Well written and breezy
Girl from Fatehpur
Girl from Fatehpur is a well-written, breezy romance- perfect for a lazy evening or a quick holiday read. It is a conventional romance – love-misunderstanding-separation-reunion – told in an uncomplicated, unassuming style. The background straddles the world of old fashioned small town, Fatehpur and the changing vibrant cosmopolitan Mumbai. The heroine Sanjana, and her dilemmas, captures the tussle between the tradition and modernization that educated young women all over India face.
The plot is simple. Sanjana, trying to make up her mind about her colleague’s Krish’s marriage proposal, escapes to her hometown to attend her cousin’s wedding. There she meets the love of her childhood – Rajan- and it doesn’t take long for the attraction to deepen. But the friendship that had been progressing nicely against the wedding gossip and interfering families, is jolted by Krish’s arrival with the groom’s party. It is time for Sanjana and Rajan to come to a decision. There are no unexpected twists and turns and no villains in the love story (if you don’t count the sulking Krish who eventually behaves sensibly enough, at least at the end).
One of the things that make Girl from Fatehpur stand apart is the way the author captures the small town of India. The relationship between Sanjana and Rajan has all the elements of a neighborhood romance. Though the author seems to shy away from any physical intimacy between the leads, that itself creates a typical old world Indian feel-good romance. One can almost picture the narrow lanes, shops with merchandise overflowing on the footpaths, and an ever faithful Ambassador trying to negotiate through all this bustle to be eventually replaced by a Honda city. The wedding too is real, with family gossip following Sanjana, Rajan, and Krish, the watchful eyes of aunts and cousins, wedding bells ringing in their ears and the young lovers trying to steal moments of intimacy.
As real is the Sanjana’s world in Mumbai full of deadlines, plans, and office gossip. The two worlds encompass the paradox of Sanjana’s life. Though she is a modern and independent girl, she still wants the ring in the finger and a big fat traditional wedding. To give her due credit, she knows what she wants and even when in love, does not resort to tearful pining or giving in to the hero without the apology she considers due to her. That is what fascinates me in these new India based romance – most of the women are independent, sensible and strong willing to take a stance even though it is a traditional one. That is the urban Indian woman for you.
All in all a quick good read. Wonderfully captures the landscape of small town India.