The Homing Pigeons


Image Courtesy: Internet
Image Courtesy: Internet

In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar, little does he know that his life will change forever…..

When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom that she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it…..

They say Homing Pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

Plot Summary

Once a budding superstar of world of banking, the recession finds Aditya “re-structured” which when roughly translated means out of a job without any new prospects on the horizon. A year goes by as he supports himself on his savings that seem to dwindle by the minute thanks to his love of good food and alcohol. Misery loves company and soon Aditya finds himself being supported by his wife amidst a crumbling marriage. When he is into his last few hundred rupees , he meets a mysterious stranger, Divya at a bar in Chandigarh! He hesitantly agrees to have a few drinks with her when she offers to buy and the incidents that follow alters the course of his life in a way he would have never imagined, in terms of career choices and search for true love.

Radhika is widowed at the age of 32 and is left with a vast fortune that ensures that she never has to work for a living. However, a strained relationship with her step daughter and her search for peace and happiness sees her move to South Delhi where she finds herself without any friends, loads of time to fill her days but nothing much to live for. As she tries to find herself and give back to society she sets on a journey that ends is a manner that she would have never expected.

What connects Aditya and Radhika? Will their tormented lives finally settle down to a normal pace or will they just continue the way they are? Who is Divya and what does she do?

The answers to all these questions are beautifully woven in a poignant tale of human emotions and drama, that will draw  readers to this book by first time author Sid Bahiri.

My thoughts

Not having read too many books that ride high on human emotions, this book took me by surprise. The author has ensured that I will never shy away from this genre again! I am sure that most of us have heard the following life rule: “Sometimes when you make a few wrong turns in life, you get further away from the destiny and goals that God had planned for you, but somehow you will always find the right path to the very same goals in the end, though the journey might be a bit longer or harder”

Those few lines are essentially the plot of “The Homing Pigeons”. The first few pages will shock some readers, but then this just sets the tone for the rest of the book. Every chapter alternates between the lives of Aditya and Radhika and each chapter shuttles between their thoughts, current and past. Initially one is curious to know what the two protagonists have in common or how they are related. And once the dots that connect two are revealed, the rest of the book is a page turner. It takes us through a journey of sweet beginnings that burgeon into professional ambitions, sacrifices and human egos that compete for power. The drama of humble beginnings from small towns like Chandigarh  moves to big cities like Delhi and New York and ends right where it all started.  I could not put the book down until I finished it!!

At first, I thought that Radhika seemed to have a masochist attitude with her penchant for inflicting emotional pain upon herself. But then as I read further into the book, I could understand the pain that someone like her goes through – The chapters that describe her adoption by her uncle and aunt because her parents could not care for her and then being sent back to the very same parents who sent her away because her uncle had kids of his own and could not care for her anymore was heart wrenching. Being made to feel like a stranger in her own home, her feelings and emotions  are  probably similar to what the “not so lucky” adopted kids experience, especially when the adoptive families have kids of their own and start turning their backs on the child that they initially welcomed! Loved by nobody in particular and with no real family to speak of, these kids suffer a life long fear of rejection or a complex until they find something strong that they can hold on to – something for which nobody would reject them for. It is this very same attitude that takes Radhika through the various turmoils of her life starting with loosing what she holds most precious to her heart, to gaining it again and then loosing it again.

Aditya on the other hand, had never wanted for much in life but does not take being jilted by his true love well, especially when the reason for rejection was that he was not well settled. When the opportunity to set things right comes by, his ego rules supreme, he compromises and gives in to his parents whims regarding marriage thus altering the course of his life to take paths he would have never imagined.

The author has been very bold with regards to the portrayal of the character of Divya. Now we might have seen a few movies where a woman offers to buy a strange man a drink or makes the forbidden move (in terms of Indian culture) towards him. However Divya takes this multiple times forward making her one of the most boldest / bindas character portrayals of contemporary Indian fiction! Sorry, I can’t say more without giving away the story 🙂

However some parts of the book seemed in-complete to me, as the chapters just jump into different events in the lives of the protagonists. For e.g. we do not know the circumstances that led to Radhika marrying a rich business man more than 12 years her senior or why she shares a bad relationship with her step daughter. Similarly, we don’t understand the scene behind Aditya’s own marriage ( I assume it was an arranged marriage to a girl of his parents choice) or why he is later estranged from his own parents. Also we are not privy to the reasoning behind why he rejects a great job offer when he finally gets one, after 2 years. On top of this, the pop group “Roxette” was mentioned as “Roxanne” – not sure if that was intentional!

I would like to sign-off saying that first time author Sid Bahiri has done a really great job! The language was simple and the chapters just flowed seamlessly with the occasional annoyances that I have mentioned above. The best part is you would not know what to expect while starting to read the book but somewhere down the line, you will just not want to put the book down. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone interested  in reading about human emotions, relationships and how fate and destiny play a role in all human interactions!

I can see this book being made into a movie with a multi-star caste; it definitely has the makings of a great movie that could cater to the taste of multiplex audiences.  Sid Bahiri, you have a new fan 🙂

Special thanks to  “The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program” without which I would have never read this author. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.

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