Title- The Homing Pigeons
Author- Sid Bahri
Published by- Srishti Publishers
Price- Rs 150
"Not all love stories are perfect, but then, neither are people." - the tagline reads at the front cover of this exquisitely crafted tale of all things lovely and not so lovely. It also sums up the basic theme of the story and is a fresh change from the usual happy-go-lucky sort of stories. Written in the form of twin monologue, one from Aditya - the male protagonist and the other from Radhika- the female one, this novel keeps you hooked till the end so much so that you're almost sad when it comes to an end. The mood of the storyline is mostly melancholic as the protagonists suffer at the hands of not only destiny but due to their own foolish yet, humane errors. The dramatic juxtaposition of 'homing pigeons' who no matter what, return to their partners rings a bell with the reader and keeps hope alive.
The romance is complex and it almost stops being a love story at certain junctures. The end does get predictable as the protagonists take themselves on a collision course with not only each other but their respective fates as a gigolo and a childless rich widow. The characters fight with real problems and the conundrums before them sometimes leave them no choice but to be unfaithful. Love is a force and it binds them together but there are so many problems that pull them apart. This situations are real and the reader will identify with the story contrary to that in the romance novels featuring summer love or teenage romance.
One advice- if you're depressed about something and want to read something upbeat, do not pick this one up as it might end up leaving you distraught. If you do pick it up, make sure you read it till the end. The writing is powerful. The characters are very real and flawed which gave the author enough room to manoevre them around in the plot. The story keeps flashing from Lucknow to Chandigarh to Delhi and does embark on different timelines parallely which might confuse an unattentive reader.
The word selection and the language are a fresh change from the contemporary novels these days. The story's predictability is not a problem as the way it is presented is very novel and complex. It is a page turner for sure.
Priced at just Rs 150, it is full value for money and the good quality of paper and the nice readable font are a bonus. A few misspelled words here and there fail to bother you because of the powerful and well-knit writing. Here is looking forward to more from Sid's stable. Sid Bahri, the author is a hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in an executive industry. He is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. The Homing Pigeons is his debut novel.
Kudos to Srishti Publishers for bringing out this brave book dealing with themes like male prostitution, forced marriages, abandonment, pregnancy abortion, economic recession and other depressing topics. The underlying and undying thread of human emotions behind these issues has been well-captured and nicely dealt with.
The cover design has a turquiose, lavender sky filled with pigeons flying all around. It sets the philosophical and melancholic tune for the reader. All in all, a great read. My rating- 3 and half stars out of 5. The half star extra is for the original soundtrack that the book comes with. Check it out on Sid Bahri's website.