Perfect Eight – Book Review

Perfect Eight by Reema Moudgil is a haunting story of someone born to parents who are totally opposite in what life has dished out to them.

Her mother is a refugee from Pakistan who came to India at the age of 5, brought up grudgingly by a family friend. Ever sensitive of her position in the lives of people around her, her outlook of life is rather grim. She never trusts happiness when it finds its way to her.

Her father, on the other hand, is a very cheerful guy who can sing a happy song at any given situation.

The story is also about her love for Samir, the boy whom she sees periodically during her stays in Anneville, his home.

The story travels easily from Pakistan to Kanpur to Ambrosa to Bangalore… The narration never loses pace even for a paragraph…

I think revealing the protagonist’s name in the last page of the book is a stroke of a genius!

The characters in the book, their pain, longing, happiness… everything is so real.

The language is lucid & poetic…. really touched a chord in me. (Imagine if  one can smell grief!)

Loved reading this book & I reccommend it strongly to people who love reading Indian authors.

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time!

The man-child

I had a particularly harrowing evening with my son. Right from when I picked him up from school, it was rebellion, blame-games & tantrums till bed time.

First I was ‘bad’ because I didn’t bring him a treat to eat on the way home. Then it was open rebellion to eat the snack I gave him at home.  Then it was a battle to get him to drink his milk…

Every half hour he’d break down, sobbing or screaming, sorry,  screeching at me for the smallest of reasons.

I had a bit of peace when the TV was on. But when I switched it off at dinner time, it was full-fledged war again.

I held on to my patience with gritted teeth all the time. But now my pent-up temper threatened to erupt in all its glory.

“I have to watch my program!” He screamed.

“You have to heat your dinner.” I insisted.

“No!” He burst into tears.

“Yes!” I raised my voice.

“I hate you!” He screeched and ran to his room and banged the door shut.

I was so close to losing my cool, but held on.

Seething inside, I  took his dinner to his room.

I sat next to him and fed him while he watched his program.

It took him a good ten minutes to realise that I was extremely angry…

He tried making small talk during the commercial breaks. But I was stern.

Later when I was getting him to sleep, he asked for a story.

“No story today.” I told him. “I just want you to lie down quietly and think about what you did today. From when I picked you up from school till now. I want you think about how you’ve treated your mother and whether it is right on your part.”

With that I switched off the light and lay down next to him.

There was total silence for about fifteen minutes. I was sure he had slept, when he spoke in a quivering voice.

“I thought about it Amma… I am so sorry. I will never hurt you again…” His voice broke …

My resolve melted and I gathered him in my arms. Wiping his tears gently, I said, “Its ok, kanna.. don’t cry now…”

The same quivering voice (desperately trying to stop the quivers) said “You think I’m crying, Amma? Oh no.. I just have some water in my eyes…” And then briskly, “Now can you please tell me a story?”

My little baby is showing signs off growing into a man! And I don’t like it one bit!