So, there are books on extra-marital affairs and then there’s Kanchana Banerjee’s debut, ‘A Forgotten Affair’. The blurb says – “Sagarika Mehta walks out of her nine-year-old marriage, meets with a near-fatal accident and goes into a deep coma all on the same day. After six months, she wakes up with no memory of her past. When she is discharged from hospital a year later, Rishab, her husband, whisks her away to an unfamiliar address in Gurgaon to convalesce.
There, in that plush apartment, with people waiting on her hand and foot, Sagarika can’t shake off the feeling that something is wrong.
Why does the scent of a particular cologne unsettle her? Why does the innocuous word ‘cheeni’ bother her? And why is Rishab so evasive in response to her queries about her past?
A Forgotten Affair is a gripping story of a woman caught between two worlds.”
The book has been labelled ‘Romance’, but to me, the story was more than a love story. It went beyond the boy-meets-girl-and-falls-in-love. It was about a woman, finding herself, and coming to accept, no matter how much ever she loves her man (or men, in this case), she does NOT NEED one to live a meaningful life. At the same time, it’s not about shunning men away either. It’s just about her finding her own identity in a society that constantly ‘worries’ about such single, independent women.
Sagarika could be anyone of us, starry-eyed and believing nothing can go wrong between her and Rishab. But when they do, it’s not easy for her to walk out either. Like the story says, sometimes you need to forget to remember who you truly are. And only when Sagarika loses her memory in an accident does she truly begin to discover herself.
The writing has a smooth flow to it. The author has done an amazing job at pandering to all five senses, especially smell, which I find is the toughest sense to describe. I caught myself easily getting intrigued by that citrusy- essence that evoked such a deep memory in Sagarika.