The Homing Pigeons: A BOOK REVIEW
Book Title: The Homing Pigeons
Author: Sid Bahri
Publication: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
“That we will meet was a certainty. Our destinies are too intertwined to be away from each other for long. We had never imagined that it will ever be in this setting. She my client, in want of lust; I, the gigolo, short on love but willing to accede. We just stand there, looking at each other, not saying a word, even while the clock ticks on. If she were just another client, it would’ve cost her a huge fortune, for doing nothing, for saying nothing. We don’t make love, we don’t even have sex- we just hug each other for the void that time and we have created.”
The theme of this novel is ‘not all love stories are perfect but then, neither are people.’ I can’t but agree. In fact, there were two reasons why I chose to read this book. One, the above mentioned theme of the story and two, Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s comment about this novel, “ …a remarkable novel by a first-time novelist of immense promise….often exquisitely rendered….exceptional achievement that deserves all the plaudits it is sure to garner.”
The first thought was something like – Wow! If Shashi Tharoor could appreciate this novel then, there must be something in it!
And, something there definitely was in the book. I have read many novels over the past several years. I have a lot many plots floating in my brain too. But, never had I imagined the kind of plot that the author Sid Bahri has come up with in The Homing Pigeons.
Plot: Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy. Both don’t tell each other. They carry on with their lives. Over a period of time, one ends up becoming a male prostitute with an empty life, the other a rich widow with a meaningless existence. And finally they meet! But, do they meet to separate once again?
I, for one had never imagined that a man could opt for prostitution if he has been laid off from his job due to recession. Now, you might ask – so, a female prostitute would do? No! Definitely not but in this patriarchal society, we tend to hear more of women being forced into prostitution than men.
Agreed that there are many women – single, divorced, married and frustrated who wouldn’t mind a fling or two to satiate their sexual desires. But to engage the services of a young man for that? Maybe, I am permitting my personal ethics to intrude into this critical analysis of the novel. Maybe, I am old fashioned as far as my principles of survival are concerned. Maybe, my literary imagination is limited. No wonder, I can’t stretch it that far. But, if I was a man and I had a choice of either starving to death or surviving by selling my body then, what would I do?
Aditya, one of the main protagonists feel the same when he thinks, “Despite my hardest tries, my conscience refuses to die. Often, it throws up strange words that I don’t want to listen. Guilty, cheat, immoral and illegal it says. “
But then, just like the ostrich which digs its neck in the sand, Aditya does this, “Whenever these words sound in my ears, I turn on the music a little louder. It drowns out the sounds of the soul.”
The narrative is excellent with every chapter alternating between the two protagonists of the story – Aditya and Radhika. So, you get to know what each character feels from their points of view. The chapters are revealing, honest and practical.
So, do the main characters get together compensating for lost time and imprisoned love?
Do the homing pigeons get back to each other?
Do they get their redemption?
Read on to know. The ending is predictable but virtuously engaging…
Sid Bahri is a hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry. He is an entrepreneur and a happy writer. He is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. The Homing Pigeons is his debut novel.
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