After quite a while I finally got down to reading a novel all the way through. This one is called The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa. This is her debut work. It's a pretty accurate and realistic depiction of the life of people in various strata of society in smaller cities and towns in India. This one is set in Amritsar, about seven or eight years ago. You can tell the time frame from some of the little details, but it's hardly consequential. It could just as well have been set in the present.
In recent times, the contemporary Indian fiction that I happen to lay my hands on seems to have this way of not sticking to the traditional concept of a well-defined story with a beginning, a middle and an end. The other books I read which do that were not too much fun, but this one was. Well, maybe fun is not the right word here, but you get the drift.
This is actually a pretty serious book which talks of the nuances of everyday life in a city like Amritsar. Of the shallow lives that some people in the higher social strata live. The constant struggle that those less privileged have to undergo. The way some girls have to search for their own identity, while breaking away from conventional norms. Rupa Bajwa has described all of these with a fair amount of skill, with a lot of feeling. It's something that most of us can relate to having seen around us in our everyday lives. It doesn't have much thrill or romance or comedy in it, but it gives an insight into the everyday lives of people like those we see around us all the time.
On the whole, a fairly nice read. I'd rate it at about seven on ten. Do pick it up if you have the time.