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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Homing Pigeons by Sid Bahri

Title:The Homing Pigeons 
Author: Sid Bahri
Publisher: Srishti Publishers& Distributors
Date:  2013
Price: Rs. 150
Pages: 320

First of all I would like to thank the author Sid Bahri for a copy of this book.

When the author first wrote to me about this book, I felt it was just another love story similar to the ones that are published everyday by everyone writing a book nowadays (though i am a strong protester of this phenomena that we see in India today). However, when Dr.Shashi Tharoor whose writings I have followed since the times he wrote columns for The Sunday Times gave a great opinion abut the book I decided to read it. Post reading I want to apologize to Sid Bahri for the initial neglect. This is one book after Left From Dhakeshwari by Kunal Sen and Bali & The Ocean of Milk by Nilanjan P. Choudhury where I do see a the bright hope for Indian literature internationally. 


This is the story of two people Aditya and Radhika whose destinies are intertwined in a  manner that no matter what situation the cruel life presents they do meet, confess their love and be together. The one thing that no situation could win over is the immense love in their hearts for each other. If by this you believe this is one of those mushy romance novels, then no it certainly is far away from that. I would call it "life story" but the way the story ends doesn't allow me to do that. It is set in the times when India faced an incident that is marked not only its calenders and history but engraved on peoples hearts and lives, the time just after Hindu-Sikh riot occurred post Indira Gandhi's assassination, the times when it was still afresh in peoples minds. This story will make you think how deep are these wounds decades after it happend and to what intensity it can effect the common man, who is not the one to start it but is affectected the most. 

The Story:
The boois about transition between past and present. It begins with Radhika now a millionaire widow, once gets her last compulsion, getting the step daughter married, feels that being rich now she could relax and live a peaceful life. However she finds herself dwelling into the past, more often the loneliness makes her think of Aditya....her only true love who could never be her husband though life gave them a number of opportunities. 

Aditya on the other hand hardly hit by recession and personal vengeance, looses his job at Citibank never to find one again in a span of another year. His life is all about being dominated by a wife who makes it known that "she runs the house". He succumbs to alcohol and meets a woman in a bar Divya, who blackmails him to sleep with her, and pays him for the same. That was the only money he had earned in past one year. He is in a dilemma as on one hand is his conscience and on the other Divya's comments "you are very good at this, you can really do well in this profession". He is ashamed, guilty at first but the first sign of currency like drops of land in a desert makes him think about it as a career option. He moves to Delhi and becomes a male prostitute. His body may be sold every day but his heart yearns to be in the company of only one woman that he ever loved Radhika. 

His narration begins from his childhood. As Radhika an unwanted financial burden to her parents who have two sons before her, is adopted by her uncle and aunt (as they cannot have children of their own) and life was well, until one day they discover that after more than a decade of marriage she was pregnant. So when there is a line of two sisters after her and the parents still trying for  a son, she is devoid of love or concern from her family. When she does well in class 10 and her school offers her a scholarship to study further, she is sent back to her original parents at Chandigarh. Being neglected twice by two sets of people whom she called parents, her heart bears marks of disappointment and a fear of being rejected, something that follows her forever.

The shifting to a city from a small town, a better school (compared to her earlier school which was a government school) initially leaves her a misfit in a bunch of rich brats. However she finds two good friends Shipra and Aditya. Aditya the male protagonist is a tall, fair and smart guy who though bad at accounts wins Radhika's heart. Both secretly admire each other but the fear of loosing their friendship, the fact that they were young and may find someone more interesting later and for Radhika the fear of being rejected never makes them able to confess, so after school they separate.

However, destiny experiments and they meet again, four years later at Citibank where both of them land in training camp in Delhi.  But fate again ditches them and they seperate.They meet again when Radhika visits the city. Not missing a chance Aditya first thing does confess his love for her and the years of seperation finally ends in love making. She leaves for home after that only to find her parents trying to fix a match with an NRI earning well. When she tells them about her love for Aditya her mother is of the opinion that he doesnt earn that much and her marrying him will be just burdensome. So for him, his career she leaves him.

However she regrets her decision as not just that Abhinav is a mouse where Aditya was a hunk but she cannot accept him completely as her only love was Aditya. She comes back to India and meets Aditya, being totally in love they cant resist each other.  But they forget that he is a Sikh and she a Hindu. His parents with their hearts are deeply wretched with wounds of the Hindu Sikh riots that killed his grandfather and ruined their businees completely fail to accept their innocent love. 

Destiny plays the most challenging game as at this very time Radhika is pregnant. Aditya on the other hand is stuck between his love and parents. They seperate. But they have been the homing pigeons and now they meet again. Will Radhika ever forgive Aditya? Will Aditya ever be able to leave his current profession? Will she accept him the way he is now? Do all love stories have a perfect ending? 

Cant wait to know what happens next??? Go grab a copy!!!

The Review:

Positives:  To begin with the coverpage is pleasant and eye cathing. The story is new, fresh, never heard of or imagine. The characters and situations are well portrayed and realistic.

 A intricate balance of emotions even as the story goes through very high and low points. Two things the author should be applauded for are : One he focuses solely on the story not giving an over does of love making scenes or tragedy as most Indian writers do to sell and that in my opinion makes it an exception and gives it quality. He in fact had a lot of scope but he chose the story. 

Two, the biggest achievement of the author here is the exceptional narrative technique. Just two characters each shuffling between their past and present. Both characters linked and therefore to avoid repetition and boring the reader is extremely difficult. It was a great risk to use such a difficult narrative technique especially by a debutant but he did a remar
kable job.  

Language is simple and flow is maintained at a good pace that makes you never leave the book. A crisp read.


At two points the author missed the past and present connect. However what he achieved throughtout is an unimaginable task especially for a debutant (I truly believe that Dr. Shashi Tharoor had the same opinion) and that is worth appreciating.

The verdict:  A story that will bind you right from page one till the end. Very well written and fresh concept. A book in the current Indian market where anyone can be an author and majority are not suited for international readers, this one is an exception. It has the story and the quality to change the trend. An  amazing unputdownable read. 4 stars out of 5.

A book that I will certainly like to re read again and again.

About the Author :

A hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry, Sid gave up a plush career in the outsourcing industry to follow his passions. Based out of Ranikhet, he is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. A selfproclaimed eccentric, he is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. Cooking stories, however,  is his passion. The Homing Pigeons is his debut novel.


  1. Nice review! I think I'll add this book to my reading list. :-)

  2. I loved this book too. I didn't notice the two instances where the author missed the past and present connect. Where was it?

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