BOOK REVIEW: BEYOND BORDERS A BHARAT PAK LOVE STORY BY MOSAM SHAH

                                                You and I are like

                                                Raindrops and the earth,

                                                When we meet,

                                                We create love,

                                                We make a unique fragrance,

                                                But also a muddy mess.

 

Music. Love. Pain. Anger. ‘Beyond Borders’ is a rollercoaster of emotions. Highs. Lows. Twists. And turns.

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Aisha and Aahan meet in Berlin. They fall in love. Nothing new…but the catch is, that they belong to countries caught up in a perpetual state of war. India and Pakistan.

When their differing nationalities come to light, Aisha lands back in India, alone, determined to stay away from a doomed relationship. But Aahan is determined. Following her to India and indulging in emotional blackmail and incessant wooing, they get back together.

And their tale begins. While the book traces their tale of being together and apart, again and again, there is a continual hint of a secret nurtured by Aahan back in Pakistan. When their love story goes public in India, they are faced with a barrage of hate and hostility. But their sentiments are stronger. The story goes up and down in waves of emotional intensity and volcanic eruptions. And it moves back and forth between misunderstandings and their coming back together. It is only when the secret nurtured by Aahan is revealed, that things take a new turn.

The tale is age-old. But what is interesting is the way it is put across. The way the narration has been crafted creatively around music. Aisha is a writer turned lyricist. And Aahan is a singer and composer. What fascinated me most about the book was the title of each chapter. Song names. The author has beautifully picked up songs to create titles for each chapter. The songs pick up the nuances of the lover’s tale…..soulful and stirring.

Each chapter too flits between the two voices of the characters. Interesting.

Mosam Shah has woven the characters with raw emotion and an intense longing. There is no simplicity. Each relation is complex and disturbed. Whether it is between the two main protagonists, or between brothers, or mother-daughter. Each relationship is fraught with complications and has a wounded history. Aahan’s turbulent feelings towards his elder brother Farad who is already a well-established and sought-after star across the two countries giving him a sense of self-doubt. Or Aisha’s troubled past with her mother. Both the characters are highly passionate, and thus their response to each situation is equally volatile.

Aahan’s brother Farad is chosen by the author as the one to point out the flaws in their relationship… too mercurial and temperamental, with insecurity woven in adding fire to the flames.

The story later shifts to Lahore, Pakistan for a few pages before ending in the land of India. The end is left a little hanging. It is upto the reader to guess what happened.

 

Because when I looked past the border,

                                    I didn’t see an enemy,

                                    I saw a reflection of myself.

 

 

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