Sometimes a story appears hackneyed to some, yet it remains vibrant and a cherished affair. Such is the rite of passage of witnessing one'sheart-throb and the ensuing torrid fling. The writer, Pankaj Pandey reeled under these exalting emotions of affaire de that surge ahead ground-swelling all other preoccupations.
Love congeals at the first sight. The writer finds himself in throes of love with Shikha, his ?phantom of delight? as William Wordsworth would describe it ?when she first gleam?d upon my sight?. His state is a stereotype of a passionate lover huffing and puffing, ?impatient? to hold back any further like William Shakespeare has in his poem ?Seven ages of man? that ?sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress ?eyebrow?. Pankaj is unequivocal over her immaculate beauty as Lord Byron wrote his poem ? ?She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies?. Pakaj too says, ?she dazzled! She was flamboyat!?I like her ?..everything?. These redeeming features bear the hallmark of a lover.
But societal mores and morbid ideas keep them apart initially and ultimately as well. At times he would make an advance and Shikha would coyly reciprocate while at times her petulant mood would vacillate and let down the author'sego. A hackneyed yet vibrant picture is of a lover getting mesmerized by the mellifluous voice of his beloved ? ?Her voice was so sweet?. And the confessions of a novice lover that ?She was unaware about the sense of excitement that used to engulf me every time I talked to her?.She was quixotic? rivets a unique rapport with the reader recounting upon his own youth. The duologue remains an archetype of a lover duo in all ages and shall remain so albeit with a new makeover, with prospective profiles written on a web portal, Orkut. A cellular telephone becomes an indispensable contraption that has a lesser known role ? that of uniting couples. In the author'scase it becomes a veritable pacemaker triggering impulses of rigours of love.
About understanding love, the poet quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson ??For the experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet?. Pankaj Pandey suffices each of the chapters with such epigrammatic raillery. For learning the art of appeasing a woman, he undertook reading ?Men are from Mars, women are from Venus?. The author often includes portions of their arcane dialogue to put forth their steamy love affair. He goes on to narrate those moments of lows and highs that inflate and deflate a lover. Every reader is bound to find oneness, whether a man or a woman of any age to recognise a familiar experience of one'sown youth. The author'sobsession with the thoughts of his beloved amidst other impeding duties aggravates the predicament of the writer and reader alike. His dependency upon his beloved endearing a hush-hush affair in Indian settings is also interesting. And Pankaj Pandey had esteem for his beloved as well ? ?Shikha was a great motivator?, a rivetting factor for a lasting relationship.
And then the crescendo ??Augmenting love? with tying the nuptial knot.? The writer quotes Wallace Stevens, ?After the final no, comes a yes, and on that yes the future world depends? and quite so, it happened as such in the author'scase too. It took ages for the author to muster up with ? ?I will marry you? and Shikha conceded ? ?You are the ultimate; you are invincible?. But then some quirk of fate ripped them asunder impaling the reader'scockles. All castle-building is dashed smithereens. Has he been spurned at or got embroiled in the rigmaroles of societal casuistry? But yet amidst imperiled hopes a glimmer of silver lining flutters, his confidante Ishita says so. An intriguing heart-rending cliffhanger leaves the reader dismayed.
(Mahaveer Publishers, 4764/2A, 23-Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110 002.)