- Title – Bubble Wrap
- Author – Kalyani Rao
- Publisher – Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
- Genre – Fiction
- Pages – 185
- Price – INR 250
- ISBN – 978-93-5106-465-7
Synopsis – Twelve-year-old Krishna Singh has been married off to Shyam Singh of Rokhagadh, Rajasthan. Before the wedding, Krishna’s grandmother gives her a box filled with exquisite jewellery, telling her to sell it in times of trouble, but otherwise to hide it from her parents and in-laws. Accompanied by Gudiya, the fifteen-year-old widow of her cousin, Krishna realizes that her cold marital home is a far cry from the loving one she left behind.
The world outside has modernized and is beamed via television into her home. But she is not allowed to go to school, instead a female tutor comes home to teach her. A dubious father-in-law, a husband away at boarding school, and a mousey mother-in-law clearly show Krishna what is a woman’s place in this family. An unfortunate incident leads Krishna and Gudiya headlong into a series of events that change their lives forever.
As they deal with one situation after another, the girls discover each other and learn much about the world they live in. Bubble Wrap is a story about their fight for survival against impossible odds in a shallow male-dominated society.
Review – The book has a beautiful cover in warm sunset notes showing two young girls holding hands and running away. The silhouettes of innocent faces on the cover have a strong impact from the first time you hold the book to long after you’ve read it. The illustration is simple yet profound.
The title of the book is not only well thought but very apt too. It’s only after you’ve read through the book, that you come to realize its significance.
Kalyani Rao has done a wonderful job in portraying the condition of women in our country in this evocative read. The author has wonderfully brought to life every character that I could actually visualize the characters come alive in her words. However, I found the character of the tutor needing a bit of elaboration to dispel the haziness it develops in due course of time. The book is a simple story narrated well in simple words, opening our eyes to the grave issues women face in our country, even in the 21st century.
In Kalyani’s words I could feel myriad emotions rise in my heart as the story moves ahead. The sad state of women with evils like child marriage, female foeticide, denial of formal education to girls, cruelty to widows still rampant, has been sensitively portrayed. I was moved by the way Krishna (the protagonist) misinterprets so many happenings around her, in the absence of awareness and open talk about puberty, menstruation and other subjects that a girl of her age in today’s times is believed to be well-informed about.
On one hand the story unveiled the many dangers young girls of our country are thrown unaware into, on the other, it takes us through a roller coaster of trials & tribulations our society subjects young girls to by being mere spectators instead of reaching out to help them in hours of need. I couldn’t help but note how the book clearly points that in our society, a girl or woman without the presence of a man in her life is looked upon as easy preys with many vultures hovering over them in various forms from time to time.
The book is a poignant read that peels away the veils from our society’s outmoded beliefs bringing to surface the stark reality.
While the language is simple with a powerful narrative, the book could do with omission of editing loopholes on a few occasions. The book would have benefited with a more intriguing blurb to compel many more readers to indulge in this compelling read. Nevertheless, these minor setbacks in noway steal the impact of this thought-provoking, heart wrenching read. The book is gripping and I finished it in one sitting. It kept me on my tenterhooks right from the start hoping the girls find happiness and sense of security soon.
It is an insightful book that offers food for thought, raising questions, we all need to seek answers for. The ending and the climax are dramatic, however bring about an acceptable ending to this passionate story.
I highly recommend this book that might not entertain you as a regular fiction read, but will surely leave you thinking, giving you many points to ponder and discuss. I am looking forward to read many more books from Kalyani Rao’s pen.
About the Author – Kalyani Rao describes herself as a travel junkie who writes. She believes that she has learned most of her lessons in life while travelling. Kalyani is based out of Pune where she also runs a theme-based Travel Company.
Bubble Wrap is the debut novel of this young entrepreneur.
Rating – 4.25/ 5