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Harp Paperback – 2016
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Harp by Nidhi Dalmia, 9384439894, 9789384439897, AuthorsUpFront
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Lauren is a young Polish woman who has a calling to music and the Harp .She is in love with Ashok and yet deeply rooted to her European heritage and torn between Ashok and her love for music .Meanwhile Ashok too is torn between his duty to his family but the oppressive Indian bureaucracy and his desire for Lauren keeps egging him to leave Indian shores and settle with Lauren .Lauren wants to move out of her oppressive communist country and chart a future in Europe .Of course there is the huge cultural difference too , they cannot make a commitment to each other as they are still unsure of their future together but keep in touch nevertheless .Meanwhile the attractive Lauren finds many suitors who try to sweep her off her feet and her parents too want her to settle with a European rather than an Indian boy .
As the story progresses,Lauren and Ashok find it difficult to keep this long distance undeclared love alive and an Indian girl named Aparna - smart , attractive and independent enters Ashok's life .
While Ashok was a well read and a lover of art ,dance ,theatre and all things fine which were resonated in Lauren's personality too , Aparna was attractive but did not share Ashok's love for the performing arts and books .Ashok's family meanwhile found it easier to accept Aparna,an Indian as their future daughter -in -law rather than a foreigner .
It does not help that Aparna too is based in California and here again distance plays a spoiler .
Matters are further complicated when a determined red blooded Italian painter Carlo starts to court Lauren .
The book has an interesting twist at the end .
Author has meticulously penned the story including most of the intricate information pertaining to love clubbing with the lifestyle of Europe. The story revolves around 3 characters but predominantly on the protagonist Ashok. The other two being Lauren and Aparna.
Ashok was born in a industrial family and leaves to Europe for higher studies, mostly to implement the learning in his dairy company. He goes across various countries and cities which includes Paris, Wroclaw, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Norway and UK among others. He ends up meeting different women across these places which includes Nicole, Barbara, Vera, Hanna and Irina but most importantly he meets Lauren and falls for her.
Luckily for him, his love gets reciprocated but destiny had other plans. He could not stay there forever as he has come back to take care of his father's business since he was getting old and lot of issues started coming up in his company after the independence where the rules were really strict and regulated.
What I liked the most is about touching upon the local lives in each and every location with minute attention detailing from the food to how the people over there behaved. The novel is a real bulky one but I am sure those who love reading a lengthier novel would not find any difficulty in going through this in full and the price tag for such a beautiful novel is very much justified.
It kind of made me connect with my own life incident as well but jut that I wasn't there but had my own phase of life where my ex girlfriend was from Kiev and we could not continue any further due to the distance and culture(something similar to the one portrayed in this novel) even though our parents knew about our inclination to each other. So I could very well feel and place myself in the place of the protagonist Ashok.
In the meanwhile, Lauren has to move away from her place for a better life and she meets someone and so as Ashok who ends up meeting Aparna.
What happens in the end is what this novel is all about. Give it a read. You will find it a real soothing one, especially if you have had an experience of the protagonist at any given point of time in your life.
Being a coming of age story, the book Harp, also takes the reader on a journey across various countries and in the midst of all these explores the social mindsets and the economic conditions in India and abroad, the challenges faced by the people and the revolutions that keep playing hide and seek with its existence.
Harp, may not be a regular love story, but it will hook onto you. It is heartbreaking for a few while comforting for others, it makes you believe in it while the simple essence of the story being truth and hope.The story of the book Harp is about the second chances one deserves, one longs for and the one wastes.
The book Harp by author Nidhi Dalmia connects the various strings of human life from love to music, travel, survival, countries, culture, reforms and existence in itself and how we humans try and hit the strings perfectly and probably that's why the name HARP!
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