Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Book Review : The Secret Wishlist
Publisher : Westland
Genre : Fiction
ISBN : 978-9382-618-188
Price : 175
Pages : 256
The Secret Wishlist revolves around Diksha, Ankit, Tanu, Sandeep and Abhay. It starts off in Chennai, where, as a sixteen-year-old, Diksha is like any other typical teenager. She and her best friend Tanu spend hours and hours of time studying, discussing the latest crushes and gossiping. Enter Ankit, Diksha’s elder brother’s friend. Both Ankit and Diksha start liking each other and spending quite a bit of time together without the knowledge of either the parents or her elder brother.
Cut to the present. In Bangalore, Diksha is married to Sandeep and they have a son Abhay. Diksha’s entire day, rather, existence revolves around both of them. Right from making the morning tea, to breakfast, lunch and dinner to catering to every whim and fancy of Sandeep and Abhay, Diksha seems to not have an individual life at all. She does not seem to mind her daily mundane life either.
Initially, when the book begins, the way she keeps on shuffling between both the periods of story is too interesting. The school life of Diksha isn't kept too cheesy like other authors. Then her equation with Sandeep, her husband is described perfectly. I was able to imagine each and every sequence as it seems to be real and not a single part seems to be filmy and exaggerated.
However, a sudden event in her cousin’s life seems to jolt her out of her existence. At the behest of the cousin, she decides to try and take some control over her life and makes a wishlist – a list of things which she truly wants to do.
By a fortuitous turn of events, Tanu (who has been working at Gurgaon and recently re-located to Bangalore) re-enters her life and tells her that Ankit has been wanting to get in touch with her since a long time. With this conversation, Diksha’s heart and mind are forced to confront whether she would really want to meet him; if yes, what would the future course of action be, etc. How the issue is sorted out forms the climax of the story.
The best part about Preeti’s writings is the time and effort spent in etching out each and every character and the interactions between them. Diksha as a bubbly teenager; Diksha as a housewife; Diksha as a housewife wanting to live out her wishlist; Diksha as a housewife imagining what it would be to go back to Ankit – all the various stages have been carved out beautifully. Sandeep’s character has been shown to be a typical, male chauvinist who only cares for his well-being without giving a thought to what his wife wants. The draggy narration of how the protagonist's husband uses as housemaid and sex toy as if is not painful enough, it is repeated in every tenth page making sure the readers still continue to hate him.
Few bits I liked are the Salsa and the details, the mother in law who seemed extremely understanding and sweet. Such characters again are rare species in real life. I mean there are mothers who support even rapist sons so I don't think a mother in-law will support a daughter in-law immediately if she wants to walk out of a marriage. I liked the concept of writing down a secret wish list and I loved the cover page which lead to my great expectations.
Every woman and for that matter every man should read this book. The women cause we at times let people take us for granted and also there needs to be some self searching to be done. Some women get so engrossed in their mundane house-office work they forget what it is to actually live. And all the men so that before they start considering their wife to be just a "housewife" realize that she too is a human who has her own dreams and life.
Preeti Shenoy managed to pick one of the most ignored topic in Indian society, the suppression an indian housewife goes through, which although is quite appreciated, is also a story that is already known to everyone. A warm, heart-touching tale of a woman who tries to break free from her abusive husband and find her own calling.
Shenoy is able to create moments of laughter, surprise and above all empathy through her words, which stream effortlessly across the pages. One yearns for the love and contentment she describes, and hopes to find such friendship and unconditional acceptance in their partner.
Verdict - One time read.
Rating – 3/5