Review of Sid Bahri’s “The Homing Pigeons”
The varied contours of the element of love are brought out in a unique manner in Sid Bahri’s “The Homing Pigeons”. The book evolves from the tale of two persons who are completely different from each other and yet develop a bond to a tale interspersed with the obstacles of social stigma which eventually play havoc with their minds and lives. The story, essentially a love story, delves into the disconnect between the past and the present. This disconnect or misalignment mutates from a seemingly inconspicuous independent factor to something that leaves an indelible mark on the characters’ lives. This is a microcosmic representation of a dilemma that the globalized Indian culture faces when its path crosses that of the older generations. The younger informed generation wants to go beyond what it construes to be mere rules and regulations of their cultures as the logical worth of these elements has degraded in their eyes. In terms of the story, the characters crave to bring to the fore the concept of love as being beyond rituals and customs. Their crusade is rudely interrupted when their elders choose to take the tried and tested path of their cultures. This interruption, in turn, causes heartbreaking decisions to be made which end up disorienting the romantic waves which, until then, flowed along harmoniously.
The inability to communicate fluidly the ravaging storm blowing in their minds was another stimulus to the growing of the vacuum between the two characters. This goes on to prove that assumptions and negative thought processes that inadvertently rise in the dark recesses of the mind end up catalyzing the erosion of the bond that had so seamlessly and purely developed in a short period of time.
Although the book primarily dwells on the making and breaking of love between the two protagonists, it directs our attention to certain blots in our history like the anti-Sikh riots. From a rosy setting, we are heralded into the murky happenings of the past and the gruesome murder of fellow Indians. An event such as this not only carves out a new rugged path in Aditya’s life, it leaves a deep cavity in his parents’ minds. Certain moments of indiscretion and hot-headedness caused disastrous cascading effects all over the nation. The ripple effects are still strong enough to be not ignored as was proven in the case of Aditya’s parents when he broached the topic of marriage with them.
The book fails to deliver when it comes to the love story in itself. Different thought processes get played out repetitively after certain intervals which causes certain lulls in the flow of the story. Apart from that, the building up of the dilemma in the two characters’ lives is very promising and when it finally reaches the peak, the final bang comes in the form of a whimper as the story ends quite abruptly with a strong utopian essence. Although happy endings are quite welcome and leaves the reader with a positive aftertaste, the erasure of all wrongs and negativity in a perfectly harmonious fashion happens in the span of a handful of pages. From my perspective, I would have liked to relish the ending as I would like to slowly relish and explore the orgasmic delight of an exotic dessert. On the technical front, the book needs better editing.
All in all, the story is engrossing and the painting of the characters has been quite vivid along with the parallel elements of social constructs and a forgettable past.
My rating is a 6/10.