The Other End of the Corridor #BookReview

The Other End of the Corridor #BookReview

The Other End Of The Corridor is different yet similar, while reading the book time and again I felt that I have seen this, I have heard this, and I have read this! Yet, I read on because Leela compelled me, she urged me, she cried to me and she ordered me. This book is all about Leela Chopra; a nineteen year old who grows up without even knowing what it is that she is doing. A woman forced into marriage, abused, beaten and suppressed – little better than a slave.

The book had been applauded for its offbeat and different approach to the same old ills that plague our society. Sujata Rajpal’s voice is what makes all the difference to Leela’s story. No doubt the story has been told a hundred time and silenced a hundred times over as the author herself tells us. Her approach to the story breathes fresh life to the story. The voice of Leela shines through.

The biggest and most absorbing part of the book is the writing, sentences that shout the helplessness and apathy Leela faces. The book starts with the arranging of her wedding and the introduction to Leela being an unlucky one. From then on the course of the book is set, we know that the match is too good to be true and things will go downhill and they do.

“Julie barked outside as if she saw my virginity walking out of the door. It was over. Without a word, without sweet nothings whispered in my ears, under the gloomy dim yellow light, the act was accomplished for me as well as for my brand new husband.”

The typical tendency of parents to marry off their daughters at 19 or 20 years is what happens with Leela and she is not one of the rare lucky ones whose husbands actually groom them and nurture them but the exact opposite. The book follows what she goes through as a demure wife right from the time she steps into her husband’s house and is told by her sister-in-law that she must not move and she sits like a statue to the time her husband is asking her to help him and in spite of everything she is compelled to move. She is but a puppet just one with feelings which are trampled upon by everyone.
This is the sad reality is that women suffer because they have no education, no family support, and no job to fall back upon if things go bad. The girl is not welcome in her family, has an unrelenting Mother-in-law and a depressed, manic husband. Between the deep sea and the devil she yet again chooses the devil.

“For Ma, her house was like her school and its inhabitants like unruly schoolchildren who always needed a whip to discipline them.”

What I liked was the grit of the girl, she is no pushover even at a diminutive 5’3” she stands tall. Whether it was her rich, well settled friends Harleen and Priya or the dream she never gives up on. She did sway from her path but given what she undergoes each day she still held her pride intact. The need to find love, recognition and acceptance is the basic urge of each human and Leela is no different.

The saving grace was the frequent trips her husband eventually took as if it was the only concession fate lend to her in the bad hand it dealt her. Slowly she discovers herself and the world around her in Banalore. A new city where she is reborn, she finds herself to be afraid, lazy, scared but still she hopes and strives to find her dream.

“The phrase ‘your choice’ always meant ‘no’ in the dictionary of our marriage.”

Apart from her husband the other guy Jai was one who I felt was in a way worse than her husband, befriending and forgetting. I found him to be typical of men, never standing up to adversities, in that sense both Jai and Vishal reinforced the stereotypes of Indian men that are in urgent need of thorough brainwashing. The silver lining were her faithful friends who helped her out and her Mother-in-law who supported her in the end; better late than never!

What saves this story from being a typical sob story about the suffering of a woman is total honesty with which the author writes about Leela’s life. How she never gets a break, a respite or a positive word – just like real life. Scores of women undergo this every single day yet Leela was lucky indeed to get a break- most of them don’t.

Her crazy husband finally succumbs to his madness and yet she is accused, typical of our society. No one sees the bruises, no hears the beating and screams; a woman is no better than an object to be used when desired and then discarded. Easily replaceable.

““I will not kill you. I will torture you so much that you will beg for death,” he shouted giving me another kick in my stomach.”
This is a thought provoking read; it stands out with its perseverance and is written with a fresh, crisp style. The Other End of the Corridor treads the beaten path but forges a new road. Yes, there is a whole new, better world ahead.

(I received a copy of the book from the Author Sujata Rapal via The Book Club. The review is my honest opinion. © )

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The Other End of the Corridor 
Sujata Rajpal 

When your dreams are tainted with lies and deceit, you have no other choice but to walk to the other end of the corridor.
Leela has nothing extraordinary about her except the dream to become famous. Her desires take wings when she gets married to a handsome boy from a respectable family in Delhi. But her dreams are shattered even before they have a chance to take flight. 
She happens to meet two friends from a long forgotten past, which infuses hope and opens new avenues to realize her dormant aspirations.

Leela delves into previously unexplored paths of deception and forbidden passions that only make her stronger. 

In an attempt to rediscover herself, she falls in love with life and with herself but her life takes a sudden turn again…
No matter what, Leela will continue to chase her dreams.

Where does this journey take her?

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“The corridor, I was walking down didn’t have a trace of illumination. I couldn’t see the other end. But I kept moving and now, I realize that more than the light, you need the determination to keep moving, keep struggling for your dreams, for your existence, for your survival.”

I had lived in a dream world all my life, always blaming the circumstances for my own weaknesses. I could never gather courage to stand up to circumstances. For how long would I keep blaming others for my own shortcomings. And for how long would I keep dreaming- my dreams never aligned with the real world; my dreams and real life never converged at any point. ‘I definitely had experience but only in building castles in the air.’

About the Author 

Author’s profile :

Sujata Rajpal is a Corporate Communication & PR professional turned a full-time author. She holds an MPhil degree in Economics and has studied Mass Communication from Panjab University, Chandigarh. She also writes articles and short stories for publications and journals. Sujata is a yoga enthusiast and enjoys being a Toastmaster. She currently lives in Mysore.

The Other End of the Corridor is her first novel.

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