Book Review: Tides Don’t Cross by Simar Malhotra

Tides Don’t Cross
Author: Simar Malhotra
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 4/5

Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.
Lawrence Block

What do you do when life turns topsy-turvy? Do you sit tight and brace yourself to enjoy the bumpy ride? Or do you wait for a conjuration of spirits to undo the complication? Well, it differs from person to person! Often we succumb to our circumstances because we believe that a squabble with the destiny will send us to hell in a handcart. But there are times when we push forth our audacious self and let it take the reins in its hands. ‘Tides Don’t Cross’ just fits the bill! With a long-lasting flavour of love, youth and life, the story does wonder!

Revolving around the life of three disparate characters, the story focuses on precarious relationships and erratic human emotions. Divided into three segments, the story begins with subservient and self-effacing Mrinalini, who obeys every beck and call of her mother, Neelam. Surrendering to her circumstances comes naturally to her. Even though she knows how to dream, she prefers to clip her wings and be a mute-witness to everything. When she gets married to a rather ostentatious Surya, her aspirations come crashing down like a house of cards. A victim of a hasty marriage, dominant mother and early pregnancy, she decides to call it quits and loses whatever the last ounce of hope she has.

In the second part of the story the focus shifts on to a more arrant and anarchistic Rukmani, who is Mrinalini’s younger sister. She believes in calling a spade a spade. She comes across as more blunt- an antagonistic version of Mrinalini. The plot follows the clichéd course where the young, raging woman falls in love (in Paris not to forget) with the only open and guileless Indian, Ayaan Khan, on a foreign land. As the cupid’s arrow hit the bull’s eyes, the vibrantly coloured future starts blurring around the edges. Soon the two hearts part.

The third part of the story is the USP of the book, for it forms the converging point of these three different lives.

Fluid narration backed by exemplary vocabulary is something I loved about this book. Language is refreshing, albeit the story is trite. Addressing the basic theme that fate is that inevitable event that happens to you in spite of all your plans, ‘Tides Don’t Cross’ is an example of judicious writing. It is commendable how well this book treasures a truckload of emotions and secrets. With a humourless approach, the story addresses a very serious issue of the mid-life crisis. At the same time, it also throws light on how important it is to break the shackles of society. Beautifully crafted characters and exemplary narration help make the story a breezy read.

However, I missed the action in the plot. It is too simple to be true! If it does not involve walking on the fire, it is not love. But the story lacks that element of fire. The problem of a dangling pronoun might irk the readers. While the depth of Mrinalini’s relationship with her mother and her husband was unfathomable, the relationship of Rukmani and Ayaan was flat. Most of the times, the story is predictable. Secondly, the descriptions are superfluous.

‘Tides Don’t Cross’ houses a robust plot and explains some of the inexplicable complexities of life. With a very cut and dried blurb, the story builds up quite well right from the very beginning. Not to forget that Rupa does a wonderful job with the cover and the print.

Best wishes to the author!

Buying Link: Amazon

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