Having just completed her latest book, I can testify that young writer Simar Malhotra has considerable skills in creating characters. She has done this perfectly in her second novel, “Tides Don’t Cross” published recently by Rupa Publications. Rukmani aka Rhea, Mrinalini, or Ayaan, each of the main characters has been extremely well depicted. The story is built around these three people. Rukmani and Mrinalini are sisters but are as different from each other as you can imagine. Ayaan is Rukmani’s friend, with whom she spends six memorable months in Paris.
Simar’s story has a rather slow start but picks up steam soon enough and ends with an interesting twist. Her descriptions of life in Paris, Delhi and New York, where the story is set are realistic and make you feel you are right there with the characters. As perhaps is to be expected with a character called Ayaan Khan who has his roots in Jaipur but studies in Stanford, there is the element of racial discrimination and stereo typing, which the author presumably brings out to oppose the trend she observed in the United States over the last decade or so. Also running in parallel is the undercurrent of age-old religious conflicts in India, when two people from different faiths love each other.
The plot was interesting and I liked the end. Simar has a firm grasp of the likes, dislikes, preferences and choices of her generation and this gets reflected in her story. The only character I found a bit jarring was “Miss Nancy, an English-speaking Tamilian Brahmin governess.” Which Tamilian Brahmin would have such a name, I wondered but her role is not too significant in the story!!
If you are looking for a quick, light read set with romance in the background, ” Tides Don’t Cross” could be a good choice for you.