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April 24, 2011




Page: 27/32

Home > 2011 Issues > April 24, 2011

A man's overpowering desire for fame
By Manju Gupta

Ours are the Streets, Sunjeev Sahota, Picador, Pp 313

THIS is a novel about a manís overpowering desire to find acceptance - a desire which is so strong that he is even willing to go to any length to get his wish fulfilled.

The story begins with Imtiaz Raina waiting to die. He has even penned a letter for his daughter Noor to "be a fighter like your abba" when she is old enough to read and understand it. He talks of his loneliness on looking out of the window and seeing "row after row of semi-detached houses, Toyotas parked out front, and I donít understand how people can invest so much hope in those things."

He remembers the days when he as a young boy comes across Rebekah. Before he can even take his parentsí permission to marry her, Rebekah becomes pregnant with his child. Imtiaz, after a lot of deliberation and hesitation, tells it all to his mother, who informs her husband. The parents are forced to accept Rebekah as their daughter-in-law, though Rebekahís mother is against the match right from the beginning. Imtiazís father runs a taxi and one day dies after getting admitted to the hospital for being ill. Both the deceased manís wife and son decide to take the body to Pakistan for burial. Imtiaz goes, leaving Rebekah behind. He overstays in Pakistan and when he returns, he finds Rebekah has left with their daughter Noor to stay at her motherís house.

He is unable to accept the arrangement and even conveys his unhappiness to Rebekah, who has meanwhile taken up a job to support herself as Imtiaz is unable to provide for her and the child.

Then enter Faisal, Aaqlik and Tarun and Imtiaz begins to doubt their intentions and thinks Rebekah is having an affair with Tarun. Here the author shows how much Imtiaz suffers during this period and how strongly he misses his fatherís presence. (www.picador.com)




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