by Vibha Vyas
The prologue of the book suggests that it might just be a true story. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were! This book narrates a very compelling tale. Even if the incidents seem a tad extreme , they are definitely not unheard of. The first triumph of this book is its story. It is what we have experienced or heard in neighborhood gossip. It is what we have seen happen elsewhere , what is depicted as the background of the 80’s Bollywood movies. The story lays bare the practices we think ( or hope) are no longer a part of the society. The connection one feels to the story is a huge plus point.
The Sahni family are a set of survivors right from the grandmother who is virtually the head of the family. Her escape during the partition and the resultant communal hate are very natural and we applaud her for her determination. Until one sees her from the eyes of the daughter-in-law. Suddenly the blackness in her character is evident. Such is the case with most of the characters in the book. At many places it is up to the reader to judge the validity and sometimes even the sanity of their words and actions. The son who favors his mother , the vanity of girl’s beauty and the yearning to have a baby boy are all recurring themes in the book.
Even though you know the fate of the characters when you begin with the story , you will still be very curious to find out why things turned out to be what they were .How a well meaning , well-groomed huge family was brought to its knees by their own actions makes for a good read. It is definitely a page turner.
The story very clearly tells us that incidents are not a cause for distress but one’s perspective is what colors the significance of events happening around us. Cruel fate hits everybody and it hits the Sahni family too. But instead of accepting what they cannot change, the members end up dissatisfied and live in denial of facts. This causes a lot of friction between them and even “Biji”‘s little superstition that rain is a bad omen for the family. Hence the title of the book.
The author is an MBA graduate who is a fiction writer. She has done a reasonably good job of narrating this story. But sadly I have to point out that proper grammar and proper distinction between the passive and active voices would have made it an even more memorable book. The cover art is really drab and I could not even find a good picture to upload!
But I would still recommend you to read this story. It definitely holds your attention and gives you something to think about.
My rating 3*.