It was Ashima Jain´s excellent review of the ´Revelations of an imperfect life´ which initially got me all perked up about the book. I have been a fan of Ashima Jain´s short fiction stories ever since I first laid my eyes on them and have been following her blogs since then.
While I was confident that the book would be good, I was still in for a major surprise. Because I had no idea that it would be THIS stupendously good.
Let´s dive in straight to the review, shall we!
Meet the characters
Tanaya Baruah or simply Tanu – The protagonist who is literally ´The Runaway Wife´
Nibir – Tanu´s plain vanilla husband who is trying to make sense of all the madness.
Deuta – Tanu´s father and my favourite character in the book.
Ma – The perfectly perfect and wise Mom of Tanu
Aita – Tanu´s sassy grandma
Nila – Tanu´s other half firebrand twin. Another personal favourite character of mine.
Pehi – Deuta´s sister or Tanu´s aunt
Divija – Nibir´s BFF
Kaushik – Tanu´s ex-boyfriend
Kamala Aamoi – Ma´s friend and Tanu´s gynaecologist
Dubori, Papia, Joon Ba, Andy and Pori – Tanu´s girl squad
Nobou Mami, Pahi and Das Jethai- Tanu´s Tezpur home neighbours
Tanaya Baruah or Tanu (as she is mostly referred to in the book) is a 33 year old married woman who decides to run away from her husband and life in Singapore to her family in her hometown. Despite the initial shock, her family provides her the much-needed safety net that she desperately seeks as she nurses her emotional state back to well-being. It´s yesterday once more for Tanu as she goes on a grand nostalgic ride recollecting her wonder years, catching up with long lost friends and places and bonding big time with her close knit family.
Does Tanaya find her emotional closure and meaning to her life´s existence? Does she cut her marital chord for good and go her own separate way or does she reconcile with her husband forms the suspense of the book?
The story is set against the backdrop of Tanu´s sleepy hometown Tezpur, Assam and intermittently time lapses into her times in Singapore and Vietnam.
´Revelations of an Imperfect Life´ is a run-of-the-mill story with minor twists and turns in the plot. But, where it shines spectacularly is in its beautiful narration. And when I say beautiful, I really mean beautiful! Sankhya sprinkles shimmering gold and silver pixie dust on every word that she pens. The book literally comes alive before your eyes with her artistic word wizardry. It could well be a tribute to the rustic beauty of Assam.
The beauty of this book lies in its honesty. As a reader, I could sense the honesty of the writer to please and delight her readers with a story that is warm, soulful and memorable.
For me, one of the biggest wins of the book was the portrayal of Tanu, the protagonist. It was raw, sensitive and moving. As a reader, I connected instantly with her. From the start when she was plotting to run away from Nibir to the forked middle to the final destination at the end. I rooted and prayed for her all along. Her emotional condition was subtly portrayed. Like in the midst of all the fun and reverie, Tanu´s listless thoughts and a straying teardrop convey her chronic state of depression like no other! My favourite scene in the book is where she finally bursts out by penning her state of depression so beautifully in her diary. Those words moved me so much that I really wanted to reach out to Tanu, give her a tight hug and tell her that everything would be okay. I was glad that her mother did that needful on my behalf. It was heartening to see so many cheerleaders rallying around Tanu irrespective of her final decision. I immensely enjoyed and could easily relate to the camaraderie among Tanu´s family, girlfriends and her romanticism with the past.
It´s a story that is written from a female perspective and I would strongly recommend this book to men so that they can appreciate and understand the female psyche well. Nibir, the husband´s character is a classic caricature of men who tend to their wives for granted.
However, the biggest shocker (in a good way) of the book is Sankhya Samhita who makes a ROARING debut! She roars with confidence, charm and intelligence. I tell you, it´s the confidence that blows you away. It´s rare to see authors who hit the bull´s eye with their debut. And, Sankhya Samhita has achieved that feat with a finesse and class par excellence.
Sankhya has picked a story that anyone can easily relate to and she narrates it in such a charming fashion where it is extremely hard not to fall prey and in love. The book is written with a balanced perspective and every little nuance is detailed. Every chapter and character written has meat to it and is delectable. Despite being a run-of-the-mill story, the book keeps you hooked from the start to the finish!
Sankhya Samhita arrives with oodles of style and substance to boot with this debut.
C´Mon, do you even need me to say that I totally recommend this engrossing, charming and beautiful read? Is that even a question!