Despite Stolen Dreams is a literary fiction by Anita Krishan which is serious as well as constructive in tone. You might have been reading the novels based on terrorism in the valley of Jammu & Kashmir in the past days and you might have praised them as well. However, my personal experience with the fiction based on terrorism of any kind has not generally been well; most of the authors, in this or that way, tend to demean this or that thing and eventually, they tend to come to conclusions which are not conclusive – either the abstract from the excessive practicality is missing or the practicality of the excessive abstract is missing. However, Despite Stolen Dreams by Anita Krishan is a different kind of novel altogether. It has emotions, but it’s certainly not all-emotive. It implies rational; however, it does not offer an over the counter rationalism to the readers. It has a certain contribution of realism in the plot; nevertheless, it does not become overtly realistic with factual inconsistency! Let’s get into the details of this certainly-seminal novel by an author who certainly does not parade with a halo around her head but she does possess something called literary class and writing qualities which put her in a league with the phenomenal writers of the country!
Anita Krishan’s novel Despite Stolen Dreams opens with the ‘seeds of terrorism’ and it clearly mentions the scenario which we all know but do not call it out because of several issues. She catches the truth behind the hyperboles and readers certainly love it. The elderly protagonist Wali Khan gets his narrow escape from the valley of Kashmir before the terrorists could fulfil their vengeance on him just because he did not agree to marry her daughter to a terrorist called Shakeel. After this episode, we see things settling down in Delhi and terrorism takes the backseat. After the initial glitches, Wali Khan settles himself and makes himself further comfortable when he meets a fellow old man named Kashmira Singh who is a happy Sardar in the Octobers of his life like Wali. They both share their tragedies and thus build a bond between them which converts into a beautiful ‘chemistry’ which becomes contagious enough to affect almost the entire society. They bring the Kapoor family together; they help Rao realise what is a smile and happiness and they also bring Rosemary on happy terms with the life. Everything goes fine and you will be delighted to read the delicacy with which a Kashmiri girl Meher realises that her dreams are just like the dreams of other women in the society and she meets her fate – love as well a perfect career! Everything has been done been very well by Anita Krishan and we realise that they are living the dreams of their lives! And amidst everything good going around, terrorism strikes back and dreams feel like stolen once more… will everything fall flat for Wali? Will Meher lose everything once again? Will the terrorists succeed in their malice agenda? Will something like 26/11 be repeated in Delhi?
Well, to know the things which take place before the curtain falls, you certainly need to read the novel Despite Stolen Dreams for yourself. I am not going to reveal the catch and make your interest in this wonderful novel any lesser. You have to read it! Nevertheless, I will certainly reiterate my opinions about the book in short paragraphs below:
The vision with which Anita Krishan has written Despite Stolen Dreams is pointing towards construction and not the subversion; and this is, certainly, a good sign for the literature in India on a broad scale. Coming to what it has for the readers, Anita offers a 303-page novel which will not bore the readers unlike most other works in the contemporary fiction. Her writing style generates a reader-friendly textual-contour which motivates a reader to read the novel further and further…
Another thing that I would like to bring to the readers’ attention is that the novel is full of twists which any reader will certainly enjoy! They will like to experience the thrill of the events as they take place in the text. The plot is all intriguing and it has a pace which makes it a one-way read for the readers. As a reader, you will surely like to read the novel as soon as possible!
And at last, Despite Stolen Dreams and all other novels written by Anita Krishan are surely wonderful contributions to the Indian English Literature and she deserves an appreciation for the same. Her fiction certainly qualifies to be called literary fiction because it’s just not the emotional bravado or ideological bluster! And I am sure that the readers will be enjoying all the moments while going through the reading experience!
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by Ravi for BTR