Book Review: The Paradox of Vantage Point
“The Paradox of Vantage Point is the journey of Anwesha Nair, Raghubir Kishor and Vikram Madane from being compassion-deficient to acquiring a deeper analysis of life. It is their story of surviving the battle and ultimately painting the canvas of life with positivity and gleefulness.”
Couple of corrections, and then I will say – Raghubir Kishor does not come across as compassion deficient at any point, not to my naked eyes or simple mindedness AND the survival and gleefulness part is not how I would characterize the later half of the book. But those are gripes, and nothing more!
It is a book which has its heart in the right place. Starting from putting our biases right in our face at the beginning of the book, to the struggle we all go through when faced with an uncomfortable truth about our biases. We accommodate, but only so much. In the process, the book also touches relationships. On the flip side, it keeps most of it superficial and does not dig deeper.
Anwesha Nair is a journalist who has taken time off from her work to finish her novel. Except, destiny has other plans. On her very first break day, she creates a mini-storm by voicing her biases against a eunuch, Raghubir Kishore, who rents an apartment across the hall. Kishore, not one to back down, parks himself at her place till he can find another place to stay at. The short term arrangement becomes a room-mate relationship where Kishore is always the bigger human being, And Anwesha’s human side is always catching up. Gradually, she starts overcoming her biases, only to get throttled by them again because of our social obligations. Soon afterwards, Vikram Madane joins the band, as the one who takes over Kishore’s earlier flat. A boisterous, full of life young man, he completes a trifecta of three distinct personalities blending well together. So far so good, and reasonably well told.
Except, good things don’t last. Their friendship doesn’t either.
The events, here, were also the point where the characters change as individuals and and are supposed to mature differently.
However, at this point, the book starts hurrying through the motions, depending on a series of contrived events to take the story to a conclusion that you can probably see a few miles away. While you stay with Anwesha as she struggles with her ego, Vikram gets a cursory revival, and Kishore does not. All references to Kishore from here onward are in third person. The impact the unfolding events have on Anwesha is clear, but not so much for the others. The characters move a little too rapidly, and somehow, the situations are not handled with a lot of depth.
Indrani Singha Majumdar‘s prose is simple, but her insights shallow. Her choice of subject is brave, her treatment fair. The book is a short 150 page read, and leaves you with a half-baked taste. The promise of the first half comes undone in the second. The usual missing editorial rigor can be felt all through. Yet, as a first attempt, it is not half bad, and I hope Indrani delves deeper into the psyche of her characters in her future books, and gives all the characters their due (and ink).
Ah, one last thing, and then I am definitely gone – The forced three vantage points was avoidable.
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