I had previously read and reviewed the Music Room by Namita Devidayal which I had liked immensely. Thus, when this book came along I just could not wait to get started on it. The book revolves around the family of Todarmals, who belong to the baniya class complete with pomp and fare and riches to flaunt.
To be honest the book failed to live up to the standard of The Music Room. There is nothing intriguing about After Taste, from the very beginning there is something very jaded about the story and the atmosphere around it!
However ‘Aftertaste’ has each of the characters beautifully carved out. It is marked distinctly with variant personalities, every character is done fair justice. Rajan followes in his father’s footsteps and joins the business, Sunny is undergoing the trauma of an unsatisfied marriage, Saroj who is awaiting re-union with her estranged husband while Suman puts her faith on his holy highness. Then there is Mummiji, who is the cynosure of everyone’s eye!
What I enjoyed reading was the insights into a typical baniya family, which exchanges trade secrets of the mithai business, passing on legacies to its future generations to preserve the secrets and in the process going through different of life and relationships. What makes its presence felt is the invisible hierarchy, absent minded dictatorship and underlying selfish motives, these form the vital ingredients of a perfect family drama. The plot eventually thickens to reveal the dark evil family secret – the pursuit for obtaining the ownership of the family riches.
What I liked the best about this book – the author’s creative technique to provide the reader a peek in the mindset of every character! It almost made me visualize the scenes for real, as if the entire story was unfolding in front of my eyes in actuality.
The climax however was a complete let down and a massive source of disappointment. After the beautiful build up, one almost starts to expect something unusual. The book leaves us with a unfulfilled feeling maybe that is why the title After Taste is justified.
Pick this book up for a good bedside read, not one to flip because you are bored.
My rating 3.25/5
This review is for Random House India; however the opinions expressed here are my own.