BOOK REVIEW: THE SECOND COMING
In this book, debutant author Shubha Menon trains a laser on the nature of modern romantic relationships in India, how people are struggling to balance the romantic with the real, the fantastic with the rock-solid.
If the title of the book makes it sound like it’s going to be bad book of erotica, banish those thoughts from your mind immediately. In this book, we meet Mini, wedding planner, thinking woman, on the cusp of slipping into menopause, bored with her ‘steady’ marriage and looking for that hot affair with a romantic man that will sweep her off her feet like her husband can never do.
While on an assignment in the Mumbai office of her planning company, she meets Rustom, the Greek God of her fairytale, who is also married but is a skirt-chaser and a womaniser. After flirting back and forth for a while, they fall into each other’s arms and give in to the lust. The inevitable happens then, of course, with Mini having to choose between the fairytale of her affair and the more rock-solid, grounded reality of her marriage. Perhaps in predictable fashion, she realises by the end of the book that her husband, who she thought was boring, was in fact stable and a rock to lean on, whereas Rustom is just a passing fantasy who, like a butterfly, will keep flitting from one flower to the next.
The story reflects the nature of modern relationships in India, where both the wife and husband work in their concrete jungles, ready to give long hours to their jobs in search of professional satisfaction, while ignoring their personal relationships. The book also casts light on the essence of a marriage, which mellows towards one of friendship and possible boredom once the initial high of romance fades away. This is particularly so in case the couple don’t take pains to communicate to one another their feelings.
All in all, a good, one-time read.