Equations is the debut work of Shivani Sibal, and it is a compelling story of current caste differences, a desire for power, money, and love. It presents a disturbing perspective into the Indian class struggle, and we also see how the wealthy and powerful exploit it.
About The Book:
Author: Shivani Sibal.
Genre: Literary Fiction.
Buying Links: Amazon India.
Like family, but not quite.
In New Delhi of the 1980s, Aahan Sikand and Rajesh Kumar are childhood playmates. They have been brought up under the care of the same woman, living in the same house, but with starkly different realities – Aahan is the only son and heir of the fabulously wealthy Sikand family, and Rajesh is the son of the family’s driver, who lives in a tiny staff quarter on the grounds of their sprawling bungalow.
As Aahan and Rajesh grow up, the natural friendship they shared as children reaches an uncomfortable end, as both become aware of their places in the world. While Aahan is expected to keep what he has inherited intact for the next generation, Rajesh, in the eyes of the world, can, at best, hope for a life better than his father’s, free of domestic servitude. But he has much larger plans
Equations is a story of aspiration and social change, of individual ambition and family bonds. It announces the arrival of a striking new talent who examines the secret worlds of New Delhi’s political and business families.
I got this review copy from HarperCollins India.
Aahan Sikand is the only male heir of the Sikand empire while his friend, Rajesh, is their driver’s son. The boys grow together, under the care of Babita (Rajesh’s mother who is Aahan’s aayah) and soon their fragile friendship falls apart as the line between their status’ becomes clearer with time. Aahan has everything he can wish for, but Rajesh has to control his wants and be content in whatever Aahan discarded. From old clothes to toys, everything Rajesh has, once belonged to Aahan.
In time, Aahan’s dad finds love in another lady, Nooriya, and the flourishing love affair influences his family’s dynamics. This obviously affects Aahan’s life along with his mother’s and sisters’.
On the other side, Rajesh came across the possibility of living a dignified and fulfilling life.
The novel strongly focuses on the prevalent caste system in the country. It shows how some people who are born with a silver spoon, get everything they desire, even if they don’t deserve any bit of it. On the other hand, people who struggle hard to survive, are often stepped upon by the privileged ones.
The author gave a very interesting aspect to the message with the characters and the plot. The high-class parties, the gossips, hypocrisy, only adds to the story.
Aahan and Rajesh’s contrasting journeys and destinies in the novel, brings out the stark reality of the life.
The plot of the novel jumps from one timeline to another swiftly sometimes, and abruptly in the other. It takes a round journey and completely falls in sync with the starting. This one point was very impressive.
However, at some points the plot digressed a lot. It went from one character to another, to another, to another, and then back to the first one.
The novel began well and piqued my interest, but halfway through the book, the plot became fragmented, and I lost track of it sometimes. Nonetheless, the book has a powerful message and deserves one read.