By Pooja Wanpal. Grade A
It’s heartening to see a young author come out with a debut, so polished and neat, that you feel like being a part of that book, reverberating with the words that are pronounced so brightly, on the backdrop of a national movement that in ways more than one proved to be a renaissance in the history of modern India. You feel the tinge of excitement that tickles in your abdomen, that brushes along with the awareness you possess, culminating in a sense of belonging with the penned down words. ‘
Love and Lokpal stays true to its name, and does full justice on both the fronts – Love as well as Lokpal.
Shlok Kulkarni, an architect by day and an Assassin’s creed junkie by night is being bombarded with eligible girls by his matchmaking mama. In a bid to escape her and maybe check out a few hot girls while he’s at it, Shlok flees to Delhi, where a massive protest for the Lokpal Bill has been building up.
Kaveri Gokhale has been searching for a cause her whole life. When the winds of the Lokpal blow through the country, she eagerly catches the next train to Delhi to witness history.
When Shlok runs into Kaveri at Jantar Mantar, the sparks are undeniable. As their relationship blossoms, Kaveri discovers a dark secret that leaves her devastated…and endangers the fate of billion others. Will Shlok and Kaveri’s love wither or will it withstand the uncertainties of the corrupt politics? Can love truly conquer all ideologies?
Pooja Wanpal strays off the tried and tested formula adopted by new writers these days, and doesn’t resort to a supposedly ‘safe’ debut filled with college love, heartbreaks and mushiness that you get to see in hordes these days. Instead, she takes a national movement fresh from public memories, and weaves it in a way of her own that provides credibility as well as an unwavering realism to the proceedings that take their own route in the story. You read the protests by Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and Arvind Kejriwal, and the feeling of patriotism resurfaces in your vein. You want to be a part of that march again, a desire, a wish to free India from corruption, from the clutches of black money and similar evil.
You also, watch in fear, when the realization that public support is gradually abandoning the movement haunts you. And you cry all the more when Kaveri takes off the poster of Arvind Kejriwal that was hanging on the wall, sighing in disappointment.
But then, this book isn’t just about a national movement or about Lokpal; it’s also about love. Kaveri and Shlok, belonging to different family backgrounds and upbringing, but when they meet on the grounds of protest, sparks fly, and they realize they are not meant to remain as ‘just-friends’. Through ups and downs, victory and defeat, and loss and gain, they stick together, go their separate ways, and then come back again in a loving embrace. What is really endearing about their love is the manner in which it has been portrayed. It’s real, the feelings evoked by the author so brilliant that you believe them to be true. And that’s what makes the protagonists jump out of your pages, discussing with you the policies of this country, the corruption, the solution, and of course, love.
‘Love and Lokpal’ is infused with a warmth that you long for in a book. I loved the beautiful relationship the author portrayed between Shlok and his sister Prarthana, both caring for each other, and at the same time, pulling each other’s legs, isn’t that’s how sibling love is?
If we spoke the language of smileys, then this review would have been filled with many of them, because the beautiful narration made me smile, and I am now glad I picked up this book to read. The editing is perfect, the presentation is crisp, and can easily be rated as one of the most promising Indian debuts in recent times in its genre.
I loved ‘Love and Lokpal’, and I am sure you would too.