I have finally finished ‘See Paris for me’ today and I am feeling very relieved. Before I share my views, lets take a sneak peek into this story about Sadhavi – a traditional, educated, dutiful wife of Raghav, a high ranking officer posted in Paris.
Sadhavi is a creative person, who finds herself trapped in household duties and struggles to find ways to express her creativity. A turning point comes in her life when she meets Kanav, a charismatic scholar.
Both Sadhavi and Kanav are attracted towards each other and their similar tastes in art and literature strengthens their bond. However, when Kanav proposes to Sadhavi, she finds herself in an awkward situation and tries to distance herself from him.
Her snub hurts Kanav and he moves on in life but for Sadhavi he proves to be an eternal infatuation. Even when he is not physically present, she feels he is close and sees him in every art, sculpture and even nature. The ravishing beauty of Paris torments the love lorn Sadhavi and she sees Paris only for the sake of Kanav. She tries to imagine as to how he would interpret a painting or extrapolate a leafless tree.
This absent presence of Kanav in her life is the focus of this novel. Will she be able to forget the unachievable and find solace in her home or not – sums up the entire storyline of this long winding and haphazard novel, that I stumbled upon a month ago.
Yes, reading the first novel by Priti Aisola, appraised by Vikas Swaroop of ‘Q & A’ Fame proved to be a humongous task for me. Its not that the novel is bulky or something, its hardly 289 pages long. But the narrative is so boring and the story so linear and unexciting, that many times, I wanted to leave it mid way. A story that could have been summed up in two pages was dragged for 200 plus and still, I feel that the story is incomplete, Sadhavi is as confused in the end, as she was in the beginning and so am I!
Add to this, the novelist has a very irritating habit of beginning an interesting mythological story and then leaving it incomplete, assuming that all her readers are well aware of the story she is talking about. The novel, at times, seems like the disarrayed entries of an amateur journal. The dreams of the protagonist seem too obscure and I could hardly relate them to her mental state or the storyline.
The only saving grace in this novel, is the beautiful lyrical language. Priti has a natural flair for poetry and she has described nature in choicest of words, making the beauty of Paris alive. And I could have enjoyed this excursion, if only ‘See Paris for me’ was a poem, instead of a novel! However, even the dewy fresh composition could not salvage the boring, one dimensional storyline and I am happy that I have finished this novel for good.
Book : See Paris For Me
Author : Priti Aisola
Published by : Penguin Books India
Edition : 2009(Paperback)
No. of Pages : 289
Price : Rs. 299/-