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Seduction by truth — by Mukul Kumar

Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Price: Rs. 350 INR(paperback), Rs. 294 INR(Kindle edition)
ISBN: 978– 9387457621
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2L0HEiw

Shiva is handsome, an irresistible talker, well-off, lives in Delhi’s poshest suburb, is a dutiful husband to the attractive Akriti and is a perfect father to their little son. So why is he the picture of disenchantment?

Is it that not-so-uncommon human condition-boredom that sometimes accompanies fidelity-that haunts him? In Shiva’s case, the discovery that Akriti has already found distraction with someone else frees him to look for excitement on his own-but with a mind conflicted between dharma and desire. Which is the path that he will choose to walk on?

Shiva embarks on a journey to empirically explore different options-the sexually vibrant Sana and Mary, to name a few-but at the end, winds up with more questions than he started out with. To confuse things further, Akriti continues to occupy a tender place in his heart-as a woman first and a wife later.

A slice-of-life tale, which is part reality and part legend, Seduction by Truth dares the modern reader to solve civilization’s oldest puzzle-marriage.

About the author:

Mukul Kumar is a civil servant of the batch of 1997. An Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, he is currently posted in the Ministry of Railways, New Delhi. A graduate of Kirori Mal College, Mukul has studied Public Administration at the prestigious Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi.

His publications include an anthology of English poems, The Irrepressible Echoes (2012), and his first work of fiction, As Boys Become Men (2016).

My take on the book:

Shiva seems to have the perfect life, a beautiful wife Akriti, son Ankur who made their family complete and a job most others would envy about. While his life might seem more than perfect from outside, Shiva is upset with the fact that his wife Akriti had been maintaining a physical and emotional distance from him. Akriti brushes this off as common in any marriage as they have grown used to each other, Shiva gets the biggest shock one day when he realizes Akriti had been cheating on him for sometime and attributes her indifference to Akriti moving on to someone else.

Thus begins Shiva’s internal turmoil which makes him start chasing other woman,especially married woman, in an attempt to understand their reasons for cheating their respective partners. Shiva’s anger towards Akriti makes him look at other woman as accomplishments and a sense of self-worth, but does he achieve his goal and does this give him the thrill and satisfaction he expected, forms the rest of the story.

The cover of the book gives the initial hint on what to expect from the book, a golden apple surrounded by a wire with thorns — an analogy of trying to reach a golden apple, as in pleasure outside a married relationship, is alluring but finally attaining it means going through a thorny path. The disclaimer for this book is — it can be enjoyed if the reader does not judge the actions of the characters in the book or the author, as it involves extra marital affairs. Also the book is not a collection of just some steamy stuff due to the backdrop of the story, it is more complicated, in trying to understand the circumstances which make people look for relationships outside marriage.

There is a lot of conversation that happens between Shiva and the woman he tries to pursue and each time he uses a different thought process and examples, deriving them from the religious/cultural background the woman is from. Shiva is a smart man who tries to win these women over by understanding their current state of mind, their backgrounds and then using the mythology and cultural norms he knows to convince them for a relationship with him. The book looks at circumstances and reasons for infidelity and how people might justify their point of view.

The book holds the reader’s interest for major part, however gets a bit boring towards the end as the happenings get repetitive. Also, the book is intended for someone who wouldn’t judge the characters and also wouldn’t be offended by the religious and cultural references used majorly in the second half. I would have personally liked to see Akriti’s side of story and views on why she started looking for love beyond Shiva.

Pick this book if you are looking for a change from the chick-lit-love stories and would be interested in stories of people in their middle age.

“I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset” https://rakhijayashankar.blogspot.in

My rating: