Love in The Times of Sex

Review of Back Seat; Aditya Kripalani; Neurotic Ink 2008; pp 320

– Shana Susan Ninan

Aditya Kripalani’s debut work of fiction, Back Seat is as much the story of a person as it is of a city. Asawari Jog a.k.a Nikita is an out-of-work bar dancer, who’s forced to become a personal call girl for a month, hired  by Shashank, the wayward son of a film producer. From the eastern part of the country, Vijay comes to Mumbai leaving behind horrific memories and events. He’s employed by Shashank’s father, as driver and pick-up man for the son. Things go on fine… until Vijay falls in love with Nikita.

She, too, reciprocates the feeling. But how do they outsmart Shashank, who’s paid Nikita for a month to himself. They are left with no choice but to run away to a safer place. Or so they think. Life isn’t safe for the randi, no matter what or whom she chooses.

The well-paced plot takes you through the by-lanes and gullies of Mumbai’s townships and settlements, into swanky dance bars and luxury hotels, and into the lives of people from various strata of the society. As the author admits in the note at the start of the book, as we go through situations and processes in the story, we get a feeling that this is written by someone who’s been through it all – whether it’s a late night coffee or bhel puri snack in Mumbai streets, or enjoying the Queen’s Necklace from a nearby apartment balcony.

Aditya’s story is moving, sad, involving, and very much true. This story would ring true for most women forced into the flesh trade due to circumstances back home. The visual words the author uses transports the reader to the scene of the event. Fights, conflicts and scenes of emotions are depicted well, often making the reader feel she’s in the thick of things. Relationships are portrayed with vigour – be it the father-son duo fighting for approval and acceptance, or the friendship between and the empathy shown by Priyanka and Nikita, or the prey and silent predator relation between Shashank and his underworld friend.

The very use of vernacular expletives and phrases lend credibility to the plot. Dialogues are structured enough to allow for a smooth and easy read. A few typos here and there does mar the reading a bit, but they can be overlooked for the fact that the plot and characters are intriguing and interesting, at the same time.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (4 votes cast)
Love in The Times of Sex, 8.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 10:23 pm and is filed under Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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