Review: Aftertaste – Namita Devidayal

February 28, 2013
Author: Namita Devidayal
Publisher: Random House India
Year: 2010
ISBN: 9788184001877
Rating: ★★★☆☆




The initial impression of ‘Aftertaste’ – the title coupled with the cover seemed promising. But later, when I browsed through the synopsis, my entire conception of the title changed! And that is what piqued my curiosity even more.

Greed, envy, pride, ‘Aftertaste’ is a blend of all the emotional topsy-turvy that a joint family can go through. Politics happen everywhere…  And family politics is one very sensitive issue with the Indian audience. An area where all the television serial producers apparently make the most money!

‘Aftertaste’ is a story of such family politics spread across three generations – Mummyji aka Bimla Thodarmal and her four children – Rajan, Sunny, Suman and Saroj. Children who had to grow up before time, who were bossed around, who were neglected and who were cunningly manipulated by Mummyji; even after they married and went their own ways.

 ‘Aftertaste’ has each character beautifully carved out. Imbibed with variant personalities, every character is done fair justice. Rajan inadvertently following in his father’s footsteps, Sunny undergoing the trauma of an unsatisfied marriage, Suman putting her entire faith and belief not in herself but his holy highness and Saroj awaiting re-union with her estranged husband. And as for Mummiji, she is the apple of every one’s eye… That soon begins to start pricking!

A baniya family, exchanging trade secrets of the mithai business, passing on legacies to its future generations and in the process undergoing various phases of life and relationships. Invisible hierarchy, absent minded dictatorship and hidden selfish motives, the vital ingredients of a perfect family drama.

The plot slowly spreads its diameter to a dark evil family secret – the pursuit for obtaining the ownership of the family riches. Coupled with the family business as a financial backbone to fame and prosperity, it definitely proves to be a deadly combination for the steady functioning of a happy and satisfied family.

What I liked the best about this book – the author’s creative technique to provide the reader a peek in the mindset of every character! It almost made me visualize the scenes for real, as if the entire story was unfolding in front of my eyes in actuality.

The plot has many acts and scenes, almost like the narrative in a play, where all the different incidents lead to one major event – the great Mummyji on her death bed and the children… All wishing her dead, all for reasons of their own! ‘Aftertaste’ is a perfect family melodrama, that goes much deeper than mere family history. It teaches you how every tiny little happiness can lose its charm and importance when weighed against Money!

The only disappointment for me was the climax… After all the build up, since the story was already at a peak, I began expecting something unusual. But then it hit me, that although it may seem ironic, but tragedy too has a happy ending…And that… is what signifies the title ‘Aftertaste’.



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