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Sarita Singh's Angelic Beats: Canonising the marriage between a teenager boy and a married woman
Sometimes in fiction cows can climb the trees. In her fictional debut Angelic Beats (ISBN 978-93-84226-50-3) published by Frog Books Mumbai, the wonderful narrative deals with the story of a boy in his late teens who falls in love with a married woman. Both defy their age differences. The woman for her looks and innocence and the boy for his confidence and clarity in life along with integrity. The journey of the boy for his passion also becomes the journey of love for both that finally takes them to more meaningful destinations.

In Sarita Singh's Angelic Beats an unconventional theme of a young boy of 19 falling in love with a woman of 24, not very unusual in Western society though, is undertaken for the readers to decide if it is ethical or imaginatively satisfying. The authoress who is herself a state Civil Services Officer mingles personal experiences with creative imagination to tell the new kind of story where some streak of impossibility mars the logical culmination of the narrative. Reading and writing have always been a part of Sarita Singh, who is a post graduate in Chemistry and had teaching experiences too, which are used in some parts of the fiction.

She who used to write her diary from a very young age. Like many others she too loves gossiping and enjoying with friends and family as she loves spending time with them. All these thoughts come to mind when one reads her debut novel, which unfolds the changing perspectives of a young boy and the married woman in diverse situations of life treading the path of love and success together. It is quite interesting to read about this complicated relationship both as friends and as a responsibility.

Love is a blind force but at the same time it is love that can illuminate all the darkness of life. Destiny is also given to play a great role in this novel. Two persons of antagonistic nature Sahil and Aakankshah are brought together on the same platform. One is negative in outlook and the other is positive. One can make positive choice in life, the other is uncertain of any choice. Life follows no mathematical formula. Before joining National Defence Academy for being the commissioned officer in the Indian Air Force, he pledged his love for her and she too nodded. Their final choice engulfs all other relationships. Throughout the novel, the quest is for the graceful resolution of the problem. In thirty six short chapters the episodes are woven together to make a composite whole.

In the conclusion the authoress beautifully writes: "Mom was all working on her plans for my marriage. She found Dr Anika a perfect match for her lovely and perhaps lonely son." In a marriage what is needed is the supporting partner with straightforwardness, wisdom and warmth in expressions. In this novel it is again and again highlighted that 'Love is a never ending quest' (p. 242). This focus on love becomes an important theme when in the letter the point is discussed: "Your love was like a light at the end of a tunnel, I was trapped in. I travelled all the way to the end looking for it and here I am as IAS Aakanksha. I always wished whenever it would end it must end beautifully." (p.243).

There are also pictures of flirtation when the story is told about Pearl and her boyfriend Rohit who was spoiled brat and played with her love, made a personal MMS of her. The girl cuts her left hand's wrist with a sharp knife. Lot of blood loss happened till she was taken to the hospital" (p.232). This is a very familiar picture of love nowadays. The narrative is told in the first person narrative of the boy who regards his job of flying high real through the love for Akanksha. "What will I do without you?" (p.219). This is a recurrent question in the novel.

The graphical description of love making is there in the novel. "She touched the left side of my face gently with her right hand and said "you too is not bad. It's just that we are not made for each other. We will have to learn to live this way without each other and only two strong persons can do this" (P. 216).

Sahil describes his life after this meeting: "After that meeting I felt life as very dull and worthless and a long journey without passion for it" (P.216). The reason is simple, the vacuum felt by all lovers of the world. Sahil describes: "My joy is me. It will cover everything. And I owe this to you. You helped me discover real Aakanksha. You wanted to touch the sky by flying; I wanted to reach the heights by being daughter of the soil and working at grassroot level. We both have achieved our dreams."

The total plot structure of the novel veers round the familiar concept of 'there being a woman always behind a successful man'. Being the wife of Vikram, Aakanksha was in love with Sahil. Writing poems is a conventional practice between teenage lovers. Here also there are poems written such as 'Kite' and 'The Mystery Girl' as a part of celebration. Sometimes poetic celebration gets erotic: "So we had two lofty reasons to celebrate together and declare our tender veiled and esteemed treasure of love for each other revealed in its natural form as two bodies holding each other closely and intimately melting and diffusing in each other's warmth of emotions and affection" (p.182).

One thing is not very clear why Aakanksha's husband Vikram is accepting a third person to interfere into their life. At some places Sahil is seen confused if he comes in between them or something else happens. His silence on Vikram and a more mysterious unconcern of Aakanksha herself about her husband give the novel a dullness and the love triangle is somehow missing, which makes the study of relationship a little monotonous.

Some direction is dictated from the beginning and the final impression of predestination mars the novel's beauty. Aristotle's preference for a complicated plot, which is more beautiful seems to be missing as the readers guess from the very beginning about the final phase of Sahil-Aakanksha relationship and we forget that in this Indian society of ours, such love relations are rarely feasible. It occurs only in the world of fiction, and Sarita Singh's novel cannot come out of this predicament. The conflict between Vikram and Aakanksha could be more explored, which might have given a sharper edge to the novel.

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