"Right Fit Wrong Shoe" is a Bollywood-style filmi love story between a dashing boy and a sizzling girl next-door, Nandini and Aditya. The story line is very predictable, depicting typical chemistry between a boy and a girl set in the small town of Kanpur. Nandini's family and Aditya's family are old family friends and their mothers, the best of friends. Their friendship begins with love-hate relationship, starts blossoming after Sarin family becomes neighbours to Sharma family. Firebrand brand Nandini is not our typical girl next door. She is twenty-six year old, passive-aggressive, bubbly, creative, lazy, unambitious, working girl. The sultry siren unaware of her own sex-appeal is like Mount Vesuvius, dormant yet ready to explode when the atmosphere turns scorching. Her philosophy of traditional womanhood mixed with liberal doses of women empowerment makes her simple life complicated. Nandini's spirit cannot be trampled on or tamed. Aditya dares to take on this spit-fire and hopes to master her while teaching her a lesson for some imaginary wrong done to his manly ego. This unorthodox fusion of male-female logic makes for a good light read.
Varsha's writing is fast paced, fresh, witty and dotted with picturesque imagery. The titillating dialogues rivet our interest on the story line. Hinglish phrases, garnished with onomatopoeic words, topped with smart one-liners, keep us energized and in splits. The human relationships are very delicately explored. The book is like a Bollywood movie with each chapter headed by a movie title. Equal importance is given to friendship and female bonding. Nandini and Sneha's friendship is very realistic in its depiction. Sneha always knows what is happening inside Nandini's heart and mind. She prods her to get a life of her own. Their friendship warms the cockles of many a heart as it is a true reflection of how women bond and stand up for one another. It is set in contemporary times and reflects the society as is now, where modernization elbows for space with tradition.
The story opens with a melancho-comic note of Nandini feeling down in the dumps and wasted, when the news of the arrival of the handsome billionaire Aditya into her town, her organization, her family and her life ignites her volcano. Like a chocolate wrapper expectantly is unwrapped to get into the heady-gooey-chocolaty center, Varsha initiates us at a maddening snail-pace into the intricate heart of the stand-off between Aditya and Nandini. The story which had begun with the arrival of Aditya at the opening of the novel moves forward by slipping into flash back after the first chapter. Before we meet Aditya and Nandini, they have already loved and parted ways with a dark secret holding them apart and for which Aditya holds Nandini to emotional ransom. The battle lines are already drawn. The four years that had kept them apart has been bitter years for Aditya who has come back with retribution in his mind.
Nandini, the quintessential woman who has a marshmallow for a heart and oodles of sense in her brain has moved on to make a life for herself. She is a very tough, dynamic head of the designing team at Ace Advertising Agency. She has been working selflessly and tirelessly for peanuts to the most unappreciative lady boss who sells the company at the first chance, while keeping the employees in the dark about it. It so transpires that Nandini, one very depressing-everything-going-wrong-day finds herself without any warning, face to face with her new boss Aditya Sarin. From then on everything goes downhill for Nandini. Her reputation is at stake, her world is off kilter, her families' loyalties are hijacked, she dies a slow death pretending every thing is hunky dory with her and Aditya's mother, while living under Aditya's searing hatred, bearing his verbal whiplash each day and evading skillfully his mischievous-torpedoes, designed to bring down her defenses and strip her down of her self-respect and peer-respect. She also has to run a tight ship of her own department while dodging the slimy advances of her new department boss who has his sexual sights set on her. All in all it makes for an entertaining reading, tickling our funny bone as we read the witty repartee between Nandini and Aditya. Nandini reveals the capacity of a woman to be demure and sultry, conventional yet sexy, down-to-earth and savvy at the same time. She is not the one to sit and cry over split milk or to wear her heart on her sleeve.
Varsha Dixit credibly builds the portrait of Nandini as a lovable, capable, talented and family oriented person which we need every woman to be. A woman is equal to man in every way. When she is taken for granted one time too many, woes beset the man who has trod on her identity. Nandini teaches Aditya what it feels to suffer. When Aditya sees a dolled up Nandini in a tete-a-tete with a strange man, ready to accept him her groom if acceptable, shafts of jealousy pierce his heart. Now the right shoe is on the wrong foot. Aditya cannot bear to see Nandini getting married to someone else while Nandini is not ready to give him the time of the day. The verbal missiles fired back and forth by the lead pair absolutely astound us. Now Nandini wants to exact her pound of flesh like Shylock of "The merchant of Venice." Is Aditya going to get a second chance at love? Will they bury the hatchet? What is the dark secret that kept them apart? Will Aditya be man enough to handle Nandini's fearless, feral spirit? To know the answers you must read the novel...
Geetha Kariappa is a research scholar with her area of interest being "Feminist Criticism." She has been involved in the field of Education and Softskills as a teacher and a trainer. She likes reading fiction, short stories and books on travel. She has written articles on woman issues for various literary journals.