Torn between her unrelenting father and the man she loves, Piali Roy can take it no more. She’s sad that her loving father upholds his principles more than he cherishes her, his beloved daughter. She’s disappointed that her mother never takes her side and no one understands her. Neither can she marry Sathya against her father’s wishes, nor can she forget him. Eloping is out of question. She therefore decides to go away from everything she holds dear- away from her parents, away from the memories of love, away from the quaint township of Jamshedpur. She joins the Christ Church School in Mussoorie, willing to live a simple life, with minimal contact with everyone she knew and wishing Sathya would never find her. And then one day after several months of frantic search, Sathya finds her.
Piali Roy is a headstrong woman in her early twenties, belonging to a traditional Bengali family. She’s a very talented English teacher in a reputed school in Jamshedpur. She easily gets the respect and reverence she deserves from her students as well as her colleagues, for her teaching, leadership skills, and her ability to mesmerize on stage. She gets the most applauds for her orations. She’s in the profession by choice, not by compulsion; living her dream with complete support from her family.
Sathya Nair is the rich and corrupt school Chairmain’s charismatic son. His ideologies and beliefs are always in conflict with his father’s. Like every romantic novel’s lead, he’s a guy worth falling for. Thought to be spoon fed since childhood, he decides to show Piyush Roy, Piali’s father, that he can earn his own living and goes to Hyderabad to pursue animation, live his dream, finally.
This story raises many questions regarding traditional beliefs and intercommunity marriages. Why is it that the caste and community of the prospective groom matters so much, even if he’s the perfect match in every other respect? What are these- values of yesteryears, narrow minds in the twenty first century, or just inflated egos? Do some people agree to arrange marriages only to be able to blame their parents if anything goes awry in future?
The cover page of every Indireads novella is beautiful. This painting showing the hills, pleasing landscape and Love’s Labour is beautiful too. The author Andy Paula is a nuanced writer. I had loved her short story ‘Anjum’ in ‘Love Across Borders’. She uses more third person narration and less of dialogues; and I have grown a liking to this writing style. The settings in her stories mirror the emotions in the characters. The Steel city, Jamshedpur shows the normal life, steeped in traditional family values, and town gossips. Here the hills are the places where there’s a turning point in Piali’s life. The picturesque environment in Pangani is where Sathya Nair enters Piali’s life. The scenic locales of Mussoorie are where she finds her love back, at a time when it seems so impossible.
I would rate this novella 4/5 stars.