Jugnu by Ruchi Singh


Jugnu or firefly has been one of my favorite insects when I was growing up. When we were in the hostel and there used to be a powercut, we used to look out for these twinkling insects in the lawn behind our room. When the author Ruchi Singh asked me whether I would like to review her new book, Jugnu, I said yes, I would like to do it as I had read her previous book and loved them. This story is set in the hill station of Kasauli.

The blurb:

Zayd Abbas Rizvi, out on parole, wants to escape the suspicious eyes of the world and concentrate on rebuilding his future. He zeroes in on Kasauli, a small, quaint hill town.
Contrary to his expectations though, he is unable to find peace in the skirmish around the guest house, the antics of a three-year-old, and the deep, sad eyes of his mother. As he battles the demons of his past, falling in love is not in Zayd’s plan…

Ashima’s life is a long, tiresome struggle, until a tall, tattoo flaunting stranger registers in her guest house. Hoping against hope for a ray of sunshine in her life, unbridled attraction to a stranger is not what Ashima bargains for…

Will Zayd and Ashima be able to forego their past and embrace their present, even when they know that if things went wrong, all they’ll be left with is a broken heart and painful memories?

The story:

Ashima lives in Kasauli with her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, three year old son, Rishabh, and the hope that her ‘missing in action’ husband Rohit would be back one day. To make ends meet, they have converted their home into a guest house which is managed by Ashima.

Zayd Abbas Rizvi, out on parole, wants to make a new start in Kasauli, does not get a room in the hotel he had booked for himself and lands up at Ashima’s guest house. Initially, he tries to keep to himself but slowly gets involved with the family.

Ashima and Zayd are attracted to each other but both of have them have some responsibilities and some skeletons in their closet. And to top it all, Ashima’s responsibilities to her sister-in-law and her dominating mother-in-law add to her woes.

My take:

The story is simple and has been portrayed in a way that once I sat down with the book, I just did not want to keep it down. The characters have been beautifully etched, be it the main characters or the supporting ones. The strength of Ashima’s character has been portrayed by her silence, her tolerance and her simplicity. Zayd has his own secrets and anger. Rishabh is sweet and innocent at the same time.

The descriptions are vivid, both characters and the scenes have been portrayed in a manner that it was easy for me to visualize them. The feelings of the characters and their emotions have been beautifully described.

A beautiful story, written in an engaging way.


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