Kanchana Banerjee’s first book, A forgotten affair is an instant pick me up. Published by Harlequin, the book is the story of a lady suffering from amnesia and we come to know about her life from the people in her life, both pre and post amnesia. The story is set in Mumbai and Gurgaon.
Sagarika Mehta walks out of her nine-year old marriage, meets with a near-fatal accident and goes into a deep coma – all on the same day. After six months, she wakes up with no memory of her past. When she is discharged from hospital a year later, Rishab, her husband, whisks her away to an unfamiliar address in Gurgaon to convalesce.
There, in that plush apartment, with people waiting on her hand and foot, Sagarika can’t shake off the feeling that something is wrong.
Why does the scent of a particular cologne unsettle her? Why does the innocuous word ‘cheeni’ bother her? And why is Rishab so evasive in response to her queries about her past?
A Forgotten Affair is a gripping story of a woman caught between two worlds.
Sagarika, Rika, the only child of a Bengali mother and a Punjabi father, comes to Mumbai from Kolkata, for college. She is an artist and while she was a student, she met Amrita Joglekar, Roohi, in Mumbai, and they became best friends. Though the proverbial chalk and cheese, they were soul sisters and nothing could come between them. Roohi had become a part of Sagarika’s family and was invited to most functions. Then she meets Rishab Mehta and they get married. Though Roohi does not like Rishab and vice versa, Rika tries to manage both relationships.
Nine years after their marriage, when, Rishab Mehta is senior partner in a leading investment bank and she is living in a lap of luxury, she plans to leave Rishab and give herself a second chance.
Before her ideas can be realized, on 11th July 2006, there are serial bomb blasts in Mumbai involving local trains and she cannot be located. Rishab hunts high and low for her, searching every mortuary and hospital, with Shekhar, his best friend. He does not want her to be among the dead as he has an unfinished business with her and death would be too easy. Finally, he finds her with a structured skull and many injuries and shifts her to the best hospital. She goes into coma and survives with memory loss.
Rishab does everything to prevent her from remembering her past, shifts her to Gurgaon from Mumbai. He wants to start over, and tries to avoid her friend Roohi and her mother from meeting Rika. Instead, he brings her cousin Deepa Chowdhury to meet her and ensures that Deepa and Rika interact with each other a lot.
While she is recovering in the hospital, the word ‘Cheeni’ is familiar to her and Shekhar’s perfume brings back some memories. She logs on to Facebook with the help of her maid to look into her past, and there are numerous messages from someone called, Akash Batra, in her inbox.
Who is Akash? How does she know him? Will he be able to help her? Read on…………..
The cover is beautiful hats off to the designer. Two simple flowers have made it an instant pick me up. The story is simple and has been written in a way that it is easy to understand. It is a fast paced book, once it was in my hands, I could not keep it down till I finished it, because I really wanted to know, ‘What happens next’. The flow is good and even though the story moves back and forth between the present and the past and not once did I feel confused.
The author has set the story in two places- Mumbai and Gurgaon. The descriptions have been detailed in a way that they can be easily picturised.
A lot of detailing has been done while creating the characters. Sagarika is like someone we meet in our day to day life. She is vulnerable after the accident, dependent on her husband, maids and Deepa. Roohi, her best friend, shows what friendship is all about. Even the supporting characters like the doctor at the hospital, her maid in Gurgaon and her savior have a role to play in the story.
The conversations and the body language of the characters has been beautifully described. The first conversation between Sagarika and Akash shows how the frequency of their sense of humour is the same. The memory flashes that Rika has while recovering have been depicted well. Even how she logs on to the internet and facebook.
The book has been extremely well written, and the closure has been done well. The end goes well with the flow and I am hoping for a sequel.
Overall, an interesting, thrilling, mysterious read.