Friday, March 24, 2017

GOLDEN DREAMS

A brand new review of my book Silver Dreams 
by Madhu Menon

By the time I reached the end of Kusum Choppra’s “Silver Dreams”, I felt certain she could do a sequel titled “Golden Dreams”, in a silver, golden, platinum series.
Three successful books, Kusum’s fourth one comes with immeasurable courage, pleasantries, realities and messages for not just the silver lined ones, but for all those reading for pleasure and intellectual stimulation.  In very few words, Silver Dreams is a 2nd innings love story, between a sixty plus, beautiful lady and a seventy plus, handsome man.
But that description would be diminishing the writer’s creation of a mosaic of meticulous characterizations, emotions, understandings, adjustments and lovemaking. Yes, love making, as a much better an option to unnecessary family fights, hierarchy issues, the author suggests.
 Old age syndromes imminent at fifty plus, I almost believed romance was over for my 45+ wife and me. But rejuvenation set in by the end of Silver Dreams. Why not 2nd innings with your own partner? That’s what Silver Dreams is all about. If you are sixty or seventy+, you’ll love this book; I recommend reading it.
If you are nowhere there, maybe in your thirties, this book will offer space and courage to plan for a second innings. You need not find a new partner, just step away from a disturbing past and stop worrying about an unknown future; what you have is today, make it a meaningful, lovable one.
As a reader turning to romantic fiction after recent trysts with books of the calibre of  Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis, Book of Mirdad by Mikhail Naimy and Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, I initially found it tough swimming through whirlpools of relationships, connections and two families with extended family members. But gradually the wonderful relationships, in laws and outlaws coming together grew on me despite the taking in of all extended family members --- alien to a Me, totally ignorant of any relations beyond my wife’s and my siblings, their respective families and our own child.
Intriguingly, Silver Dreams has no obvious protagonist, carrying the burden of the story.  Exception: this all knowing, motivating, punishing and loving lady, Kinnary. It is, in fact the story of her struggle to recreate her own world, that comes with much persistence, pain and sacrifice.  Alongside is her Rana with genetic gifts of voice and a handsome appearance, who helps her create that world, submitting willingly, yet steering away the evils, with his love.
I found Rana’s love amazing; was it obsession with this newfound beauty, compensation for his lost time or taking the full advantage of the time left to him?  His commitment to his Kinnary, despite roller coasting health issues, at the peak of every pleasant event, underlines his firm commitment, unshaken by any storms. Thus, Rana could well be every lady’s Ultimate Male Lover.
Kinnary emerges as an empowered lady, with a failed past with a typical aggressive MCP. Or did that earlier pain, struggle and loss of self-esteem later empower her, making her over cautious to Rana’s advances?
Rebels abound, but the story is that of a couple embracing love in the evening of life; a story of positivity, possibilities. Among the rebels is a stepson who remains aloof throughout to deliver a shocker close to the climax. And just when you expect an imminent tragic end, the author walks her old couple through a garden full of flowers and fragrance. 
Let me warn readers, this is an Indian story, immersed in North Indian ethos, customs, perspective and traditions. If you are not North Indian, you will be guided through the concepts with translation in bracketed italics, as the story flows through marriage ceremonies, home coming rituals and other customs.   The old Hindi songs are also characters that flow with the story.
A female author’s writings are meant to be feminine, but so what? Don’t all readers need to know the feminine side of writing? Kusum Choppra gives you wonderful insights to femininity with explicit, intimate, soulful and physical indulgence. Despite explicit exposure of physical exploration, the author remains a spirited feminist. Yet she dignifies family value systems with a smile when Kinnary accepts the sindhoor from her Rana on one ceremonial occasion.


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