Monday, 5 January 2015

Gulab by Annie Zaidi: a review

Gulab… what do you think of when you hear of this word? A rose? A name of a person? In the midst of a black and white cover, the 5 lettered word written in dark red is sure to send shivers down the spine. What if I say that this book is about life and beyond? The book comes in hardcover and is a very hand-friendly book the quality of which is amazing. And all this features attracts the reader to the book. And the blurb makes the readers read the book that very instant.

According to the blurb- On a warm, muggy summer’s day. Nikunj is at the cemetery to attend Saira’s burial. Saira, the long-lost love he has been searching for, even though he is married to another woman now. But what are Usman and Parmod doing at her grave? Who are these women-Gulab, Mumtaz- that lay claim to her resting place? This is a love story. But what sort of relationship can you have with a dead person. What sort of future? Ghosts don’t grow old. Or have children. But do we really know? If they can reclaim a body for themselves, perhaps they can cover that body with stretch marks. In the afterlife, possibilities extend into infinity. Gulab tests the limits that our mind sets upon a ghost’s powers. If you see her as a woman clinging to life, there is not much to fear. Yet: what if she wants to return to your life? And what makes you think you can make her leave? Annie Zaidi brings her characteristically clear-eyed exploration of love to this beguiling, hair-raising ghost story.

The book, when I ended it left me with an unbelievable heavy heart and kept me thinking for a long time. The authoress grabs the reader’s heart from the very first page of the book and without much further ado goes straight into the novel. No, it’s not a novel; a novella as I should say it to be. The thought behind the story has been wonderfully put and it keeps the readers thinking.

Coming to the characters, the authoress has used very different characters inside the novella and each character has its own essence in the story. Nikunj Seth, Parmod, Usman and Rani along with Gulab, Mumtaz, Saira; the gravedigger also has distinct characters and that is very nicely put in the book. The mental condition every character is in has been described in a very thought enriching way.

The story was also a very enlightening one when one reads about the inner thoughts that the authoress has put with the story. Of Life and beyond! When people think that this is a horror story (as I thought before reading) I would be telling them that the book is much more than just the horror element. Throughout the book, the authoress gives the readers chills through their characters and they start even suspecting what’s going around the book and is that actually real.

By the end of the book, I am sure most readers will be blank, devoid of any expressions and they won’t even know how deep the book had left its impact on its readers. Coming to the hitches, I must say that even though the book was engaging, some set of readers might have to read certain parts twice before understanding what the authoress meant. Apart from that, a more engaging start could’ve given this book a level of its own. All in all, the book is 4.25 out of 5 for me. Waiting for more to come from the authoress!

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