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  Books   09 Jan 2023  Book Review | Desi Lesbian romance hopes to make a point

Book Review | Desi Lesbian romance hopes to make a point

THE ASIAN AGE. | KUSHALRANI GULAB
Published : Jan 9, 2023, 10:12 am IST
Updated : Jan 9, 2023, 10:12 am IST

The romance novel about star-crossed lovers Krish and Mahi has not one, not two, but three happy endings

Cover page of Happy Endings
 Cover page of Happy Endings

Whoever came up with the title ‘Happy Endings’ for the book by Minita Sanghvi was 100 per cent spot on. The romance novel about star-crossed lovers Krish and Mahi has not one, not two, but three happy endings! The book may even inspire a fourth happy ending — one in real life. And if that happens, there will be thousands of happy endings all over the country. None fictional. All real.

But Happy Endings is a novel, so let’s let the story within its pages make us smile. Because Krish and Mahi are not man and woman as you would assume in heteronormative India. Both are women and they have been in love with each other since they were children.

The girls are in their teens when they realise what this means. Neither suffers any angst about this revelation. They have always been together, and now being together seems to be more right than it ever was. Hormones bubbling, they take their relationship to another level. But it’s from this level that they come crashing down when Mahi’s mother sees them in something more than a clinch.

You can well imagine what happens next. Mahi is whisked away. Her brothers beat up Krish. Defiant, Krish asks Mahi to elope with her to America where they can have the kind of relationship that India has refused so far to decriminalise. But Mahi doesn’t turn up at the airport. Krish seethes, believing that Mahi chose her career over love. Mahi becomes India’s top star, picking up a film star boyfriend on the way. And the two might have been separated forevermore had Krish not written a Booker-nominated novel that Karan Raichand, Mahi’s studio owner best friend, wanted to option for a film. Thus, 10 years later, Krish and Mahi are face to face in Mumbai again.

Once again, you can imagine what happens next. No matter how much time has passed, never mind Mahi’s boyfriend and Krish’s girlfriend, Krish and Mahi know that they have never not loved each other. By now India has decriminalised non-heterosexual love. But Mahi is the most popular actress in the country. She’s even the Prime Minister’s favourite. Any hint of homosexuality on her part will bring out the mobs. Can Mahi really walk out of the closet and live her life with Krish?

That Krish and Mahi have a happy ending is a given. But then, this is a romance novel. It’s fiction. However, Mumbai-born Minita Sanghvi, the author of this book, is living a real life happy ending. She has a wife and a son in America. With this book, she makes clear her hope that India will soon understand that gender has no place in love.

Happy Endings does not feature among the best-written books I have ever read. It definitely needed tighter editing before it was published. But Sanghvi tells a good story and makes a great point. I add my hope to the author’s. May everyone in India have a real happy ending.

Happy Endings
By Minita Sanghvi
HarperCollins India
pp. 313; Rs.399

Tags: book review, happy endings