Does marriage really make a person happy? What to if it is not working? What if the spark in the relationship is lost and you get attracted to another person? Madhuri Banerjee’s Forbidden Desires tries to answer some of these questions. This novel is about three married women Naina who is a chef, Kavita a doctor and Ayesha who is the wife of a bureaucrat. It is also about Kaajal who is unmarried and doesn’t wish to get married. Their stories run in parallel and meet at a juncture towards the end.
The three married women are stuck in a rut. They have children. They have sacrificed their lives, their careers for their spouses. They get attracted to other singles. The intimacy which they enjoy, the love which they receive is something which they have never received from their spouses. Even their husbands have been philandering.
Kaajal is having an affair with Naina’s husband. She wants him to leave Naina and stay with her permanently without marriage. There comes a point where the married women have to chose between their husbands and paramours. Whom do they chose? To know this you will have to read Forbidden Desires.
Madhuri has come up with a brilliant set of characters. She weaves the Delhi kitty party scene very well in the novel. Every character is true to life. Hence it is very easy to relate to them. No wonders as you read the book, you get involved in the characters, their lives and their relationships. This is where I feel Madhuri succeeds as a writer.
Extramarital affairs do exist. Madhuri tries to document the underlying reason for them, without being preachy. She also gives a message tacitly - if you are not happy in a relationship, it is better to walk out of it. She trudges on the tricky spaces of extra-marital affairs, same sex relationships, BDSM and live-in relationships successfully. Why is it that in an extra-marital affair it is only the woman is to be blamed? She questions.
There are couple of grammatical errors in the book. Page 127 “I know I sounding like mom.” It should have been, I am sounding like mom. On page 135 the word hard is misspelt as shard in the following line. “ And when she got married, she had plunged herself so shard into loving Gaurav.” On page 222 Kavita is misspelt as Kavit in the following line. “Kavit felt relieved and in pain at the same time.”
I wish these mistakes were avoided. But I liked the book. It doesn’t drag. It is entertaining for sure.