Book: Silk Fish Opium
Author: Jaina Sanga
Rating : 3 1/2
There are countless tales of Hindu-Muslim romance that have been talked about through the years. But Jaina’s debut novel tugs a heartstring somewhere in you. Set in the time of Partition, when the nation bled, she takes you through the simple love story of Rohini, the daughter of a rich Gujarati silk merchant and Hanif, a simple and unrecognised musician. Their innocent love, however, is complicated by the troubled time of Independence and the bloodshed that followed.
You can relate to Hanif and Rohini, their concerns and some tough decisions that they have to make, which determine and constantly change to course of their lives. As the characters grow, mature and learn to adapt to the changing world around them, the mood of that turbulent time becomes more apparent to those of us who did not experience the Partition itself.
Startling relevations, heartbreaking reactions by families and the harsh reality of India as it was then — and to some extent is even today — keep you engrossed and turning pages. What’s fascinating is that as you read, you find yourself questioning who you are, and how you would react had you been in such the same position as Rohini, Hanif or their family members. It may even leave you re-evaluating who you think you know yourself as.