The blurb of The Guardian Angels by Rohit Gore hints at a paranormal theme of soulmates who are destined to protect each other. Though the psychic nature of the connection between the two main protagonists is never openly described, it comes through as part of the story, through each of the four parts of the book.
The Guardian Angels is the story of Aditya Mehta and Radha Deodhar, and narrates the events that bind their lives together from their teenage years to their thirties. In what seems to be a tribute to the classic bestseller Love Story, Adi and Radha are portrayed as opposite poles, the shy rich boy and the spunky middle class girl, two distinct individuals who could not be different from each other in their backgrounds, temperament and aspirations. Yet the bonds connecting them are beyond their close and often volatile friendship, mutual attraction and even love.
Though they choose to stay apart from each other, the fateful nature of their relationship causes them to save the other, which they do several times in the course of the book – going beyond the protocols of friendship and romantic love to save the other literally, or by supporting the other emotionally.
The side characters are well sketched out and more than mere props in the background and as the story develops, they help to accentuate the strange nature of the lead pair’s involvement with each other. Adi’s attachment to his classmate Nicole which is more than a casual attraction and Radha’s devoted involvement with the activist group led by her hero Sudha Bapat have been portrayed well, showing how the two lovers are comfortable existing as they say ‘in parallel universes’ even when they yearn for each other, much like the celebrated lovers Amit and Labanya in Tagore’s Shesher Kabita. I especially liked how the character of Sudha Bapat has been portrayed, how she metamorphoses from a staunch idealist to a vacuous celebrity activist and the honesty with which she describes the need and the reason behind her change.
At its core, The Guardian Angels is an earnest love story with the theme of lovers as mutual saviours giving it a unique twist. The way the narration pans a cinematic eye through the lives of Adi and Radha, it is easy to imagine that the action packed scenes, the variety of the background settings and the emotional dialogue would also make it material for a good movie someday.
(I thank the author for giving me a free copy for an unbiased review)