I barely registered the rain or the fact that my dog had come and settled on the bed besides me as I read the book. I was lost in Kasauli. Ruchi Singh has a wonderful way of describing places that is more poetic than prose. I could see the mountains and the sun shining through the trees. I could smell the fresh air. As I said I was lost in the book from the first page itself.
The characters are portrayed brilliantly. I half expected them to come right out of the pages and talk to me. Not just Zayd and Ashima but all the supporting characters as well. Each one of them exhibits a plethora of emotions that you can relate to and empathise with.
Ashima is a single mom… no, she is a single daughter in law, a single bhabhi as well, and the sole bread earner. Her weariness, her loneliness, the conventions that bind and hold her back, Her helpless acceptance of her responsibilities , her anguish of not knowing the fate of her husband who is missing in action in the Kargil war, the endless waiting, the flickering of hope against hope, are what make Jugnu a book that is a class apart.
Zayd, having faced death in all its gruesomeness at an early age, is mature beyond his years. He fights with his demons and forges his own identity. Out on parole all he wants is peace but finds someone who steals his heart instead.
Ruchi has brought out the discrimination faced by Muslims in India in the book, but she deals with it in a very matter of fact manner. She doesn’t make a hue and cry about it. I liked the fact that she doesn’t get preachy yet brings home her point.
I think this one definitely deserves 5 stars.
For a lovely read in the rains, pick it up from amazon here.