A book on Delhi is not a new thing. Every aspect of the city has been explored by one writer or the other. Delhi Metro, on the other hand, can still be counted as a ‘virgin’ zone. A Rose On The Platform by Binod Mairta takes care of this untouched aspect of metro life.
The author’s debut adventure stands praiseworthy with the story revolving around a very common mode of transportation- The metro, where more a lakh people commute in order to reach their desired destination.
People living in the city and using the service every day would identify to this excellent work of fiction. Mairta’s close observation and equally unique narrative style deserve a big salvo.
The plot revolves around Anubhav Anand, a bank manager by profession who commutes daily by metro. En route his journey, he comes across the interchanging station Kashmere Gate, which according to him is the ‘alpha and omega’ of metro life.
As he aptly observes, “the four perpendicular lines, like vessels carrying blood, ran through it from east to west and south to north of this city. Many of the layers seemed just like the one’s in life, layers of human heart and mind.”
One fine morning while commuting to his destination Anand comes across a dazzling damsel Shivali Rao. The beauty clad in her girly attire makes our protagonist feel the wave of ‘first love’.
Off the metro and out in the real world, Anand stumbles upon his newly found adventure with the excruciating thought of his existing, yet compromised, love life- Meera!
A freak accident changes Meera’s life forever, forcing her to take a strong decision of not coming back in Anubhav’s life again. The plot progresses with Shivali, who dramatically reciprocates Anubhav’s love for her.
But he proves to be a “doubting Thomas”, dwindling between an ardent lover and a caring friend. During the course of her courtship, Shivali comes to know that not only is Anubhav married but he is also a father to two children.
Infuriated over Anubhav’s sudden revelation of his past life, she takes the drastic step of kidnapping his two children, bringing abut a sudden twist in the story. Anubhav starts looking for his children but his search goes in vain. It all comes to a time when Abhinav finds out that his kids have been in their mother’s custody, all this time. To his surprise, the trio is accompanied by Shivali, the other woman!
Mairta has used very simple language which is both easy to understand and succinct. The description of each character is meticulously articulated to make a sense of real characters around us. The close observation of different activities during a metro journey have been picturesquely put on the canvas by the writer.
The novel also touches the issue of woman emancipation. Three female characters - Jaya, Sejal and Kiran have been depicted as rebellious characters, braving the male chauvinistic society head on.
Sometimes, these characters seem to be one up in comparison to the main protagonists- Anubhav and Shivali.
Sometimes, readers could find the poetic justice missing from the point of view of Meera, but a sudden twist in the story towards the end proves soothing and just.
Overall, an age-old subject of love affair treated on a new platform, interwoven meticulously the social issues and winking at the probable solutions.