I have known Ritu Lalit through her parenting articles on Parentous.com. I used to devour each and every one of them as and when she would post them, for they were witty, no-nonsense and made a world of sense to me as a new mom. Those, along with her blogs, have always exuded the same confidence, wit, humor and attitude, which I presume are the characteristics of their author as well. And Ritu’s novel, Wrong for the Right Reasons doesn’t fail my presumption one bit.
Wrong for the Right Reasons is Ritu’s 4th novel, after Hilawi, Chakra and a Bowl Full of Butterflies. The story revolves around a woman fighting for divorce. Only here, the fight is not just against the unfaithful husband, who is eager to wash his hands off his responsibilities over his children, but also against every other person in the society – be it family, friends or outsiders. It is this war she wages that brings to light the real well wishers, and weeds out parasitic relationships. Strangers become confidantes for life, while blood relationships run thinner than water. How Shyamoli perseveres through all that to keep her head above water (and her children’s) and emerges, sanity intact, at the other end, is the crux of Wrong for the Right Reasons.
A story such as this runs a great risk of getting melodramatic or falling prey to cliches. For the struggle Shyamoli goes through is heart wrenching. Yet, Ritu’s novel is anything but melodramatic. Shyamoli doesn’t come across as a typical teary eyed victim. She is a survivor right from the beginning, and that is what I love about her most. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have emotions, but Ritu doesn’t allow her protagonist to drown in self-pity. For some reason, in the confidence that Shaymoli exudes and her attitude towards life, she seems to me very familiar to the image I have of Ritu in my mind. I respect that lady a lot, from what I know of her through her blogs and comments, and Shyamoli wins the same respect and admiration from me.
The characters are all well etched out. There are quite a number of them, but in one way or the other, they all add some meaning to the story. I especially like the fact that no character is completely black or white. They are, including Shyamoli, have their shades of gray. Which is how it should be, for that is how life is, isn’t it?
The writing is typical Ritu style – witty, crisp, devoid of unwarranted narrations. I found a couple of teeny weeny inconsistencies in the details. For example, Nimmi is shown to visit Shyamoli’s house in a sari, but when she is crying sitting in Shaymoli’s living room, the tear falls on the ‘kurti’. But there are no glaring errors, and the story is so engrossing that the mind did not even want to look for one.
In all, Ritu’s Wrong for the Right Reasons is a portrayal of life, just the way it is. And I absolutely love it!