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BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Heart has its Reasons

The author beautifully pictures a relationship between a courtesan?s daughter and a much-married lawyer.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2006 11:57 IST
Smitha Verma
Smitha Verma

The Heart has its Reasons
Krishna Sobti
Translation: Reema Anand & Meenakshi Swami
Price — Rs 250
Publication — Katha Hindi Library

The title may tell you all about the story, but don’t get carried away yet. It is definitely a torrid love affair gone sour but there is more than plain mush here. The author beautifully pictures a relationship between a courtesan’s daughter and a much-married lawyer.

What unfolds is love and the human emotions attached to this poignant desire of the heart. Selfishness, jealousy, hatred, courage, cowardice and infidelity… all these emotions are portrayed well through the characters.

And the heart has its reasons to display human strengths and weaknesses at the same time. Vakil Kripanarayan is drawn by the charm of Rahat Bano, daughter of Naseem Bano, a courtesan who hires the lawyer when she is accused of committing a murder.

The case is won by Kripanarayan and so is the daughter’s heart. What follows is a tussle in his marital life with wife Kutumb, even as he continues his relationship with Mehak Bano and rears two children out of wedlock.

It is an intricately woven story set in the Purani Dilli of the 1920s where the culture is predominantly evident relishing sweets, men having extra-marital affairs, the misery of a widow and black magic.

The book recently won the Hutch Crossword Book Award for the best Indian Language Fiction Translation. You finish reading the book and there are chances that you may want to read it all over again, just for the sake of delving deeper into the hearts of Kripanarayan and Mehak Bano.

Three powerful characters and three distinct voices screaming in different directions, yet all three of them find echo at the crossroads of life from where there is no turning back.

Pick this one for the simple language and the rustic beauty of the characters is bound to drive you down the bylanes of Dilli.

First Published: Mar 25, 2006 11:57 IST