Book Title: Pal Motors
Author: Devraj Singh Kalsi
Total Number of Pages: 300
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Publication Date: 1 Jan 2017
Genre: Fiction / Drama
Devraj Singh Kalsi has woven an intricate tale of fortitude in the time of loss. The three protagonists of the story – Biji, Nasib and Preet – face the loss of the man in their lives with inherent strength. The equations between the three women change like a kaleidoscope with shift in power. Will these women act as a source of trouble or try and help each other to make a smooth transition? Will their paths cross and drift them further apart? Or will they cast away their bitterness and differences to make a fresh beginning? It is peppered with Punjabi phrases as the author loves his roots. The story is gleaned from everyday experience and punctuated with doses of humour. The flowing narrative is embellished with minute observations by Kalsi about people in all walks of life.
The story revolves around the lives of three women : Biji, Nadib and Preet. Their life takes a sudden turn when they loss the head of their family, Pal Singh to a heart attack. Pal Singh who was a son, husband and father caused quite a chaos in his family with his early demise contrary to what had been predicted by three leading astrologers. Once the funeral starts, Biji and Nadib starts a competition on who will exhibit their loss better.
Once the pyre has been lit and the ashes have been scattered in Hooghly, these three women have to face another difficult situation. Now that Pal Singh’s automobile shop has been stripped away from its owner, it becomes vulnerable to many potential buyers and people who try to take it away by unlawful means. Many even stress the family to sell it saying his shop will be wasted since there’s no one to look after it. In difficult times as this, the only way to protect their family heritage is for Biji, Nasib and Preet to stick together keeping their differences aside. Their age difference causes difference in their opinions. Biji and Nasib are apparently on a cold war, one trying to suppress their opinions on the other. Preet acts as a middle woman trying to reconcile and douse the simmering tension between them. It’s a battle of the egos. No one wants to lose. It is for Preet to dissolve their differences and bring them together.
Both Biji and Nasib are prone to Mrs. Chawla’s words. There has to be a character who acts as a villain and Mrs. Chawla owns it. She preys on them in their most vulnerable times and creates suspicion in each of their minds about the other. Despite her efforts of creating a rift between Bijji and her daughter-in-law Nasib, in the end grandmother, daughter-in-law and granddaughter stands together to protect their family legacy and customs. Another major role is played by Preet’s uncle in the decision making. He is shown to be quite supportive of Preet. But, he is confused on whom to support when it comes to Bijji and his sister, Nasib. To top it, the manager kept forcing him to sell the shop or at least bring up the topic in front of the elders of the household.
Pal Motors is like a family drama which focuses on writing the emotions in elaboration and talk about three women who come to terms with one another shedding off their egos; on how their opinions change over time and ultimately coincide for the same cause, which is protecting their family legacy, Pal Singh’s automobile shop.
The narration is something which I loved the most. The writing style is somewhat sarcastic and satirical. It exaggerates the actions of the characters, makes fun of them and at the same time gives an insight into their emotions and what makes them tick. The story also enlightened me about what really goes on in a typical Punjabi family and acquainted me with their various customs and rituals which I hadn’t known before. The family construction is so relatable to that of Indian families; the grandam, the next head of family after the patriarch, the daughter-in-law complying to grandam’s orders and then the granddaughter obeying both of them out of ‘respect’ without any questions. The author has shown his vocabulary skills plenty of times. The language is is neither easy nor difficult, it is the perfect blend that has the power to appeal to readers of almost all age groups (except children, of course). The dialogues gave away the character’s emotions which is a good thing. The characters were able to express themselves through dialogues. The characterization was dramatic and I loved it. I was happy of the fact that the grammar was on point. I’ve been getting less of that lately.
In the book, at times I found that one scene is stretched for too long, as it happens in the daily soaps. I don’t know if that was intentional because the author was being sarcastic or… I don’t know actually, but from time to time, it felt monotonous to me even when the writing style gave quite a coverage. The pace of the book is also a bit slow since the some of the scenes are elaborated too much. Considering the content of the book, I feel the book could have done with a better title and cover. The title and the cover is too simple and might not be able to reach the hands of a wide number of readers. But, once you get past the title and cover, you would see that the storytelling is not as simple as the cover made it look. They do say that don’t judge a book by it’s cover but, in the end readers do judge a book by it’s cover, a little if not completely.
MY FINAL VERDICT
The family that is depicted in the book is highly relatable and I believe readers will be able to connect with the characters or find someone relatable to them. They are realistic, and we do have a Biji, a Nasib and a Preet in our families. The relations that these three women share, their emotions and slightly eccentric thought processing has been presented in such a genuine and authentic manner.
I would recommend this book to people who are into drama and prefer a satirical, funny touch to the narration. Also, this book can acquaint a reader to the Sikh traditions.
POESY IN CHRYSALIS: ⭐⭐⭐.7 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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