A man-woman relationship is as complex as it can get. It’s an equation where there are too many variables like sex, love, marriage that never balance each other. Few other external variables make it even more complex like age, social norms and perceived notion of expectations and hypocrisy to settle for much lesser in life.
Some say it’s much easier to decipher the code of entire universe than to really decipher a man-woman relationship. Makarand Paranjape’s Body Offering deals with one such emotion. It is a riveting novel about the persistence of a complex relationship and the essence of what it means to be human.
The author opens the book of love and shows how to read relationships in a whole new light. What is it that draws us so strongly to some people and repels’ us from others? What makes some work so smoothly while others burst into flames? Paranjape gives new answers to these questions by showing that the kind of relationship we create depends on the kind of love stories we carry inside us. In this contemporary, urban love story set in Delhi, Sunayana, a young, vivacious editor at a leading publishing house, finds herself drawn into a disorienting but compelling liaison with Ashok, a reserved but well-known middle-aged surgeon. She seeks a centre that has eluded her scattered self, while he struggles to come to terms with a broken marriage.
The uneasy attraction between this odd couple triggers profound questions. What is the quintessence of human coupling – desire, fear, need, or just habit? Is love a hormonal reflex or a romantic fantasy? Can carnal passion reveal deeper realities? Both embark on a passionate journey, leading to fresh discoveries and unchartered longings. But both have to push the boundaries to see how far they can go to be with each other. The book is a layered, erotic tale, suffused with intense emotions, leading up to a poignant, unforeseen climax.
The strong points of the book are many: an interesting read; excellent writing; and a true desire, on the part of the author, to communicate with the reader. The weak points are a wealth of concepts and ideas, tossed about liberally. There are so many, that the reader might just lose track, and actually lose sight of the initial idea behind the book.
Bottom line: Not a bad way to waste an afternoon.