Author: Madhu Vajpayee
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Cover : 3/5
Title : 3.5/5
Blurb : 3.5/5
Story : 3.5/5
Theme : 4/5
Characters : 3/5
Overall : 3.5/5
- Meera- The protagonist
- Aman- Son of a supreme court judge and Meera’s love
- Abhay- An honest government official
- Priya- Meera’s best friend
- Rajeev- Meera’s brother
Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It’s her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste-based politics. Her path is crossed by two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are going to change her life forever. If it is Aman Sharma who can challenge her ideals, defy her resolves and make her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay Bharti’s sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It’s also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.
Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee touches upon a very sensitive issue faced by our society – caste-based reservation. Meera is a medical student studying at one of India’s prestigious government colleges in Mumbai. Priya and Kiran are her best buddies. During their convocation, a handsome man by the name of Aman approaches Meera to ask her out for coffee. Meera is stunned by his guts but at the same time finds it difficult to get him off her mind. Turns out that Aman was attending convocation for completing his post-graduation in medicine from the same college and had his eyes on Meera since a long time. Post her graduation, Meera’s mother wanted to marry her off and leave it up to her in-laws to let her study for post-graduation. However, Meera’s father is of the opposite opinion and supports her daughter in continuing her studies. Meera works hard for her entrance exams and in the meanwhile keeps stalling Aman’s request of going out for a coffee. Meera’s brother Rajeev is an average student scoring decent marks in the exams. He however fails in his entrance exam and has to grab an engineering seat by paying a hefty donation to the college authorities.
Meera scores really well but is unable to grab a seat at any of the good colleges because some of the reserved category students who had scored less than Meera had been allotted her seat. This baffles her and she loses confidence in herself. Aman’s father had to resign from the post of Supreme Court’s judge for having a different opinion on increment of the reservation quotas. His decision takes a toll on Aman’s life and he faces a lot of difficulties in his profession while dealing with colleagues. Amidst all this, he doesn’t forget to have Meera’s back and supports her throughout.
One fine day, Meera’s father suffers from a paralytic attack and the responsibility of being the bread earner of the family falls on Meera’s shoulders. She applies for a job at her home college for the post of medical officer but is rejected, again on the grounds of being from general category. When she confronts her Dean one on one, Abhay, an honest government officer, happens to be in the Dean’s office. Her beauty doesn’t fail to grab Abhay’s attention and it becomes almost impossible for him to get her off his mind. Meera doesn’t lose heart on being rejected by her home college and applies to other hospitals. One such hospital’s selection panel has Abhay as one of the panelists and he ensures that she is selected. However, she is terminated from her services in a few months’ time. Turns out that she had been paying a price for being close to Aman. How does she deal with that? Will she let go off Aman? Will Abhay ever manage to do justice to Meera and also confess that he loves her? Amidst all this, what crime does Rajeev commit to get his sister to testify against him? These were the questions running through my mind throughout the story and I was hooked on till the very end. This book gives an honest take on the reservation criteria of our constitution and its effects on the society.
There are a lot of characters in the story which made it a complex read. It took me close to 1/3 rd of the book in understanding the who’s who of the story. The font size was really small causing a lot of strain to the eyes. Also, the font would become italic and then non-italic out of the blue. The editor could have taken care of these points before sending the book to print. These are technical points but should definitely be taken care of to provide utmost comfort to the reader because writing a novel is not just about penning a story, it is about conveying a message / thoughts / ideas in the best manner possible.
Picking up a sensitive societal issue and conveying an honest opinion without hurting the society’s sentiments is a tough job. I applaud Madhu to have done it brilliantly! Caste-based reservation has always been a concern for the society in every field – be it a government job or a medical college seat. Madhu has very smartly brought up these concerns through various incidents and managed to put forth her thoughts in an unbiased manner. Decent vocabulary and intense story-line are a few highlights of the book.
An intense story-line with a pinch of reality. (3.5/5)
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