In Lahore, the culturally most colourful city of Pakistan, the most colourful celebration is the Jashnn –e –Basant. The winter is over, and spring is on a rollout, many shades of the colour of the surroundings gets mixed up with the colour of the minds of the people to set up a melodious orchestra, in the land and water and in the sky. Thousands of flying kites lit up the sky of the inner city of Lahore. The land also gets inflamed with thousands of beautiful women playing with the kites, wearing bright yellow dresses. What can be a more colourful ambience for a love story to take place?
Environment sometimes plays a very important role in building up a story-and Zeenat Mahal’s ‘She loves me –he loves me not’ is no exception. The writer has portrayed the mental state of affairs of the protagonist Zoella-amid the backdrop colour and vibrancy of the spring festival and it is clearly a stage winner all the way! She is attracted to Fardeen-the handsome lawyer from her childhood. But sometimes nearest man from the church gets farthest from the God. That happens to Zoella, too-she was never been able to express her feelings to her childhood heartthrob. So, lovely Neha has plundered the mind of Fardeen.
Reading this far if you conclude –oh, so it is a story of eternal love triangle-than I must confess you are partially right. It is a story of love triangle alright and more! it is a story of love, dejection and rejection painted effortlessly by the writer and of course like Zeenat Mahal’s other writings like the contract this one is an absolute fluid read too. The writer is successful in showing the inner conflicts of the characters especially the two-Fardeen and Zoella.
Like the bolt from the sky –Fardeen was faced with the curse of an accident. It left a scarce in his mind and body, too. From here starts the saga of dejection and rejection. A quote will be more appropriate in sating his state of mind
“He hated to be watched. They’d all been doing that since the accident. Some gawked in horrid fascination, while others, like his father, tried to discern his state of mind so that they might jump in with false optimism. Physical damage was so much uglier than internal destruction. What people couldn’t see didn’t bother them. No one wanted to see ugliness: poverty, disease, disability. People shrank from disfigurement and deformity. Didn’t they know the wreckage that was invisible could be so much more dangerous, so much more toxic?”
Poor zoela was unable to determine why beautiful Neha has deserted the poor chap when he needs the mental support to overcome those moments of nightmare. She was unable to fathom why Neha is leaving his hand at this moment of crisis instead of holding it tighter!
Zoella was wrong in estimating human psychology. Neha had loved the famed lawyer Fardeen,the handsome guy Fardeen-not a ugly human being who is a ghostly shadow of his former self! She had loved the outer shelf of Fardeen –not the inner Fardeen with whom Zollea has fallen in love.
And Fardeen was shattered like a fragile glass sheet. Two quotes from the book will state his mental turmoil best to the reader
“He laughed. It wasn’t real laughter, just a mockery of it, bitter and harsh, a parody of sorts. More and more, he found sanctuary in bitterness. The
more pain he inflicted, the more he could come to terms with his own. Or that was the excuse he gave himself.”
“He had his reasons. He had to know what he meant to Neha. Would she accept him as he was now? Broken and battered an ugly shell of a man? Would it matter if she didn’t?”
And Zoella had to pay heavy prices for standing beside Fardeen in her moments of crisis-her fiancé had broken off the marriage with her. Her world fell like a pack of cards. Her mental picture has been painted by the writer with artistic skill
“But now, Zoella wished she were dead. Who were these people, stripping her of her dignity, her self-esteem, leaving her bare and naked so that she was afraid to even meet their eyes? The very people, who were supposed to protect her and love her, were degrading her.”
In this traditionally patriarch society the woman has to be the culprit for her every move-even if the move is inspired by the noble thought.
Will she be able to stand again in this society-with her head held high? Will Fardeen be able to regain his zeal to life? Will Neha again come back to Fardeen? And more importantly what will be the ultimate fate of the love relations?
Read to discover –where the destiny takes Neha, Fardeen and Zoella?
this is one layered romance novel-with ups and downs of relations –and a flavor of culture of the Indian sub continent made this novel a read to remember and worth reading ever and ever.
like inhaling the fragrance of a tuberose stick….
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