Author: Mridula Bajpai
The title of the book ‘ Until You Come Home: The Endless Wait for a Beloved to Come Home from War ‘ is emotional and elusive.
The cover image of the book is abstract watercolor art of a woman in distress with closed eyes and a male figure in the background. It could be deduced that either one of them is waiting for one’s homecoming.
About the author:
Mridula Bajpai did her schooling from St. Joseph’s Convent, Sagar. She then acquired an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English literature from Dr. Harisingh Gaur Vishwavidhyalaya, Sagar and taught for some time. Mridula is with the Indian Revenue Service and at present is posted as Principal Commissioner, Income Tax. She has authored four highly acclaimed novels in Hindi and this is her debut work in English.
About the book:
The book is about war tales, family and its emotions, sentiments, and memories about the lost ones. The book emphasizes mostly on the women and children of the soldiers who lost their lives in wars fighting for the country. This tear-jerking novel is narrated in a single voice of Mrinalini Sharma. The story is about Mrinalani’s mama ‘ Capt. Uday Sharma. Jaya the lady love of Uday Sharma keeps waiting for him even after the news he will not come back home is one of the heart-wrenching subplots. Another story is about Mrinilani herself and her partner Dev, who is also an Army officer and when he is posted to Kargil, her thoughts and fears are narrated in the story. Two parallel stories are narrated where they are interlinked at several places.
As we pour praises and salutes to the brave army personnel who safeguard the country standing on the borders without bothering the terrain and climatic conditions, there are the families of these people who wait to have a single glance at their faces. It is indeed very hard to explain how a newlywed woman or parents or children feel when they hear the news of the army person missing or dead.
In this book, the author has explained such sequences blended with two parallel stories where one is a tragic one and the other realistic one. This book is a powerful novel about the unexpected lives of army people. One of the standing points in the story is the female character Mrinalini who narrates the story about her mama, Capt. Uday Sharma who never came back after he was sent to fight the Chinese Army at Se-La Pass, in northeast 1962 war with China, has never seen him but just heard about him. It is a common practice that since childhood kids in the houses are told about the tales of great people who hail from the family itself. And thus, Mrinalini is enchanted with her mama’s valor and discipline.
Mrinalini who looks up to her mama because of his duty and dedication towards the country, on the contrary, feels timid when her beau Dev is from the army and is posted at Kargil during the war times. Here, the author Mridula very honestly explains how the thoughts cringe the brave hearts of the family people and create a gloomy situation.
What I like:
1. The plot and the narration is beautifully crafted
2. One can relate it to the recent incidents and movies that showcased how does the family gets affected when a soldier leaves the world.
3. Heart-wrenching scenes are illustrated leaving a cold feeling in the readers’ minds.
4. The brave hearts of the family members of the martyrs leave a heavy feeling in the minds.
5. The comfortable font size and paragraph styling
What I didn’t like:
There is nothing to be disliked.
Every character is sketched so well and coherently.
One of the finest and honest narrations I have come across is found in this book.
Language & Grammar:
With simple language and vocabulary, the book is suitable for everyone.
My Final Verdict:
An immensely touching story
Book Title: 4/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Language & Grammar: 4/5
Final Rating: 4/5
(Reviewed by Swapna Peri)