I received Dangle by Sutapa Basu as a review copy from the publisher as a part of the blog tour by the Book Club. I would like to thank the author, the publisher and Rubina of the Book Club for the book.
Stunning, svelte, smart Ipshita is a globetrotter. She treks across the world to gather bytes for the travel chats she designs and hosts for TV channels. Despite being a self assured and sophisticated entrepreneur, Ipshita is haunted by a nameless fear. Social interaction with men unleashes psychotic turmoil inside her, making her wary of male attentions. Yet, the cold and aloof Ips is inexorably drawn to the three men she meets at different points in her journey.
Her arousal to the overtures of these men catches her unawares. Well-built defenses break as her dormant sexuality go into overdrive until she discovers the horrifying truth about them…and herself.
Life puzzles. Secrets tumble out. Will she be able to reclaim her life or let it dangle.
Ipshita Sen, a self-proclaimed globetrotter, lives in Noida with her parents and belongs to an Army background. A couple of years ago, she had given up a senior corporate position with a renowned Indian national channel to set out on her own. She designed, created and anchored visually appealing chat shows profiling travels and tours. She sold her shows to television and on line channels. She decided to create her own chats and endeavored to offer something new to her audience. Recently, she had begun to add unique event features to some travel destinations in her chats.
Interactions with strange men made her jumpy but she maintains a coolly aloof demeanor. She has panic attacks which manifest as headaches and takes medication for the same.
She has an elder sister, twelve years older to her, who is married to an Army Officer and stays in Manipur. Aditya Rao has been her best friend and confidante since childhood. Their parents were friends and the two families stay next door to each other. Five years older to her, Adi has been her emotional anchor through her turmoils and she confides in him. obsessed with her security, he has been her shadow, rather than the other way round. Her parents want her to get married but she feels marriage would imprison her.
The book starts with Ipshita’s assignment in Chicago to take her audience on a round of Chicago’s touristy delights. The grandstand view of the sensational skywalk by a tightrope acrobat across Chicago River on a wire, slung between two skyscrapers nearly 600 feet above the ground. The show is hosted by Star Nation, a channel for whom she has hosted high value earners. She compares Chicago to Delhi in many aspects.
Ipshita is surprised to hear voices reflecting her thoughts when in Chicago. She meets Amar Seth, a shippie who is on work as well as leisure and goes to have dinner with him. She then decides to go to Manipur, on a professional and personal trip and there she meets Aakash Nag. And on a trip to Singapore and Indonesia, she meets Steve D’Silva.
And then a certain realization dawns and she confides in her parents and Adi……
Initially, it took me a little time to get a hang of the book but once I could, it was unputdownable. The book is evenly paced, neither too slow nor rushed. The author has used simple language to narrate the story. Her command over the language is reflected in the words chosen. She has included her own poem and translated work of Tagore in the book. The story has elements of suspense, tension, twists and turns.
The characters have been beautifully created. All the characters have a significant role to play in the story even the people she meets during the course of her travels.
Ipshita is independent, innovative, independent and bold. She dangles between the past and the present, the demons of the past keep niggling and affect her present and she tries to fight the demons herself and comes back up, like the ‘Hit me’ toy that we played with when we were kids. Her relationship with her parents has been beautifully described. Her father understands her well and her mother is a typical mother, verbally expressing her concern for her daughter.
I loved Aditya. He is caring, sensitive, practical, romantic, understanding, an ideal friend, an ideal son, and always there for Ipshita. He is the ideal boyfriend, he does not think twice before rushing to Manipur to be with her when she calls him. Their relationship is the kinds everyone wants in friends.
The book reflects the extensive research undertaken in the descriptions of people and places. The descriptions are detailed and easy to picturise. She has described nature and places where Ipshita travels like a travel magazine right down to the minutest details. She has described the army life in great detail including a lot of terms used in the Army and also the life of people in places where there are insurgency problems.
The author has gone into details about Ipshita’s problem. I wanted a closure, but the end left me ‘dangled’….
Loved the book and am looking forward to more from the author. If this is the debut, then……..
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the e-book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.