एक बुक जर्नल: Illicit by Dibyendu Palit

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Illicit by Dibyendu Palit

Rating: 3/5
Book was read on February 19th,2017

Edition details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count: 122
Publisher: Penguin India
Translator: Arunava Sinha



First Sentence:
Jeena became herself again when Ashim left around five in the evening.

Jeena and Ashim had been married for the past 8 years.  Jeena was 22 when she was married to Ashim who is 11 years older than him. And in these 8 years she feels this gap between them has only grown. She is not attracted to Ashim any more. And meeting Partha hasn't helped matters.

Partha lives in the same building and is married to Gayatri. But Jeena finds herself drawn to him. He evokes in her emotions that Ashim never could. And thus their affairs starts

When Ashim has to go to an offical tour for a meeting, Jeena and Partha decide to meet and spend the weekend together. But the plan that seemed perfect when it was thought doesn't turns out to be so. Things happen to Jeena in this journey that force her to think about herself and her relationships in a different manner.


Infidelity as a topic has always interested me. I have found it fascinating and try to read the literature that has been woven around it. Now in India where arrange marriage still are the norm infidelity doesn't surprise me.You are just married to people and then you have to make it work. But then this is not the always the case and so people cheat. But infidelity also happens among people who have mutually decided to get married to each other ie have had a love marriage. This make you think about whether its natural for humans to be in a monogamous relationship. But that's a story for another day. Right now i should focus on the novel.

The novel revolves around a weekend get away that Jeena has planned with Partha, with whom she's carrying out an extra-marital affair.The story starts with Ashim, Jeena's husband leaving for his three day tour and then Jeena leaving for Puri where she'll meet Partha. How she reaches there? What happens there?  How an incident happens there which forces Jeena to see for the first time what she's been doing and gives her a different perspective? These are things that make up the novel. The writer uses flashbacks to make reader acquainted with the back story ie how the affair started, what happened in Jeena's marriage to be unsatisfied. Clearly, Jeena is the protagonist of the story.

I liked reading the book. Jeena and Partha although  are in an extra-marital affair but their reasons are entirely different. This difference kept popping up in the book. And i liked it how it was portrayed. I also liked the ending of the book where the author has kept it open. We don't know whether she continues with this affair, goes back to her husband and confesses or even goes back to him. We don't know how life would progress for Jeena  but what we do know that she has found herself. This self discovery is what is important for Jeena. And it's on the reader to guess how does it ends for her.
How Partha takes it is something which seems irrelevant here as the book is not about him. I also liked that author hasn't shoved morality on the characters.

I'd have like it even better if the author could have told us more about the perspective of Ashim and Gayatri. But you can't expect everything from the novel. It was a short read and i enjoyed reading it.You can feel for Jeena and you can accept the conclusion at which she arrives at the end. I know i did.

Did i hate her for what she did to Ashim? No, i don't think so. It may be because Ashim's perspective is not here. We are not shown how he felt about the thing. He may have never known. Plus, I know she was in a marriage which was not good for her. I would have liked it better if she would have talked with her husband about unhappiness. She says at a time in the book that he didn't understood her. That he thought, material comforts were what was needed and that he was providing. But we don't know if she talked to him and told him what she really wanted from him or she just left it for him to gauge.  If i would have been in Ashim's place i would have liked it that she talked to me. But then in life nothing happens as it should have been. We have to  play the hand that we are dealt.

If you have read the book then do tell me how did you like it. If you haven't and want to then you can get it from the following link:
Amazon

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