Love in the time of Bharatanatyam!
When I first picked up the novel ‘Rasia-The Dance of Desire’, I said to myself, well another love triangle that I have to read and write about. But to my surprise I found the flow smooth, and the storyline was so gripping that it was un-put-down-able. I really wanted to know what happens next. One gets subsumed in to the lives of all the characters and could feel their emotions. Since I am a patient reader who waits to know the end by reaching there and not by turning to the last chapter, I found that each chapter of the book lets you sail to the next one seamlessly.
The protagonist and the women in his life
Out of the three main characters Raj Shekhar Subramanian catches my attention, he is so well etched out that it feels as if the author has based the character on a person she knows very well. His passion for Bharatanatyam, being stickler for rules and flaws all are balanced well with his dilemma of dealing with two women waiting for him on two different ends. And he can’t decide on one unless he has discovered the other. Manasi is Raj Shekhar’s wife, she is like the antidote for him, for she is all that he is not, she completes him, understands him, and supports him. She comes on her own when she is given the responsibility of putting up the show of her life in Manhattan. Manasi is an empowered woman, who knows nobody can take away her husband from her, not even an obsessed fan. Coming to the ‘other woman’, Vatsala Pandit, she is youthful, brash, and confident. She is obsessed with Raj Shekhar and his art, and wants to be known as his best dance companion, dismantling Manasi. And for this she can go to any extent. She somehow manages to get Kala Mandir to open its branch in Manhattan, so that she can learn and perform with ‘The Dancer’. While Manasi continues to be the antidote, Vatsala is a mirror image of Raj Shekhar Subramanian. The novel is about their complex, entangled and yet interesting lives.
The author through the novel skillfully traverses through the many facets of love—mutual trust, obsessiveness, the arrogance of passion, the need for self-fulfillment, the yearning for the beloved and the complexity of modern relationships. It subtly also showcase the dedication of Vatsala towards her passion for her art form only through her fixation for ‘The Dancer’. The accuracy of the technical details and the description of Manhattan speak of extensive research on the part of the author. The characters seem realistic and the language is easy and flowing. I will readily endorse this book to anyone who wants to carry it on a short flight, it is a good story, that is easy to read and can be finished in one go.