In Search of a love Story shocks and startles at the same time. Narrated by a woman seeking to know her roots, it takes us into the complicated world of love and same-sex relationship, abuse and helplessness. The narrator wanted to meet her relatives for she believed that every heart nurtured a story. She paid no heed to her protective parents who warned her against venturing alone to faraway places to meet people whom she had hardly any acquaintance with, despite the fact that they were related to her in some way or the other.
In search of a love story she met one of her relatives living in bylanes of Kolkata who was once a professor of linguistics, but had gave up his job to repair umbrellas for in that vocation he found an objective corelative to the subject he once taught. He had seen how language barriers between people could never be absolutely bridged or repaired, so he sought to repair old, tattered umbrellas in the hope of doing some meaningful and benevolent action in his life. The wife of the professor doubted his mental sanity, but the narrator was touched by the sharpness and clarity of reason. She felt there was a meaning behind his action, one that very few would comprehend or respect.
Similarly when she met her old radical grandmother who was her mother’s distant cousin she was touched by her warmth and affection. The fact that the woman had the courage to leave her husband’s home years ago to live with her female friend struck her as daring and challenging. But the actual truth left her dumbfounded. The old woman was caught in a helpless relationship from which she could not find an escape despite the fact that it made her suffer physical abuse and bodily torture. She was forced to endure them as marks of love for she loved her friend Sarama a lot. Meeting with her grandmother’s daughter offered further clarification to the narrator who found out how her grandmother was blinded in love. She had no way of escape, and when she implored her grandmother to leave the house and follow her, the old woman refused to do so. She asserted that could not sustain the business without the help of her friend and hence had no choice but to endure.
The story explores the various nuances of love relationships, and arbitrariness of human mind. It is difficult to find explanation for every action, or justify every decision one takes in life. Yet that is life, and that is how we live. In a world where campaigns like #metoo are raging the social media, the story becomes pertinent as well. It reveals that even same sex relationships can also be lopsided and violently abusive at time. In most cases one is forced to endure more pain than necessary in the name of love. The story reads like a news reportage and there is not much emotional involvement in the part of the narrator with the people whom she describes. She seeks to know hidden stories and thereby ventures in the bylanes and villages of her country to trace her roots. She seems like a detached observer standing at a vantage point looking at the world with a stoical detachedness but clinical precision. The old woman’s plight strike us and makes us feel how much one really has to go through in the name of love. The same woman who had the daring to leave her husband’s home with a little child to stay alone, could not leave her lover, with such nerve. One is forced to make the maximum compromises in the name of love, yet they go on getting themselves engaged in strangest relationships under the name of love. May be like Tennyson, the old woman who dared to leave her husband once for the sake of her heart too believed that ‘it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.’