Often it so happens that we get hypocritically patriotic. Singing songs of valour, flaunting fancy dresses of army men and posing with toy guns for photographs is all that we would have done during childhood. ‘MISTRESS OF HONOUR’ is meant for those who can see the ‘Indian Army’ beyond this bubble. Years ago a dear friend of mine was selected for the NDA. We were so proud about his feat and a whole bunch of us were at the railway station crying and bidding good-bye but alas he was back in a week or so, and now every time I meet him I still picturize him with this thought “What if he had chosen to stay?” I do not know if he regrets his decision, personally I do. What I realized with this experience was that our army is not for the ordinary. This story with its various characters and circumstances just reinforced this belief of mine.
"Either I will come back after hoisting the tricolour, or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure"
-Captain Vikram Batra, Param Vir Chakra-
Every time I come across this quote of the Kargil War hero, my heart swells with pride. I was reminded of this while I read the book, especially the epilogue section which very well justifies Rihaana’s brave decision and the title. Inspired by true stories of the Indian army Bhaavna has tried her best to go beyond the borders and inside their homes. A lot of things happen in about two hundred pages- love, friendship, patriotism, passion, sacrifice, trust, courage, humour, romance, sex, passion, drama, war and peace; making this a good one time read. At some places however I did feel that too many things were happening very soon, the story line moves quick before a reader can develop any connection with the characters. A lot of ingredients in an already boiling pot, maybe this was intentionally written to show that men of army are as normal as any of the citizens of our nation. As corollary, we think of the men of the army for selflessness, don’t we? What was commendable for me in this story was the approach to the members of the Indian army, their kith and kin, their hardships as well as their sense of content. To lead such a life, well it’s a blessing whose value most of us do not know.
Title: Mistress of Honour
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Number of pages: 191
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
My rating: 3/5