Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Window Seat - Book Review

A Window Seat
By Vishala Katta
Review By Ila Garg

A Window Seat, a novel by Vishala Katta, is published by Frog Books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd. The cover was the first thing I loved about the book. It’s been quite some time since I saw a cover so beautiful and yet meaningful. It represents a journey of mind and a journey via train – quite an apt cover for the plot of A Window Seat. You will agree with me more as you go on reading this book.

Vishala Katta writes about the untold stories that ordinary people carry on their shoulders. She finds extreme gleeful childlike pleasure in conversations with strangers and other creatures that choose to respond. Originally, an engineer, she set out to pursue her love for Communications at Mudra Institute of Communication, (MICA) Ahmedabad. She is currently residing in Delhi doing her daily corporate grind as a marketing and communications professional. While most of her day is spent on her seat at work, the rest of the time she is busy lecturing her better half about feminism and travelling to places with the sound of water.

The blurb reads as, “When a dying corporate professional escapes into a train to somewhere, he finds himself become a storyteller of old mythological tales. Tagging along is ten-year-old Hari who is looking for his parents he lost in the trains. Together their adventures lead them to debating with priests, dancing with eunuchs, sharing meals and conversing casually about death with random strangers. A runaway wife tags along with these annoying mavericks. Taking her first train she is all ready to be an actress. That night, what begins as a harmless conversation changes their fate completely. What makes them hold on to each other for longer? Do they find what they were looking for? What happens when they bump into each other few years later? But do all of them make it alive? A window seat is all about those conversations with strangers that seem to change you unknowingly.”

So, I will start by telling you all that why I started with this book. Because it’s different from the league of chicklets and other rom-coms that the Indian authors are writing these days. It seemed a substantial read since the beginning. I was glad to read the blurb that managed to make the book look promising. And as I turned pages after pages, engrossed in the story line, I was happy to find it different, unconventional. So finally, Indian authors are coming out of their shells!

The story revolves around Kuhu, a village girl with dreams of making it big in the Bollywood industry. Another character Stalin is a young corporate professional is seeking a miracle as he finds out that he has only few months to live. He takes up a journey and meets Hari there. Hari is a boy of about ten who is seeking his parents. He was lost on a platform, separated from his parents.

The author has sketched all the character beautifully, nowhere will the readers feel them to be exaggerated. Kuhu is depicted much more prominently though compared to Stalin and Hari, as she is the protagonist. She is shown as brave with her unconventional choices and decisions. Stalin is very random with his action and throughout the novel, he remains vague, though his motivations are clearly defined. Hari is just a supporting actor in the story who is there just for some interludes, else he remains passive.

The plot thus seems quite realistic and successfully portray deep and intricate emotions that we all have to deal with in the journey of desires and miracles. The language is simple and easy to comprehend. Nowhere will a reader feel any disconnect. It’s so well-written that once you pick up, you cannot keep it down without finishing it off. It took me a couple of hours to complete the book. I found it quite engaging. The subject is tackled beautifully by the skillful author. The theme of using a train journey can be seen metaphorically too. The day-and-a-half journey in the train changes the course of the lives of the characters. It brings out their ambitions and the desires which compelled them to take some difficult decisions.

Further, this 251-page book is a light read and overall a compelling book. It brings out the importance of choices in one’s life. How a poor rural bride who wants to make it big, who wants everything, and a rich city man who is questioning the very nature of materialism come to terms with their lives, how Stalin and Kuhu’s choices brought them closer to each other, how they both seek an understanding of life, how they dealt with the internal strife that kept building up inside them are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in A Window Seat.

As a debutant, Vishala Katta has nailed it. However, the author should be careful to avoid overusing words and bring a vivid description into play.

The book is highly recommended if you are looking for something different in the market full of romance.

Ratings: 4/5

Buying Links: Infibeam | Amazon | Flipkart | Sapna

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