Monday, May 07, 2018

I owed you one by Madhu Vajpayee

38223954No. of pages : 258
Publisher: Lifi Publications Pvt Ltd
Published on : January 2, 2018
Book links : Goodreads Amazon
Author links :  Goodreads Twitter

My thoughts

So many emotions. So many misunderstandings. So many hurt feelings. I owed you one is a book that made me judge lot of things in life like the way it is carried out. Are marriages really made in heaven? Is there any proof for that? This again raises another important question, is there any proofs of a heaven to start with? Why do people have belief in such things when there is no solid evidence?And by that, what do they mean? If they haven’t seen it, why do they say it? What it feels like to be in there? 

Can peace, happiness and good health be bought by marriage? Are all married couples satisfied with their union? If the previous marriage doesn’t work out, how sure are they that a second marriage or a third marriage will be fruitful?Is marriage a joke? Is a live-in relationship or an affair sounds better? How does it differ? Is freedom, the right answer? Will there not occur any difficulties or is it just the choice to leave anytime makes the relationship lively?

Another interesting topic in the book is communal riots. It’s strange when I think about it. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, etc. They call themselves. Was it written on the baby’s head or body that she or he is a Hindu or a Muslim by birth? If it is not written, what triggers these people follow these religions blindly? Does Hindu Gods and Muslim God told these so, so, so innocent people to fight, argue, kill or rape? What is the difference between a Hindu criminal and a Muslim criminal? What color blood does a Hindu and a Muslim have? How many years Hindus and Muslims are going to survive this world starting from their presence on earth? Why there is so much hate among the religions? Does one human, the other alien?

If we are all confident of dying, why does it matter we are from what religion. Are we going to take it with us to our grave and how will it help in the aftermath? What is the definition of a Hindu and a Muslim?  What makes the Hindus superior than the Muslims and vice versa. Is religion also a joke? These are ordinary questions. I can say more but this is a very sensitive topic (?????), I don’t want to continue as the most mature ones (?????) know the answer for all the queries that I am widely concerned about. Why am I talking about these two religions and relationships is because the story revolves aroud them.

The narration is told in first person, Dev Khanna. He is a chemical engineer by profession living in Melbourne. Unlike most fathers, his father was always distant and unloving.  He didn’t know why he remained that way until one day he grows up and enters college, he learns the reason through a third party who he befriends later. When the reality hits hard, the world around him comes crashing down, he gets angry but not able to confront his father he confronts his mother who acted all those years and protected him from the harsh truth.

The story happens in 20th century and most women’s thinking were traditional that time even if their husbands indulge in sexual immorality, controlled or assaulted them, showed indifference that they made adjustments or were told to make adjustments and were forced to stay in the marriage. Few who resisted this injustice were labelled by the society as bringing disgrace to all other women and their parental home. This goes for blameless husbands but men were considered to have freedom and options to move away from a relationship if they felt it doesn’t contribute to their personal or professional growth. 

Women were not given independence to opt for a career once they marry or even before they marry, those who did were questioned and so in fact, many companies had more male employees than female employees in India. Only the upper middle class and rich women were allowed to work yet they had limitations. Those days were different. Parents gave dowry to men not knowing why the men’s family were entitled to receive it, what was the need to buy and this continues today. Men are considered to be superior even when taking everything into account, the fact they rank No.1 in criminal activities. 

Female are vulnerable beings hence be submissive while men has to be dominating is a thought who created is not transparent. If truth be told, this is what makes these folk dominating personalities and somewhat proud in the society. Anyway, there are people who will disagree to this as there are men who have daughters and wives who they overjoyfully treat as princesses. I would ask these people, why crimes committed by men against women are not ceasing? Why are crimes by men high, women low?

The main protagonist Dev Khanna is too good to be true. As in my opinion, he doesn’t owe Saira anything for that matter but for the love and respect for his mother, he obliges. I do have a valid point to make. What kind of satisfaction, some persons have by making their spouse suffer uncontrollably for years by being in an affair? They must show some form of care or sympathy regardless of how and why for the sacrifice their spouses are making . Do they not know, their actions can be termed as psycho behavior?  

In this century which is the continuation of last century’s one of the messes, confused marriage,  the main problem married couples encounter are ego clashes and we see couples heading to courts for getting a divorce. Some people survive the relationship just for the sake of their children and keep quiet and be passive like Dev’s mother, I am asking, is marriage funny? What example are they setting to their children?Whatever it may be, marriage is always sacred, if both parties don’t understand each other and respect each other’s feelings, what for they are living?

I found Saira and Amar’s relationship to be senseless. If their parents didn’t agree to their relationship, they can live abroad in London or remain single instead of spoiling the lives of those who truly understands them and respects their feelings above their own. It was too much for me to take. In Muslim religion, it may be different (stressing restrictions), at the same time, Saira had the freedom to study in London. She could have made a wise decision. Does experiencing a different culture rubbed on her the wrong way?

Radhika and Dev’s love story was wonderful and full of meanings.  Then we have to agree, every beautiful love story faces the test of time. Mr. Goyal’s son’s fate was sad. His wife and his mother’s reaction was justifiable. When Dev told them the reason, why he owes Saira, I didn’t find it very convincing. In fact, from the very beginning I didn’t find it convincing and it was stupid. In my opinion, Dev is the kind of person who will help even a stranger. 

At least Saira is guilty. Why do a fair percentage of men always hide their emotions well by not telling how they are actually feeling, act strong and don't 'repent' for their actions? I have less experience with men and many novels potrayal of them were heroes or villains. Also I must agree, I have less experience with women so I would like to believe the author’s words as I feel there is truth in it. 

