Title : The Pleasure Seeker
Author : Toshani Doshi
Every character in the story gives an impression of being a seeker of pleasure during this 300 page saga of a religiously staunch Jain family across three generations. The pleasure seeking begins from Prem Kumar the head of the family who harbors a dream to send his eldest son - Babo, to London for the brighter future of the son as well as for their family business - the specialized paint factory. It passes on to Babo, who within less than a year in London manages to adopt entirely different ways of life and gets besotted by a Welsh girl Sian and pines for the utmost happiness which he believes only this girl can bring in his life. Sian takes the biggest decision of her life to join Babo in the test of commitment thrown by Babo's parents. They manage to come out of this hurdle much more stronger and more committed. Sian keeps feeling a part of her heart yearning for the life she has left behind oceans away. Eventually Babo and Sian's daughters - Mayuri and Bean continue their journey on the same path.
Some characters added to the story do not make any sense and remain a redundant addition to the narrative and one classic example is Babo's brother Chotu. However, the one character which binds the story and three generations together is - Ba (grandmother of Babo) who lives in Anjar, Gujarat. She has a deep sense of sniffing out the upcoming problems and happy times. With her experience and unmatched wisdom, she manages to calm down every storm that aims towards Patel household. But there are many lacunas in the story which I find hard not to mention. This being a family and relationship oriented book, there never occurs a point when the depth of relationship becomes apparent - between Babo and Sian, between parents and their daughters or between any other relationship. Even when it comes to Babo and Sian and their true love being compared to 'Ekam' by Ba, the readers never get the feeling that their love permeated beyond the physical part of it. Sharing of thoughts while leading the lives together never comes into the narrative.
You can't miss the flavors of Rushdie-ism and Mistry-ism in Doshi's writing. Being a poet and a journalist, Tishani has her way with words and some of the phrases used in the story feel perfectly appropriate, one of my favorites is the 'sometimes summers' for some summer vacation that Babo, Sian, Mayuri and Bean used to spend in Sian's parents place at Welsh.
At the end of the book, after reading 300 pages readers may feel - another book over, definitely no literary piece but perhaps it never aimed to be one.