Book Review: Seeking Redemption
Author: Dr Madhu Vajpayee
Publisher: Half Baked Beans Publishing
Released in 2015
Rating: Three and a half stars
Price: Rs 199
Seeking Redemption is about the struggle between the high class, the cream of the crop and underdog in society who struggle to be part of the system but both classes are often wronged by caste based policies, dirty politics and manipulation. How both classes are wronged by the political system is the answer ‘Seeking Redemption’ that thrives to offer. The book doesn’t caste a judgement on classes, politics but it’s about the struggle of two characters, one hailing from the upper class and the other a middle class, bounded by love, yet it’s personal. It’s about the values enshrined in our personal ethics and how we view injustice being meted out. It’s a tragedy how often politicians overlook merit at a time when we speak about the whole quota issues in the medical field.
It’s quite an irony when someone from the upper class is discriminated upon when the politically popular belief gives the ‘wrong perspective’ that they are working towards the poor. ‘False class consciousness’ can be an aberration of sort. Having said that, Seeking Redemption is not just about caste based politics but about the belief in justice and fairness. What one does, when everything else fails? Dr Madhu Vajpayee has perhaps relied on her personal experience as a doctor in shedding light on the whole reservation policy, discrimination and yes. medical ethics. The answer lies in ‘Seeking Redemption where the personal and ethical side are often found at logger heads with each other. A must read on power struggle, love, reality check where the poor are left behind and a honest educated class is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It’s her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste-based politics. Her path is crossed by two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are going to change her life forever. If it is Aman Sharma who can challenge her ideals, defy her resolves and make her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay Bharti’s sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It’s also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.
In a world ruled by ugly politics in the medical corridor, there is one Meera who head is always held high by honesty and ethics, inculcated by her middle class family and on the other side, Aman, a honest man, suffering from bruised ego and wronged by the system, who is hell bent to fight the system. A clash of ideologies where Meera’s life was going to change when she met and fell in love with Aman, The author has explored the conflict between Meera and Aman with so much competence as well as the strained relationship between her and mother. The book also cast a shadow on the social prejudice raging high in society where Meera’s mother is concerned with the daughter’s marriage, often obliterating the fact that she is highly educated. On the other side of the coin, there is Abhay, Meera’s silent lover, who is totally selfless and ultimately wins over his lady love.
Dr Madhu draws the doll analogy with so much power and how once broken, it becomes impossible to fit the parts together. It’s an emotional sequence, deftly weaved, drawing inference to her life torn between her aspirations and selfless love for Aman.
“And, she cried..her only doll was broken into several pieces and didn’t know how to join all pieces to make it once again. Today her turmoil was the same again.”
Dr Madhu Vajpayee brings to the forth an engaging discussion cum conflict between Meera and the Minister on the reservation issue where none of the protagonists in real life situation is willing to explore it with honesty. The author aptly taps the whole hypocrisy surrounding it through the voice of Meera. “If you would have really cared for their welfare, they wouldn’t have been suffering today even after 60 years of independence,” referring to the poor whom every politicians pretend to defend nowadays. The heated argument is engrossing and thought-provoking when one looks at the whole reservation issue in India where caste and the backward classes are taken for granted, or for that matter, the Vyapam scam. Simple, honest, brilliant and effective.
There is so much to Meera’s shade of character, be it taking the cause of her maid whose daughter is raped by her own brother. The main protagonist, in her quest for justice, testifies against her own brother for the child she considers as her own. Great job Madhu has done in depicting the innocent and shy child who would accompany her mother to Meera’s house. It tears the heart out.
The author, Dr Madhu Vajpayee’s books stands out through the power packed quotes which reflects the anger in a society, where merit is forgotten and the cacophony of love, conflict and hope that eludes us. Here’s leaving you with some my favorites and damn powerful ones:
“Yes, we have to seek redemption! Redemption from the divisive politics based on caste and religion, redemption from the corruption which is eating our lives like termites, redemption from misery of poverty, redemption from the sins of our venal politicians. We need good governance and accountability. An individual has to fight for the things he rightfully deserves. People do not need crutches of any kind if the basic conditions of nation are conducive to their growth. It’s ridiculous; people are first deprived of basic amenities, denied their dues and then offered carrots to benefit the vote bank politics.”
“When you are angry with someone, at least you acknowledge that person’s existence. But with indifference,you kill him by invalidating his very existence.”
“Sometimes it’s easier to live when there is no hope left. A strange sense of freedom ironically fills up the space where earlier hopes lived.”
Seeking Redemption is a honest attempt in exploring the issue of reservation with love as the backdrop but it does suffer at times. I feel that the author should have further explored the conflict with her family after her brother Raghu rapes the small child, showcasing her own battle and quest for justice. Also, I feel the character of Meera’s cousin, Rahul could have been let out due the mitigated impact while the angle between Abhay and Meera should have been treated more deeply. But, I respect the author’s creative space.
The book explores the whole reservation issue and hypocrisy cum manipulation that goes around with the lack of political will to attack the core of the issue. Dr Madhu Vajpayee has made a bold attempt in exploring the subject while at the same time, she injects the love angle, conflict between characters and social prejudices in a battered system where the hardworking educated youth are left out in this whole ego trip by the corrupted. A must read and great job by Dr Madhu Vajpayee, who has written a honest book which is true to real life instances.