This book by Preethi Nair is something I'd been meaning to read for years, and I finally got around to it. It is the story of a mother who is left to bring up her two young children by herself and struggles at her task. It is also the story of a daughter caught in the turmoil of all kinds of family drama and romance.
The mother's life resembles a Phoenix rising from the ashes, more than once. The daughter has her own struggle to deal with and her own difficult decisions. All of it is set against the backdrop of the abundant variety of flavours found in Indian food. The food and the spices are described with a kind of passion that enables the reader to almost smell and taste them.
The story is very beautifully written and the fact that it alternates between the points of view of the mother and the daughter makes it a very complete and comprehensive narrative. It shows how two different people see the same situation differently, how they deal with the same pain differently, how misunderstandings disrupt the delicate balance of human relationships. It also demonstrates the well known but sometimes ignored fact that parents are always there for their children, even when the children doubt themselves or their parents, though sometimes the child's love for the parent may not be quite as unconditional.
This is a book that has all the colors and spices of life blended in just the right way, without being too light or too heavy a read.