Book Review : One and a half wife — By Meghna Pant

A story so profound of a young Indian girl cursed to be the ‘One and a half wife’ whose life is sheltered by the institution of marriage and expected to ripen within that calyx; has been told with such audacity. Her journey from being a ‘Baby Buddha’ to an Indian immigrant then a de-horsey and finally a strong headed woman with a sense of self reliance keeps the readers busy.

Amara Malhotra, a girl instilled with thoughts and hopes of marriage and it being the prime and only goal in her life, her mother and father being extremely conservative even after living in the West gives a diverse view of the growing hypocrisy. The rejection of a sister, restriction towards making ‘white friends’ and the fear of failure in the US of A depresses her everyday until one day she finds herself married to a Millionaire, Prashant Roy. Her dreams, her aspirations remain short lived as he reveals his failure to love her back. A shattered and divorced Amara with parents who least acknowledge her presence returns to Shimla finding a new India with high rises and people wearing western clothes yet carrying the same conservative notions. A quest of knowing herself in new friends who inspire her to fight back and old parents who demand obedience. This book reveals the conflict between the old and new beliefs. It is a fight within to accept and move on.

Meghna Pant has effectively summarised all the characters and their behaviour towards everything happening around them. One line that will make every reader take a pause is “Women sided with men+Men sided with men=No one sided with women”, has been efficiently incorporated in the book. Overall, an interesting storyline that will connect in different manners to its readers.

—– Astha Vyas

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