Book Review: Your Truth or Mine?

Love is at the centre stage of this dramatic tale

Your Truth or Mine? Trisha Sakhlecha

Adultery, having affairs as casually as stopping for tea at a wayside teashop simply because it is there, informs the zeitgeist of today. Morals are flaccid and so are feelings of love. Add to this a desire to live one’s life fully without an accompanying sense of responsibility, either to oneself or one’s family. It is a rough, uncouth way of living that strews pain and destruction wherever it turns. And, it happens among the best of families where neither money nor education nor opportunities is lacking.

Trisha Sakhlecha’s Your Truth or Mine? cavorts between abandonment and clinging, a loss of freedom, and a ready willingness to abdicate responsibility. Things get rolling in a marvellous location in Rajasthan, where a wedding is to take place.

Mia, the younger sister, who fell madly in love and married her Roy without parental approval, now takes an active role in making her older sister Addi’s wedding perfect. It is a lavish affair of silk and roses and lamps and gorgeous gifts with a cosmopolitan mix of guests, a tour to the sights, the works. It reeks of luxury. Unnoticed by anyone comes Destiny, an uninvited guest, to the wedding. If Mia had not gone along to the photoshoot with Roy, and met Emily, the make-up artiste and location scout all rolled into one, and invited her to Addi’s wedding, and if Emily had not come dangerously close to Roy at the wedding to exchange her first kiss with him, would things have gone differently?

Roy is a child in the guise of an adult. Coming from an extremely privileged family, the role he has perfected is that of a defiant teenager. All he has learnt in life is to follow his desires. “I did want to be with you. I just don’t think I realised how much I would be giving up,” says Roy to Mia, his wife. Mia is a child who has failed to grow up. She’s still caught up in the marriage difficulties of her parents, desperate to make her own marriage perfect, idolises her father, and cannot get over his death. She is trying to handle a challenging job, run a family, appease her estranged parents-in-law, not to mention a bristly husband, and resorts to panic attacks and a therapist.

The story that follows is what happens when two children play at setting up home. Roy wants to travel for a year on his own, following his dreams. Mia wants to start a family. The stage is set for a perfect marital drama. When expectations get too much to cope with, the child-man escapes to have a fling simply because it is available and comes with no strings attached. Or so he thinks. When it starts to balloon and take up more space than he had bargained for, he turns his sights elsewhere and before you can blink, he has lost his heart once again. This time, it’s a pale-skinned, dark-haired woman, and although he is blissfully unaware of it, she is also his nemesis. And if our appetite for escapades has not been yet appeased, there is more to come. Mia, who dotes on her daddy, must retrace the path of her childhood to understand what had gone so terribly wrong that memories are suppressed and lips sealed, that the slightest brush with it brings on panic attacks and leaves her broken.

Add a missing person to the scene. By and by, the missing person turns out to be a dead person, a young, pregnant woman strangled to death. When the heat is on, parents un-estrange themselves. They hire the best solicitor that money can buy. Slowly, the client’s past history of violence and murder trickles out.

Trisha Saklecha artfully weaves Mia’s and Roy’s stories together to show how they have skilfully messed up their lives. The whodunit offers some relief from all the deceit and provides a slight tug of interest. Sadly, all too soon, it teeters and falls on its face like a child wearing a ridiculous pair of high-heeled shoes. The whodunit is dubious and problematic. But who can quarrel with an author?

Trisha Saklecha knows how to tell a story. The parts that deal with marital discord ring true. The dog-eat-dog world of Mia’s professional life and her striving sound authentic. But so much else is contrived. The whodunit is an abrupt turnaround. That should, in truth, provide tingling of nerves, hammering of heart, the mad rush of adrenaline, but there is nothing. Nothing. The ends are tied together because the author would have it so.

The telling of the tale is all very well, if only there had been a tale to tell.

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