From - Reviews, Vol I, Issue II
Having read Neelam Saxena Chandra’s innumerable interesting stories before in national magazines, there was no way I was going to miss out on her novel! Neelam’s stories have never ever disappointed me so I was confident that I was going to read an equally interesting novel.
The title of the novel itself, ‘CAN I HAVE THIS CHANCE?’ is an attractive one. Who would not wish to have a chance to do something he/she so desperately wants? Who would not like to make amends or make a difference if another chance was given?
The protagonist Avantika is one such person who is at the crossroads of her life. Having all along believed in the significance of duty, work and career, she is given a chance to fall in love again. But, something edges her on to ignore the chance and board a flight to New York instead, despite the co-incidental/destined chance that comes her way. Is she running away from love? Will she permit fate to play its role? Or, will she carve out her own destiny?
“Avantika was also lost in her own world. She knew she liked Sunil. After all, they were so similar. Their professional liking, their tastes in reading, their tastes in eating – almost everything. But wasn’t liking different from loving? Why did she never feel the pangs of love which she had felt when she used to be with her first love? Had her failed first love closed her world so much that she was not ready to accept someone else? Or was it that she did not really love Sunil?”
But wait, this is not all the story is about! It is about a ‘fiery young journalist grappling with crime, murder, rape and aspiring to bring justice to the oppressed and keeping up the quest for truth intact and lot’s more!’
To be able keep the reader enthusiastic about turning the next page and also convey a message to the society is not easy a task. But, the author is successful in both. Neelam Saxena Chandra’s narrative takes you on a see-saw, now up and then, down providing you with situations to ponder about and a desire to know where the story is headed. From the present to the past and back to the present again, Neelam takes you on a journey that never fails to disappoint.
“Avantika had got so lost in the past that she had missed even the flight take off. She wondered how she could have done that. She always enjoyed the take-offs and landings. Take-offs made her feel the thrill of life on starting on an unknown voyage, of surging hopes and of aspiring wings. Landings made her remain grounded and signified the attaining of ultimate wisdom.”
The charm of the book lies in its simplicity. Despite a theme that is filled with action and adventure, the author never loses focus and therein, lays the success of the book.
Reviewed by Shail Raghuvanshi
Shail is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, reviewer and poet. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org