11:48 PM

A Love’s Journey through poverty, cruelty and beauty

July 10, 2011

Jennifer Sebastian’s love journey is in the first impression no different from the ordeal of any other girl. It seems to be the story of a girl who has been bestowed with twin fault lines—poverty and beauty. Jennifer’s beauty is not her virtue but a liability in a cruel society where poor girls are better safe to be ugly. It seems the writer’s vast understanding of the dark realities of the world is always at the back of her mind and she is looking at this lecherous world through the Love’s Journey where the protagonist Jennifer is her eyes and ears.
The novel is not just the writer’s imaginative piece of fiction. It has shades of stark realities as well. It probably doesn’t even shake the collective conscience to see such exploitative and manipulative society for whom a beautiful young girl is just a female body. In our comfort zones we fail to introspect whether we are that cruel.
Caught up between poverty and survival, Jennifer can control her infatuation and love….but can the society control its perversion, lust and greed for exploitation? And it is here that a young determined yet vulnerable girl is finally forced to fall into the trap of compromises and cheap sex. But wait—before a conclusion is drawn there is more than what meets the eyes.
What makes the Love’s Journey worth reading is the fact that the story line seems to have been drawn from the real life. Rashmi Singh as a debutant writer has shown tremendous conviction in narrating the cruel face of society without getting judgmental or taking up advocacy. In her storyline she narrates how a Christian family being burnt alive has its after effects. It just reminds as to how religious fundamentalism had taken the life of a Christian missionary not so long ago in real life. The novel just reiterates the fact that it was not Jennifer’s mother alone who was raped and killed, rather the poor girl was left to be raped by society at large, throughout her life.
Similarly, when she narrates the murky world of bollywood and its exploitative ways, Jennifer just stands out as a mere character to showcase as to how cruel the world is to a lonely woman. It is the writer’s sarcasm, without actually spelling it out, which points to the fact that in the big bad world where innocence has no place, a hapless girl has to be either someone’s lady or the society will force her to be everyone’s bedfellow; if not literally than by sarcasm and every eyes will be raping her than comforting in hours of crisis.
Unlike many other novelists who get carried by their protagonists and characterization gets into either black or white, Rashmi Singh doesn’t fail to see that grey shades are there in the real world. Every sinner has a past and beasts too can have a soft side—a fact that Love’s Journey finds in some otherwise manipulative characters like the film director Shambhu Vasan. Jennifer finds a savior in a satan like him, and Rashmi Singh narrates a beautiful love story around this emotional connect called love; where there has been no burden of expectations and no sex. For a manipulative world, a love without sex may be a ridiculous notion; not for a sensitive writer who understands that true love stands above everything.
The character of Jennifer Sebastian seems to have taken up from the real life—both with its mystery and grey shade. Unlike many of the debutant writers who get carried by the protagonists, Rashmi Singh has not carried any such fancy ideas. This is what makes the character of Jennifer so real like. Like any other woman she is there often reading too much between the lines in the love showered over by Vasan. And it is her mean streak that in a fit of rage she tells Meeta Ma that her legendary director son was an impotent man. But then this character is so real; not a flowery make-believe who will not betray the trust of the man who made her what she was.
While reading Love’s Journey, it is often perplexing as to how narration of explicit love scenes have walked on the thin edge called eroticism. What is actually praiseworthy is the fact that she has consciously stayed away from getting into Shobha Dey zone, something that many newcomer writers overtly do for quick fame.
However, such writers often fail to portray a genuine female character like the Jennifer Sebastian. May be the feminine instinct in Rashmi Singh was always ahead of the writer’s instinct to do justice with the lead character. After all, only a woman with no undue baggage of advocacy can understand that howsoever successful a woman may be, she still needs an anchor, a male companion deep in her dreams. So did Jennifer, even though her journey was dictated by the destiny and went through poverty and cruelty.


rashmi singh said...

Ravi jee, I am sincerely overwhelmed to read the review! You have really understood what I have wanted to show... A woman's helplessness whether rich or poor... and sex plays a pivotal role in her life-because if she is good looking she is primarily pertained as an object sans heart!! Quick fame has never been on my mind, neither do i gofor complex narration. I want to touch aspects of life perceived as taboo but absolutely real in a lovely and not in a murky way! My world is a real one! THANKS A LOT FOR GIVING SUCH A WONDERFUL REVIEW.

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