BOOK REVIEW OF “THE JASMINE BLOOM” WRITTEN BY RAJAT NARULA


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Book Title: The Jasmine Bloom

Author: Rajat Narula

Total Number of Pages: 232

Publisher: Sristhi Publishers

Publication Date: 1 October 2017

Language: English

Genre: Fiction / Romance

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Sameer Chadha is in a mid-life crisis – unhappy with everything around him, even his name. His corporate career is languishing and he is increasingly alienated from his family. His wife Kavita, a part-time poet and a full-time mother, lives more in the past than the present.

When their lives collide with that of Ritu, a younger woman coping with an abusive husband and an autistic son, a chain of events gets triggered that puts all their lives into a tailspin.

The Jasmine Bloom is a story of love, lust, ruin and resurrection. It is a commentary on the fragility of modern family life; of terrible secrets and shocking choices. However, at its core, it is the tale of a
man learning to be happy in the here and now.

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REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY

The key to an healthy relationship is communication. When you don’t talk with your partner, have a proper conversation, the relationship is bound to fall apart at some time in some way. Even after spending 18 years with your partner, you DO need to show that you care for her/him. There’s no need for saying ‘I love you’ a dozen times. Talking about regular things over dinner and showing that you still care for her/him…that you haven’t taken him/her for granted is enough. If you are in a family, you need to have conversations with your children too otherwise how will you form a strong bond with them? Working non-stop, making money and financially supporting the family isn’t enough, you have to LOVE your family and have to SHOW that you do. Okay, enough of me being a relationship expert! But, today’s book, The Jasmine Bloom talks about these issues that could severely hamper family relationships.


Read my previous review of “Men and Dreams in Dhauladhar” by Shibu C. Kochery


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I always love to read books where the content deals with relationships, shows the complexities and reveals the human emotions that goes into the making of complex characters. Some books talk about friends who turn into lovers, others discuss about toxic love, and some deals with relationships that start to fall apart with time. The Jasmine Bloom somewhere falls into the latter category. You know, when a person falls out of love and seeks comfort somewhere else? Erm…heat of the moment, anyone? This is where infidelity comes into the scene.

Sameer, the protagonist, is a family man, with two daughters, Tania and Pari, and his wife Kavita. Neither is he happy with his job nor does he feel understood by his family, detached emotionally from his family and unsatisfied with his position at job, Sameer Chadha is stuck. He even winces at his last name. Sameer is one complex character. I felt it right from the beginning. He is all busy pretending don’t-worry-about-me-I-am-fine when he is not. He goes quieter day by day and the conversations exchanged between him and Kavita are only limited to monosyllables. I could really FEEL his character and I would say that his emotions and what went on in his brain, it was all there in the book, described so well. When it came to his corporate office life, I actually went on to commiserate with him. Like really, all his friends started from the same point and then he is the only one who is left behind, the whole office drama where Kartik purposefully tries to put him in a bad position…I could really sympathize with his character. He doesn’t feel respected in his workplace and has to see all these people who started late but went ahead of him.

“Whatever. I’m here and I’m screwed.”

In his family, his teenage daughter Tania doesn’t want to talk to him because she says that he hadn’t been interested to know what went on in her life before then why now? Kavita, on the other hand is too busy comparing the past and the present, of how the good old times were better than now. The only person who looks up to him and connects with him is Pari, he is a hero in her eyes. What does a lonely, isolated, unsatisfied man do?

Enters Ritu, a younger woman who works in the same office as Sameer is going through a tough time. She has to cope with a cheating and an abusive husband. When these two lost souls comes the together, they build a world of their own forgetting that they have to return to the reality and that the bubble is going to burst soon. This part really irked me. I get it that they were going through tough times but cheating on their partners wasn’t right. Bad move on both of their part. Sameer is drowning with guilt; he is thee present with his family but on the inside he is regretting what he did and how he ended up down the adultery lane. All these conflicting emotions were described really well. But, sorry Sameer, I couldn’t sympathize with you on this. I wanted to knock some sense into his head.

I was really sad that one of the important characters died. I just didn’t see that coming. It was so sudden. I didn’t expect something like that to happen. I don’t cry easily but that scene made me shed some tears. This book is seriously high on emotions. I wonder if the author has written from his personal experience or is it completely fiction. From the beginning to the end, everything felt so real.

I loved the characters and how well their emotions were portrayed. Overall, the plot is simple, it is the emotions that built the story. I could actually step into the shoes of the characters and feel them. How often do you get that? I loved how the narration flowed so easily. Everything was so well put together.

The characters are so complex that you can’t even blame them for what they are doing because in the end all they want in their life is to be happy. Readers are bound to be perplexed; at times they will feel happy for them and the next moment they will be angry and the next moment they would be tearing up.

I don’t have much complains with the book. There are a few grammatical errors but I am going to overlook them in this case. But, the thing which I felt is Kavita’s character could have been developed a bit more. She is shown to be indifferent on the outside. I wanted to seep into her brain and know what she really is thinking because I felt she had a lot to say but her character somewhere was overshadowed by the other characters.

MY FINAL VERDICT

I am very happy that I choose to read this book. I always love books where I could actually feel the characters and this was one such book. I would definitely recommend you to read this. This book sure does talk about the reality.

POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

P1Rajat Narula is a lead financial management specialist at The World Bank. He has published several poems and articles and won the Fairfax District award in USA for his poetry. He has worked and lived in India, Indonesia and USA.

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