A simple story, a practical girl Shalini and a man torn between his family values and his love for her Karthik all comes to a standstill when they plan to commit to each other. Rajpath is the place where they meet after office hours, hence the title is appropriate to the content. The omnipresent narration makes it difficult to give in because all it does is report the feelings, the conversations and the life of Shalini, which is not how a love story should be portrayed. There is hardly any chemistry and the insignificant talks on government job that puts you in a lull forgetting the plot for a while. I am sure Mishra had tried to put Shalini’s aspiration before anything else and that somehow took a little time to digest. Her relationship with everyone seems a little stoic even with her love interest. In trying to write a novel close to reality, it just falls apart.
Casteism and forced marriage seemed to fill just a few pages of the book and maybe the reader would come to know of a new term- Zabaria Shaadi, otherwise it really passes off as a dull narrative of a life that as a reader I would really not be interested in. Shalini comes off as a woman who can do anything for her man and is more transparent than Karthik. Karthik hardly has any heroic characteristics to him. He seems more like a pain in Shalini’s life than a positive influence. Karthik seems to be more bothered on how his brother would react to her and if they had said no, he would have just left her in a lurch. Being a Bihari, he seems to think that his side of the family has more traditions than any other. And when his prejudices of typecasting a Delhi girl start, it grates on the nerves. The undertones of sexual intimacy fails big time. It felt like the writer was uncomfortable with the whole concept of sex and love and wanted desperately to convey a social message than write a story.
The study tour had some good moments where Shalini tries to fit in but falls apart because she misses home and a female group. Her falling in love with Karthik becomes more like a mystery to me. He does care a lot about her but only because he wants to keep up the good impression but later in the novel his attitude is just damning. Shalini does have a great relationship with her parents and she comes out as a girl whom one could be comfortable with. Her bravery in the end when she rescues Karthik is commendable yet unappreciated when she plans to make the culprit pay.
The language used, strains the entire novel. There is no flow to the conversations, some even have been narrated in paragraphs. Personally, dialogues make a novel. Feelings that have been told than shown doesn’t work at all. I had a hard time finishing this one but since it’s the author’s first attempt I am hoping for a better one next time.