Saturday, June 25, 2011

"All and Nothing" by Raksha Bharadia

There are some stories that you read and forget as soon as you complete reading the book. And then, there are some other stories that linger with you for a long time even after you have finished the last chapter in the book. “All And Nothing” by Raksha Bharadia is definitely a novel that belongs to the latter category.

The story revolves around 5 friends-Poorvi, Kriya, Manas, Upasana and Tina. All of them are victims of situations that have broken their hearts and souls.

Manas is a journalist and after living with Gayatri for seven long years, he is still not able to commit to marriage due to financial issues. Gayatri leaves him on the pretext that he is not serious about their relationship. Unable to come to terms with her separation he goes into depression and tries all methods to woo her back.

Poorvi is an elite socialist who is obsessed with the idea of having a son who can continue the age old social system of patriarchy. When she is unable to bear a son, she considers herself less worthy. In her desperation to bear a son, she undergoes an abortion when she comes to know that the fetus in her womb is a girl.

Kriya runs a very popular and successful fashion studio. But she cloaks her lack of originality and creativity by employing some of the best of talents in the fashion industry and making their designs her own. Reason? She is scared of disappointing her father who is a major name to reckon within the fashion industry.

Upasana is a willful victim of domestic violence and is prone to hide all her bruises and black eyes under long sleeved dresses and large sunglasses. Upasana is fearful of the hypocritical society where men treat all female divorcees as easy target and women perceive them as a threat, as someone who could lead their husband astray.

In the crux of the story is Tina, who falls hopelessly in love with Aditya. Starry eyed she marries Aditya only to find out that he is still in love with his ex-wife, Antara. Aditya is not able to forget Antara and reciprocate the love that Tina showers on him. Instead he begins to think of her as clingy and needy for attention. What happens when Antara comes back in their life? Will Aditya remain faithful to Tina or does he go scampering back into the seductive arms of Antara. Read the book to find out.

This book reaffirms my belief that marriage is the greatest gamble you play in life. If you are lucky enough to find a partner who loves you and you reciprocate the love in equal measures then you are indeed blessed. But if this not the case then it can break you and leave you heartbroken for life. The book shows how we can raise above our personal grief to free ourselves from the emotional baggage that all of us carry in our life.

The author Raksha Bharadia has weaved a beautiful and emotional story concentrating on complex human emotions. Most of us can relate to the story of Tina, the main protagonist, who is caught in a sham of a marriage. She is not able to free herself nor is she able to let go off the people who don’t belong to her. I did feel that the other characters were not defined. Their story and the emotional conflict in their lives are revealed only in the end. But that’s only a minor altercation in an otherwise brilliantly narrated story. I will go with 4/5 for “All And Nothing” by Raksha Bharadia. I am definitely going to recommend this book to my friends :-)

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at

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