Monday, January 6, 2014

The Homing Pigeons - Book Review

The Homing Pigeons
By Sid Bahri
Review By Ila Garg

The Homing Pigeons is a novel by the debutant writer Sid Bahri is published by Srishti Publishers. The book is decorated in the form of a very beautiful cover page. So many pigeon flying in the sky, indeed a simple yet captivating cover idea. The font used for the title of the book is in itself so compelling that one would pick up the book. The title is tempting too.

The author, Sid Bahri is
a hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry. Sid gave up a plush career in the outsourcing industry to follow his passions. Based out of Ranikhet, he is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. A self- proclaimed eccentric, he is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. Cooking stories, however, is his passion. This is his literary debut.

The blurb reads as, ‘In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.
When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it.

They say homing pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

Initial impressions of the book from the title, cover, and the tagline - "Not all love stories are perfect, but then, neither are people", on me were that it’s gonna be yet another love story. And yes it is a love story, but it is tackled quite intelligently giving a different flavor.

This is the story of two people, narrated by them alternatively in the different viewpoint chapters. Both come from a varied background; have different desires and longings, and ofcourse totally different sets of problems and hurdles.

The guy, Aditya, has just lost his job due to a recession in the industry and we find him in a bar, spending the last of his money on a drink. At the bar, he meets a woman, and from there onwards his life changes dramatically. We see a changed Aditya who takes the road less travelled to fight recession.

The girl, Radhika, is thirty one and has just lost her husband (second husband, as she divorced the first one) and we find her marrying off her stepdaughter and getting her claim to riches. There on, she starts to narrate her tale through nostalgia, and takes the readers into her past.

This story is about how circumstances makes you do things you never dreamt of and it is yet justifiable as every step you take is in sync with all other steps you have taken or forced upon in your life. It is about being perfect by being imperfect. Well it is about finding your desire and following it no matter how twisted it may seem to others. “Not all love stories are perfect, but then neither are people.”

As simple as it seems, the story doesn’t go straight. It goes more like a zig-zag pattern, sometimes coming to the present and then a flashback into the past. The story of the two, gripping at times and drab at others, then cross to a conclusion, just like homing pigeons.

Quoting lines from the book - “Her cell phone says that she is not reachable. I should be panicking, making phone calls to ascertain where she is; maybe, even make the drive to find out if she has abandoned me. I don’t. I know she will come back - for what are we but homing pigeons that have that innate, uncanny ability to find their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. She will come back.”

Sid has created a masterpiece. His characters, mainly Aditya and Radhika, grow in the course of the novel, not only in age but as real persons with their dreams, their regrets, their pasts and present, which keeps on bumping into each other. The author at first made the readers hate the protagonists and gradually the readers end up empathising with them, embracing their pain. This is indeed an ambitious task in itself, for which I would like to congratulate Sid Bahri.

Meanwhile, the readers are also kept engaged by the past revelations, Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the adoption, the abandonment, the separation and coming back together, the failed marriages, the sufferings, aloofness, and recession. So many sub plots are intertwined in a single plot.

The book is undoubtedly appealing. There can be various reasons, some of which I have already listed: the cover, the title, a different and interesting plot, etc. The book has sheer realism which is the USP according to me. The use of Homing Pigeons as a metaphor is justified and pleasant. The narrative skills of the author are indeed commendable.

The 318 page book is quite meaningful. I mainly loved the book because of the plot. The Homing Pigeons, is remarkably exalting, utterly transfixing roller coaster of emotions. It kept me hooked all the time, never breaking the pace. The language and pace is comfortable for all the readers.

The too many dilemmas of Aditya’s life is just one of the reasons you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens in The Homing Pigeons. It is not every day that you encounter a stranger like Divya, who turns your life upside down and changes your story!

To find out whether Aditya and Radhika meet or not, what is their future, whether they choose to follow their dreams in spite of the hurdles or resolve to give up and go by the destiny’s decision, how does recession affect Aditya, how Radhika faces the failed marriages and loneliness of her life; you will have to read the novel, The Homing Pigeons.

Few pointers: The author should have given a little more clarity in narrating the past events. Also, I felt somewhere Divya, Jasleen, Meera, and other sidelined character could have been given a little more space. I was eagerly waiting for the end, when I presumed a future for Aditya and Radhika, but I was a little disappointed as the climax was too quick. I wanted the end to be a little more elaborate, emotional, but it turned out to be very straight forward. (a reason why I am not giving it a 5 star!) Best wishes to the debut author, Sid Bahri, who dared to set a new trend in Indian writing. Awaiting his second novel.

Rating: 4.25/5

This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to Thanks Nimi Vashi for giving me the opportunity to read such a nice book!

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