If you were given a chance to write a love story, would you ever worry about the formula of a successful love story? A chance being “given” indicates a second individual or source involved with your writing process. Be that source the universal Creative Source. Would you care requesting the Creative Source of all being the formula for a successful romance novel? It seems someone has done just that. In her debut book itself, a contemporary romance titled He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him, Shikha proves that her writing skill is par excellence.
Shikha Kumar has a B-Tech degree in Computer Science from Bharati Vidyapeeth, Delhi. She works as a manager with Tata consultancy services. Having been able to travel a lot, in and out of the country, author Shikha seems to have acquired a skill to get into the psyche of her characters and create dramatic scenes through their interactions. It’s indeed true that journeys teach us great wisdom. In her deep understanding of the human mind, which comes naturally to this young author, she carves for herself a space that is not quite likely available for others who work in the same genre. He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him, could be included under genres such as chick lit and contemporary romance in the Indian Writings in English category.
|Author Shikha Kumar: Image Courtesy: Google|
What fascinates the reader in He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him is the freshness of the narrative voice. Her sentences are straightforward, without any unnecessary ornamentation. This writing technique drives the story right into the heart of the reader, like a spear. In this act a book is truly born, like they say in Reader Response theory. Shreya and Kunal are the protagonists of He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him. Shreya is a “highly qualified Delhi girl”. Kunal is the owner of a textile company in Mumbai.
Imagine a circus where every performer is born and brought up since one’s birth. A world exists outside of their circussy universe. How could the performers, born and brought up inside the rules and regulations of the circus-world embrace the world outside without feeling the corollary guilt that follows any act of breaking away from one’s immediate habitat? Just like this imaginary circus world, every one of us is conditioned to behave and believe in certain ways dictated by our surrounding habitat. For Shreya and Kunal, their culture has a certain plan, much like any other young person living in India—arranged marriage. Like the performers who are born and brought up inside a circus world, Shreya and Kunal play by the rules bestowed upon them by virtue of their birth. Each of them accepts the proposal suggested by their parents. The title, He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him also suggests the conspicuous absence of an authorial presence that holds the key at the centre of the familial power structure. Who decides who must be the “match” is the real question, not who gives the final consent, for the final consent is just a namesake. In the Indian wedding scene, often boy or girl is asked their consent at the cost of risking their elders’ wrath. Therefore, most of them remain silent in the fear of inviting the anger of some distant uncle or aunt.
The story takes a decisive turn when Kunal realizes that he had met Shreya before and that he had a “vendetta to settle” with her. Shreya is clueless of this plan in the inner depth of Kunal’s consciousness. Vengeance penetrates every act of Kunal and finally the inevitable happens.
In a heart-warming twist, Kunal realizes his infinite love for his wife. This forces him to confess his sins in front of his mother. It is surprising how he feels incapable of revealing his heart in front of his wife (or rather ex-wife). This, however, seems a futile act, as he had already created a chasm of separation between his wife and himself. Redemption seems unattainable. Perhaps, it would have been easier for him to go through the revenge if there were no marital bond between the two. He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him poignantly conveys the truth about revenge in a marriage where love has made its entry possible. Author Shikha, through He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him underscores that only love can hold families together and not mere arrangement.
With an arranged marriage in the backdrop, author Shikha demonstrates that love is the key to unlock the door to happiness. Often love stories in India end up on the wedding day. He Fixed the Match She Fixed Him begins there. In this sense, author Shikha Kumar’s debut attempt as an author can be called a trendsetter.