that Jyoti provides into characters which aren’t all white. The story is placed in a contemporary setting – we have a live-in relationship, house-parties, even a dose of the good old anti-corruption movement. To the author’s credit, the various elements blend in with each other very well. There are plenty of people in the tale, all well painted: a chauvinistic boyfriend, a sweet girl-next-door, orthodox parents, the rich knight with a troubled personal life. The reader travels through the city smoke to the hills beyond in an expert change of pace.
The big concern which spoils the experience lies in the editing. The book desperately needed a more watchful eye. Minor things like a misjudged word, an overlooked comma or a description gone overboard take away focus from the otherwise well intention-ed tale.
In her second book, Jyoti Arora takes us through an undercurrent of emotions and effectively conveys that not everything that goes wrong is our fault. If you are looking for some fresh reading from the Indian Fiction shelf, consider finding out why the book is called Lemon Girl. ;)
Price: INR 255/-
*The author sent along a review copy to Saddi Delhi. Check out the “Write to Me” section for our Book Reviews policy.