My Review Of “This Time It’s Forever” – By Aditi Bose

The plot, on the whole, is interesting—a clear departure from the run-of-the-mill stories flooding the market. It’s not a ‘girl-meets-boy’ kind of story, but a sensitive portrayal of two confused lovers perpetually in a state of uncertainty. The narrative is smooth with hardly any blemishes. It does, however, leave a few questions unanswered.
Everything is permissible in fiction, as long as things remain within the boundaries of realism, which is where the story doesn’t sound entirely convincing. Any sensible girl, ditched by an uncertain and largely unpredictable lover, would find it hard to succumb to a short message on a mobile, inviting her to start all over again after a gap of over a year! No spoken word, no remorse or explanation, no nothing! Just a short message out of the blue and she melts? Why couldn’t they exercise their vocal chords to clear the air before she rushes off to the airport?
Here’s this girl, Aisha, a well-placed corporate executive— a strong character, and not some fourteen-year old to have fallen for the bait so blindly. But she does, despite having received curt responses in the past from this capricious guy. And no questions asked?
The author is telling the story in flash-back mode while Aisha is on a flight to Bombay. There are clever interruptions by the air-hostess and inflight announcements, though one never heard of a captain using “boys and girls” in his address.
Aisha and Arunavo are clearly besotted with each other though both remain in a forced state of denial for too long. While Aisha’s character and her internal conflicts have been flashed out quite beautifully, Arunavo comes across as somewhat immature in his conduct. He keeps on harping being just friends and nothing else while pursuing her relentlessly. It is difficult to believe that they didn’t progress much despite having gone through the stage of ‘unzipping’ each other clandestinely during her birthday party! The only sign of maturity Arunavo is made to display is when the author goes on to describe his skills in the bed, leaving little to imagination. It is here the author outshines even the most established authors of this genre.
The text is fluid and easy on the eye though stretched out a bit too far at places, affecting the pace of the story. There’s too much of shoptalk, which tends to distract a reader from the main course. A little bit of economy there would’ve worked better in my humble opinion. At places the dialogue tags are confusing; one doesn’t know whether Aisha is speaking to herself or somebody else. Perhaps the internal thoughts could’ve been presented in a different way. And then there’s an overdose of ‘mmms’ and ‘umms’, which suggests that all the main characters belong to the same school of speech.
“True love never ends”, as the author suggests on the title of the book, but it does end when Arunavo vanishes from Aisha’s life, forever, without a word.
The author clearly wants to surprise a reader by the choice of her ending, but things become more or less obvious when Aisha comes face-to-face with Arunavo’s mother. The mute page extracted from Arunavo’s diary comes as a lame excuse for not having revealed the truth a lot earlier. What was his motive in addressing Aisha in the pages of his diary…unless of course he wanted her to know the truth only after he was gone?
The title – “This Time It’s forever” — would’ve fitted better, in my humble opinion, if it had been a part of that message Arunavo sent to Aisha. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story and the author’s easy style—a nice book for a rainy day.


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