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Indians don’t marry individuals – they marry families. What happens when the existing cultural  rift is sorely tested by criminal rituals?

‘Love forever@ Rajpath’ is a cross cultural love story between Shalu and Kartik. She’s modern, progressive, extrovert. He’s orthodox, shy, introvert. She’s Sindhi. He’s Bihari – and never the twain shall meet.

The duo have widely differing opinions on culture, diet habits, dowry and caste. However, whilst the couple iron out the wrinkles, trouble brews as soon as families get involved.

Shalu (autobiographical shades of the author?) an employee in Govt. organization and Kartik fall in love through a series of official tours, conversations and competitive exams.  Just when marital utopia awaits …disaster erupts from totally unexpected quarters.

Trapped between loyalty and love, Kartik reaches breakpoint as he finds himself dealing with near death, forced marriage and criminal litigation by his own fiancée. Her insistence on proceeding with the case is the last nail in their relationship’s coffin – or is it?

***

My Q to author: What is significance of Rajpath in the title?

Her answer: Setting of the story is the Govt organization. Since most offices in Delhi are located on Rajpath, hence it features prominently in title as both protagonists are in ministry.

My Q: Why did you choose ministry as occupation for the protagonists? Was it familiar ground for you or was it vital to the plot?

Her answer: I am also an Officer (She is Deputy Director of Govt. of India), so I had information on the posts’ nomenclature which was important to the story.

***

Personally, I thought making Shalu a Govt official ensured her active role in rebelling against the horrifying rituals. A layperson may not possess insiders’ knowledge or the legal knowhow to deal with her fiance’s abduction into enforced marriage. 

Cons: The crucial social stigma of Zabaria shaadi comes a tad late in the story. In consequence, much text is spent on the blossoming romance between 2 apparently mismatched people.

A possible twist could have been added, if ***SPOILER ALERT*** Kartik’s marriage was already solemnized by the time of his rescue.  It would have ensured a more challenging ethical, legal and social dilemma for the couple. ***SPOILER ENDS***

Pros: A hitherto undiscovered world of ministry officials and their inbuilt gender competition opens up. The forbidden topic of male slavery forms the crux of the plot. The language is simple and uncomplicated. Characters are human, flawed and believable. The cover pic is unpretentious, clean and evokes curiosity.

Collage

Pages: 220

Price: Rs 195/- (I got a free copy for review)

Publication: Shrishti

Genre: Fiction

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