Title: After the Storm
Author: Lakshmy Ramanathan
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs 250
If taken in a positive manner, ambition can be most pertinently described as one of the driving forces of our lives. Ordinary mortals cannot live stoically sans desires and dreams. Ergo, like millions of the youngsters aspiring for shining careers, Meenakshi Iyer, a young girl from Chennai, chooses Mumbai as her new destination.
Living there with her maternal uncle and aunt, she manages to find the job of a trainee in the office of The Daily Times and strives to translate her dreams into reality. Thus, this latest novel After the Storm by Lakshmy Ramanathan can be categorised as a detailed account of the life of a budding woman journo who has to confront many hardships associated with her job.
Indeed, the author has succeeded in depicting the various shades of the world of Indian media, primarily because of the fact that before turning a full-time writer, Ramanathan had worked as a journalist with the Daily News & Analysis and The Times of India.
Although India has emerged as a fully evolved nation with her robust democracy, when it comes to choosing a career, many youngsters are still not spared enough of the elbow room and allowed to chart their own courses. In fact, in the case of female children, this space shrinks further and most parents exhort their daughters not to land in the unexplored territories rife with perils.
Despite the conspicuous annoyance of her protective parents, Meenakshi’s indomitable spirits bring her to the daunting world of media. As the late night shifts, heaps of unsavoury assignments, pesky office politics and incessant gossip-mongering about her fling with an influential senior colleague Mr Rathore begin to hang heavy upon her, she takes refuge in the comfortable company of her former suitor Rakesh. Once during a late night office party, Meenakshi is sexually assaulted by uncouth Rathore. This act of perversity is a big enough reason for the girl to snap her ties with this depraved man.
In the light of the ongoing #MeToo movement that has mainly engulfed the media vertical, this novel assumes greater relevance. On the other hand, Meenakshi’s relationship with Rakesh has its own roughs and tumbles as she is not yet prepared to marry. After a hiatus, they both meet again at Meenakshi’s prenatal home where they arrive to attend the
wedding of a mutual relative.
Amidst all this, the stormy weathers of the state of Tamil Nadu wreak havoc with flash floods and torrential rains. Distraught over the water-woes of the victims Rakesh, too, joins the rescue squads and in his attempts to save the life and limb, goes missing.
This turns out to be perhaps the stormiest moment of Meenakshi’s life who finally realises the profundity of her love for Rakesh. Unsure of Rakesh’s fate, the readers are also on tenterhooks. But much to the relief of all, Rakesh is rescued safely with the efforts of his beloved and her brother.
Eventually, after the storm, the sparkling sun of happiness begins to shine back on the firmament of their lives. Written in colloquial language, laced with a smattering of vernacular and journalistic lingo, the novel appeals to the readers of every class and hue, though it is definitely going to cut much ice with the media community.