Born and brought up in Punjab, Asha leads a peaceful life with her best friend Nargis and love interest Firoze till August 1947. However, the night before partition, things take a turn for the worse. Asha and her family flee their neighbourhood in the newly born Pakistan, in hopes that they may one day be able to return. In the aftermath of Partition and the struggle to get to India, she loses her family to riots and has to make her journey all alone. Radhika Swarup’s Where The River Parts revolves around Asha’s new life in India and her unfulfilled dream of uniting with Firoze.
Swarup’s novel is a riveting account of what two lovers’ lives may have been like during the era of Partition. The pain of parting, the hopefulness of meeting again, the resignation and finally the acceptance of circumstances – Swarup brings to the fore Asha’s feelings without dwelling at any moment longer than necessary. The book is pacey, and is amply detailed. However, the end wasn’t convincing. The climax came too abruptly and left a few ends loose.