TITLE: Breathing Two Worlds
AUTHOR: Ruchira Khanna
Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a ‘somebody’ from a ‘nobody’ she blends with the Americans via the accent and their mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend, Adan Somoza.
When illness hits home, Neena rushes to meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life after the loss?
Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?
Breathing Two Worlds ventures into cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and priorities.
Storyline- Plot: Interesting! An uncomplicated and simple read, ‘Breathing Two Worlds’ is the story of a confused soul one which is sandwiched between two extremely different tastes, cultures and mannerisms. The adjustments, the frustration, the suffocation’, the dilemma that the soul i.e. the protagonist experiences are brought out beautifully in the story. While one world is always pricking her back with its prying eyes, the other is least concerned with what she does, how she behaves in public, etc., etc.
The book is also about making choices, bonding, caring for others sentiments and coming to terms with grief. It also reflects the dilemma of those millions who migrate from their roots to lands distant and alien, lands where they have to struggle to make a niche for themselves, lands which have an entirely different set of rules, cultures, traditions and habits. There are philosophical moments and emotional moments.But the thing that stands out is the resilience of the human mind and its ability to adjust to changing situations.
No twists, no turns yet exciting and engrossing that’s ‘Breathing Two Worlds.’
CHARACTERIZATION: The characters especially that of the protagonist Neena, are well developed. The sub characters add to the story and reflect the myriad shades of human nature well.
LANGUAGE: Simple. Yet there were places where the flow was found wanting. The book could do with a fresh round of editing to smoothen out the flaws. Though not many they still have the ability to act as irritants at times.
PACE: Initially slow, but once it picks up there is no looking back.
A simple yet interesting and engaging read, one that you can pick up on a lazy afternoon to beat the heat or soothe frayed nerves; I’ll give it a 4 on a scale of 5.