Book Review: Hilawi (Ritu Lalit)
Author: Ritu Lalit
No. of Pages: 164
India is a country of myths and folklores. Every child is told many stories, ranging from pretty princesses, charming princes to hideous monsters and scary forests. However, the fight between good and evil is omnipresent in all of them. Such is the case of Hilawi, by Ritu Lalit, author of A Bowlful of Butterflies.
When the chants rise up, Gigi or Gargi Tamang finds that she has to gravitate to the strange object that they seem to emanate from a disc made of a metal that no one can identify. Could the myths that we’ve heard from time immemorial, actually be true?
Yaduvir and Gargi Tamang, twins are nothing like each other; he, a mild-mannered and scholarly youth, and she, a feisty young woman, full of energy. A telephone call from India suddenly changes their lives. They find that they are the designated guardians and protectors of a strange shield that is both co-vetted and feared by their own clansmen. They are completely unprepared for the adventure they are rocked into, where no one around them seem to be who they are, where they are constantly on the sun and where they have been summoned for a task they can’t even accept as true.
Hilawi is the story about young twins Yaduvir and Gargi Ojha, who live in London with their friend Madhur Tamang, daughter of a famous bollywood actress Madhavi. One day they receive a telephone call from their granduncle from India, and their destiny starts to change. After reaching India, they find that they form the end of a bloodline that can be traced directly to the guardians of a mythical object called Hilawi, which they thought was just a fable. With time, they come to know that Hilawi is an object that gives prosperity and remarkable success; hence some other members of their family have turned to attain it.
The book starts with a fable that gives a story behind the secret object Hilawi and is quite similar to ‘Saagar-Manthan’ or ‘The Great Churning of Ocean’. In the back blurb, protagonists’ surname is written Tamang while it’s Ojha; small mistake but at a wrong place. This is the first book I am reading from Popular Prakashan, and I am really impressed with paper quality and neat printing. Adequate heed is paid to editing; there are almost no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Mrs. Lalit’s language is really fresh and the narration is entrancing. The simple words and simpler narration keep the read interesting and the clear context of events doesn’t break the flow. Mrs. Lalit has kept a check on the number of characters. All of them are well-etched and none of them feels unnecessary or window dressing. I read it cover-to-cover in four hours and do not regret the time spent.
My only problem is the author’s descriptions of time. The scene is set in the day, but abruptly, it’s night. It may not make much of a difference while reading, but with clear time descriptions, the reading experience could have been enhanced a little more. Another thing that played a spoilsport is the climax. It’s too rushed, and gets over way too quickly. The lack of adrenaline rush feeling makes it weakest chapter of the book.
To conclude my review, I would say that it’s Mrs. Lalit’s second book and her experience is clearly visible. The book is not target specific, and would be enjoyed by people from many walks of life. Without any complex words or sentences or theme, Hilawi is a decent reading experience. The theme of good over evil is evenly woven through the entire novel. I would recommend this book to casual readers who are in a mood for something different from their Indian writers.
I wish very best of luck to Mrs. Ritu Lalit, and if she is planning to write another book, I am looking forward to it.
Happy Reading :)