An Unexpected Gift
Author: Ajay K Pandey
Publisher: Westland Publishers
Stereotypes are present in every society. They force us to judge people based on their clothing, class and even ethnicity. Sadly, even today people are comfortable mocking or making caricatures of the stereotypes attached to a community. But then there are some who use either words or actions to dispel the stereotypes. ‘An Unexpected Gift’ is an unexpected effort in the field of Indian Literature. Easy yet deeply moving, this book is a tribute to the transgender community. It captures the dichotomy between love and fear and finally acceptance.
The story begins on a numb note. While Abhay struggles with the aftermath of a great loss (his wife succumbing to a brain tumour), his toddler son also battles solitude and tries to find solace in the lone house. In the search for a baby sitter, Abhay comes across Sheetal who is slightly ambiguous in her ways. She is reluctant to share her true identity, fearful of the repercussions. But what holds her back is something very sad yet common.
Fluid narrative coupled with a lot of dialogues, this book is a breezy read. Yet the printing mistakes are very evident. The plot is flabby because the confabulation between the protagonists, at times, seemed irrelevant.
Nevertheless, I have to congratulate the author for making an audacious move and weaving a story that highlights his awareness and his intent. The gossip is light and the characters are likeable. Abhay emerges as a resilient man who stays afloat in the ocean of troubles.
The climax, however, left me wondering if Abhay’s actions were justified. I feel that no father, in his right mind, would decide on this course of action. But that is purely what I think. Another drawback that I could easily spot was the desperate need to transform this story into a novella while it could still have done wonders in the form of a short story.
Overall, I liked the premise and I liked the narration. The bonus point for me was the fact that I finished reading this book in 4 hours.
Best wishes to the author!
Buying Link: Amazon