Rape is one of the most terrible and unpardonable crimes. The irony is, most of the times when a rape happens, the society point out its finger to the victim, the girl. The victim, already bruised in mind and body, loses her self-confidence and self-respect and eventually a feeling of contrition makes her a living dead in the literal sense. She thinks herself responsible for her fate and life becomes just a burden to her with the lambasting of the society and, sometimes, even from the family.
This preface is for Jyoti Arora’s second book, Lemon Girl, delineating the life of a bubbly girl, Nirvi. Most of the authors write with a purpose, they want to give a message to their readers through their stories. But a few of them have the skill to weave the message to the soul of the story so that the readers never feel claustrophobic. Lemon Girl definitely has a message, but the writing skill of Jyoti never gives the feeling, that, someone is pouring the message into the reader’s mind from outside.
Nirvi and Her Story
The story spins around Nirvi, a bubbly, joyous and, carefree girl. She laughs heartily, embraces life with ease and comfort making everyone aware of her piquant presence; just like a fresh, green lemon. But then something happens; something that not only bruises her mind but also chokes her soul transforming her to a lifeless painted doll.
Nirvi wants to get away from herself, she strives continuously to bury her past, her emotions, values, even her self-respect. She encloses herself in a self-made cage, feels claustrophobic yet dares not to break it. She considers herself responsible for a crime she never committed. The insurmountable shadow of a fault which was never hers enshrouds her identity as a whole. She descends deeper into the black abyss as she flirts with her numerous boyfriends, gallivanting around, from one city to another, bereft of any emotion other than survival.
In fact, the character of Nirvi, in the first few chapters is sure to rise your abhorrence. I was not feeling a tuppence for her as I started reading. But with the progress of the story, my feelings for her oozed with love, compassion, and camaraderie. She is the girl who resides in all of us- soft, emotional, jovial, talented, and vulnerable. But often we are brutally hurt by those people who are our closest and, in Nirvi’s case, it’s even worse- the brutal attack shredding her into pieces comes from her own family. Lemon Girl tells us the story of a next-door girl, her battle with her inner-self, her realization that she is not the culprit, whatever happened WAS NEVER HER FAULT. It’s the story of a lemony phoenix named Nirvi, her rise and rebirth from the ashes of guilt and self-loathing.
Others Who Played…
Jyoti has done much justice to the characters other than the protagonist. Arsh, his role in Nirvi’s life and, his presence in the plot has given the proper direction to both. Arsh represents the typical well-groomed section of the society who always try to extend hands of friendship to women in every sphere of life. Love is not merely a word to Arsh, he knows and respects the real meaning of love.
Sam or Samarth’s character stands poles apart from Arsh, Sam’s insouciant behavior towards Nirvi, his rude, know-all attitude are enough to irritate any sensible person.
Tiya is a perfect girl who always stands by her best friend, Nirvi, and tries her best to ameliorate Nirvi’s every trouble and grief. She is light-hearted and enthusiastic but when the situation demands, she carries herself aplomb.
Even the characters of Pratibha Sharma and Mr. Giri are very well portrayed.
Characterization, according to me, is the strongest point of this book and, also Jyoti’s forte. Each and every character, short their role might be, but will be able to etch their presence in your mind. I also liked the way the book ended, a very relatable incident and, blends perfectly with the plot.
Some More Words….
Lemon Girl is a must read and is highly recommended for all. But, of course, it has a couple of glitches. In one of the chapters, we find Nirvi inviting some goons by the playful exhibition of her physical treasures. I failed to fathom the reason behind this act.
The story, at some places, becomes very slow losing the usual pace, especially during Nirvi’s stay at the Dulcet Greens.
Lemon Girl definitely stands out as a book that speaks about the double standard of the society, the way it looks on the women and, the hypocrisy it shows regarding sensitive issues like rape, molestation, live-in relation. The book also helps you to understand the plight and mental turbulence through which a girl passes when her physical integrity is attacked. All she needs is a little love and understanding so that she could utter Nirvi’s words,“It was NOT my fault”.