Home by Manju Kapur begins as a love story of a Sona who marries into a cloth merchants family and finds herself barren. After many years of prayer and fasts, she is finally granted a baby girl, Nisha. And then a son in the coming years. The story continues to talk about the manglik Nisha, her life, changing times, taboos and cliches in a North Indian middle class family. And its not a typical book written by yet another Indian author. In fact, Kapur talks openly about oppression and sexual abuse that occurs in joint family. In addition, she perfectly depicts the problems most families still have with castes and social status. And while the book does end on a happy note, it teaches you a number of valuable lessons.What works for Home most is the empathy value. It's a simple story that is told from a number of perspectives. If you see the small-mindedness of the parents, you see the rebellious attitudes of the younger Banwari Lals.
Nisha is all of 25 when she decides to take her life into her own hands and begins her own small business. But her astrological falacies prevent any relationship from stabalizing and she watches her friends and younger family members all marry around her. Mind you cut to 2010, being 25 and career oriented is hardly seen as a tabboo. In fact, we admire girls who are independent. She is then sexually abused by her cousin brother and while the family realizes who the culprit is, they do not oust him but simply ensure there is distance between them. Yet another probable situation ensuring the family pride is honored.
Home has major holes but it doesn't really affect the pace or the matter of the book. You still can't stop turning the pages and by the time its the end, you wish she would go on. It really is a must read and while my copy is finding its way to becoming tattered and torn, its one I will land up reading yet again for the nth time.