Three's a crowd

Vidisha Chirmulay
Saturday, 23 March 2019

In a cruel twist of fate, Akriti receives a phone call that shatters her. In shock, she sinks into depression. Siddhant is crushed by her sadness but is unwaveringly supportive to Akriti.

People view depression in various ways. Many of them aren’t aware that it is a mental illness and not just feeling blue or low. They think that it is not a big deal and depressed people can just ‘snap out of it’ and try to feel happier. In reality, dealing with depression doesn’t work this way.

Popular writer Nikita Singh’s latest novel The Reason is You addresses this sensitive topic. Siddhant, a senior resident at AIIMS, Delhi, encounters Akriti, a fellow doctor, and you can definitely sense that romance is in the air. In a cruel twist of fate, Akriti receives a phone call that shatters her. In shock, she sinks into depression. Siddhant is crushed by her sadness but is unwaveringly supportive to Akriti.

The story unfolds gradually, largely from Siddhant’s perspective. As you get multiple glimpses into his thoughts, you realise how overwhelming it can be for a person to deal with a depressed partner. He goes to the extent of neglecting his own well-being. When he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Maahi, buried feelings resurface, the lives of all three are thrown off balance and you wonder how the messy tangle of love will be unravelled. In fact, this book is connected to two other novels by Singh — Like a Love Song (which revolves around Siddharth and Maahi falling in love) and Every Time It Rains.

The emotionally charged scenes in the book show Siddhant and Akriti having tense conversations that sometimes seem to go around in circles, but these scenes propel the plot forward and reinforce the theme. As you turn the pages, you find yourself empathising with Siddhant and Akriti’s heartache, to some extent.

The writing shows how an individual’s ideas of morality can shift the boundaries of relationships, and this gives the plot an uneven feel, closely reflecting how the characters experience psychological turmoil and make decisions.

The Reason is You is certainly not a typical sentimental romance. As the author has expressed in her note, being in a relationship with a person suffering from depression is not easy, and the novel captures this struggle. Although I wouldn’t call the book a gripping page-turner, the narrative is inhabited by characters with opinions, motivations, frustrations and flaws, which you may relate to. If you have been looking for a love story that’s not the stuff of fairytales but instead portrays contemporary relationships with all their raw emotions and upheaval, you will find the book worthwhile.

THE REASON IS YOU
Author: Nikita Singh
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Pages: 236
Price: Rs 199

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