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January 9, 2013

Book Review - 110 : Intermission

Author : Nirupama Subramanian
Publisher : Harper Collins India

Set in Gurgaon, the dazzling face of modernity in India, Intermission takes us into the lives of Varun and Gayatri Sarin, not-so-happily-married corporate couple who are trying to come to terms with life in India after several years of an ordered existence in the First World. Varun is focussed on running his own business; Gayatri yearns for her friends and her life in the US. Their son Anirudh is grappling with his first adolescent crush. From intrusive in-laws and absconding domestic staff to potholes and pigs on the road, there is a new challenge to be confronted every day. Then Varun meets Sweety, young mother-of-twins, who is living her dream life in a nuclear family, and everything changes. For him, for Sweety, and insidiously, for everyone around them.

It deals with a typically NRI problem: resettling in chaotic India after several years spent in an ordered existence in the First World. The book may claim to be a story of relationships in the contemporary India but unfortunately it has very little to offer in terms of a plot. The couple hardly talk about their lives with each other, they are not even ready to discuss their life, the everyday routine activities (as it may appear through the narrative). How can we even made to assure that this is contemporary India? Even if you are holding the mirror to the society through the book and portraying the 'judgement effect', it can't be so boring and flat toned.

There is a lot of sincerity to offer though with the characters. Most of the them have long solo interludes where they introspect their lives. There are upheavals and difficult decisions to be made in tough situations, yet we never see the tension or the usual anxiety in the characters. The extra marital relationship may whine and vouch for each other, but they have very little to understand in each other situations. In the end, book goes no where and just meanders all along. The climax is cop-out and goes for the traditional path without achieving anything of the substance.

I am going with 2/5 for Nirupama Subramanian's 'Intermission'. It is a simply written book, no doubt but there is absolutely nothing new to offer in terms of plot, characters, treatment or climax. It is drab, banal and will make you cringe with the sameness it has to offer all through the story. An opportunity wasted.

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