I have only few who I call trustworthy and good. My judgement about these people outside my clan are loosely after reading the characters mentioned in books.  Many of them were far from reality, irritating to say the least. Some men I have come across were cheap and indecent. From what I have learnt, they are the types who initiates baseless (useless) chats with girls and gives friend requests/follows them on social networks and requests their photo cowardly and are loud-mouthed. What's their goal?

Some girls and women are no different but what makes them tick with me is we are of the same gender and I don't encourage their habit of adding men (in many cases, it includes their own) who are bad influence. These women rejoice giving friend requests/follow or love talking to men offline/online who can be termed as, 'attractive' in rare cases 'shy' in today's society even if it leads no where which is pathetic. Who cultivated this thinking is a well-known answer (who else, it is men and men alone). 

A significant amount of young females have a learning disability, it's not the attractiveness or shyness that lasts, it's the goodness of one's character. These men are good men is a wrong assumption. They rape even a 100 year old lady. Certain men why they act shy around women needs careful consideration. Harmful and violent people who destroy the lives of others for their selfish purpose and desire need to be analysed and warned in a gentle manner. 

As a feminist, I wouldn’t want to understand men just keep a distance from them or observe them to check their real worth and at best, I pick the company of the mature, good natured and the wise owing to most criminals are men. Women this day are inspired by them and the news I hear are alarming. What kind of pleasure men and women have by chatting about things that are not productive?Why do they want to add more friends in networking sites when they haven't met plenty in person? Is it practical? Does likes, comments, tweets and shares are the answers? How are they benefitting from it? Do they not know they are wasting time instead they could concenterate on important matters like improving their quality of life and those close to them? I do add people in my social accounts if I feel the person definitely deserves to be known and liked. The author could have explored Zoya, Surya and Arif's character for readers perception.

Setting boundaries and letting people know what our limits are even in a friendship or love or family relationship is necessary as we can't trust anyone in this modern era as people can misuse us if we give the impression of being too easy which has the potential to turn unpleasant. Being an only child without much love from one of the parent is quite painful. If you learn the other parent is just filling that absence by fooling themselves thinking they will not allow their child to feel the emptiness of being deprived of father’s love is what I put in words as foolish.  

Being brought up in a rich environment, Dev could have chosen to remain in that status but he transfers his wealth to orphanage homes. It touches the heart and strikes the right chord with the readers. His yearning for a loving family especially a large one that brightened up his eyes after seeing his soul mate made me empathize with him but I wouldn't agree only such families gives contentment. 

When Indians reject religion, race, caste and status, they will be unburdened and enjoy life more. I do believe in God strongly not the kind of God many people have faith in. Bad deeds are done by people who have a worst version about God or don't believe in a supreme being at all. This world is not for the strong. It is for the meek and if we choose to be a good human we have to endure the pain created by people who are interested in complicating other's lives because of greediness, jealousy, lust, power, hate, etc. 

I got furious after reading the second half (Zoya's disappearance and communal riots) more than the first (Dev’s sad memories of childhood) . The fact, there is honesty in it and there are children like Zoya and Dev in some parts of this world. Let's pray this situation alters. I was guessing how he is going to find her without knowing anything about her or the problem in India as he has been in Australia for some time. The ending gives clarity as to why the title is, ‘I owed you one’ and why he made the right choice to help Saira, his father's mistress. The author’s language is simple and appealing. 

Put offs

Typographical errors and then the printing mistakes in some of the last few pages. It made it hard for me to read these pages and I just have to skip it as it is not readable.

My verdict

Should I or should I not recommend this book? I would definitely recommend it to people particularly who take religions seriously thus far and don't follow its preachings or put it to daily practice despite this fact proudly announce they are religious in style . Besides, you can learn about corruption, bribery and lethargic attitude of policemen and political leaders in our country. It is not discussed in detail. I hope those who are reading this are adults knowing the real India. If you are going to buy this book, do share me your thoughts immediately after reading it. 

Rating 3.5/5

Excerpt one

“Happy Birthday, Dev!” he said.

“Thanks! Thanks for remembering, daddy!”

There was a pause on the other side.

All of a sudden I was reminded of Ravi’s birthday parties and his father’s unconditional love and, also of my jealousy, my pain, and my tears, because of not getting same kind of warmth from my father on my big days.

This is the problem with the past. Even while not being there, it follows you like a shadow.
“May God give you a long life?” After a pause, he said, “ What would you like to have for a birthday, son?”

“Nothing daddy!” I replied.

Pause again. I waited for him to say something. He didn’t.

I could just hear his breath.

“ Thanks daddy for your wishes! Please take care of yourself! Will talk to you soon,” I said before disconnecting.

Excerpt two

Radhika hasn’t responded to my calls. Her stubbornness isn’t unusual but her reason for that is, I remember asking her once, ‘What can be worst thing that can happen to anyone?’ And promptly she responded, ‘Losing trust’.

“How can you be so precise, so sure of this” I asked.

“ You know what, trust is like giving someone key to your existence and believing they won’t destroy you. Trust is beyond rationale. Losing trust is like losing a part of you, forever.”

“ What about losing love?” I asked.

“ Love can be reclaimed. But not the trust. And that love might never be whole without trust.” She replied.

I fear she hasn’t lost her trust on me. I cannot afford to lose her. Not Radhika, who has given me a new lease of life. She made me believe in myself when I had stopped believing in me. I can deal with her stubbornness. I am ready for any punishment. I can wait for her anger to recede. I can wait for her to understand. I can wait for her, forever. But, I can’t let her go.

Disclaimer  I received the book in exchange for my honest review

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