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Book Review: Just Be There by Gayatri Shankar

Just Be There by Gayatri Shankar is a riveting contemporary family fiction. One has no control over vagaries of life, things happen that are destined to go that way. However, amidst all heat and chaos, an individual, no matter what age s/he is at, seeks support and acceptance without prejudice. Once a renowned personality said that in life only two things matter most for happiness – family and career. 

This is a simple story of some simple people who believe in family bonding throughout all phases; however, like millions of other families on the earth, they do have their own share of pain and suffering. Their small day-to-day struggles and hesitations sow the seeds of distrust and keep them distanced from each other.

In the family Abhay Singh is the senior most people, followed by a couple Vikram and his wife Anjali. They silently live in Mumbai. Around a year back, the family was in high spirits and doing quite good. But the premature demise of Sandhya leaves them bereaved of love and the family rhythm is broken. Who was Sandhya? She was the wife of Abhay Singh. Mother of Vikram and mother-in-law of Anjali.

Since her demise, Abhay leaves teaching at a college and distances himself from the closed ones and the immediate society. Sort of, he is plunged into an abyss of solitude and loneliness. Even his son Vikram and daughter-in-law Anjali are sad about his status; often they feel miserable against his plight. Emotionally, Abhay Singh is draining, leave alone depression. Well, as life is not just unfair all the time. One of his students Ajay introduces him to Shivani – a terrific yoga teacher and sort of a soul healer. She did all possible tasks to bring the best from Abhay and with time their familiarity and bonding grows…but is it just a company or they both looking to be roped in for marriage or living together? There could be questions and allegations, as we all know that society questions everyone, every move. The complete story can be gauged by only getting into the novel completely. Will Abhay’s life change here onwards? Or there is something that is still awaiting his attention? Will he be able to do something good and positive for the society or home he is part of?

This novel has been forefront in addressing the issues that nowadays many families face, especially with some elder person sharing the space. Happiness matters – but it doesn’t come quite smoothly and simply. To set the overall ambience of a home, one needs to create the environment of support and acceptance. These are the basic pillars of any family or home. Love blooms on these aspects. In fact, the complete novel has been built on support and acceptance. Gayatri’s prowess as an author is superb; it’s an engaging read because one can relate to it. If you’re looking for a book to warm your heart, definitely pick this one.


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