Books with a plot of substance are the kind that stand the test of time and are remembered for the content that they have and the message that they intend to convey. “The Convict” by Rajesh Srivastava on the surface, may seem to be a simple story of a woman as projected by the author. But, on diving into the narrative and getting involved as it progresses, the readers understand that there is a lot more in addition to the surface meaning of the plot. They get to read between the lines and understand not just the different spheres of knowledge that the author has but also his critical thinking and in addition to this, his art of conveying everything without imposing anything on the mind of the readers.
As “The Convict” begins, the readers have a different sort of an expectation from the title. But whatever the readers think does not even form half of the book. The content the author shares is way beyond the expectations of the readers and far from their anticipations. Through the character of Dr. Rekha Kapoor, the protagonist, the author not only shows the cruelty and injustice of the system to a dedicated and devoted individual but also the sufferings because of the mistakes of the others. The readers cannot help but sympathize with the fate of the renowned doctor and yet they hope that life will bring something better to her. Through her tragedies and sufferings, Dr. Rekha becomes a representative of any human being as life is not about the happy times rather, the sad times form an equal part and sometimes much more. This makes her story universal and leaves no chance to be restricted to any particular gender.
In the space of the novel, more than a decade of Dr. Rekha’s life is captured and the readers get to see how she silently suffers twice for the same charges despite not having done anything even once. That is how the role of fate or destiny is highlighted by the author. At the same time, on a social level, the author also gives a hint of how society does not accept individuals who work hard and want others to also do justice to their work. As a result, they become opportunists and turn the situation against them by politicizing things and resorting to one of the most common ways, lying. This is how things go with Dr. Rekha when the nurse, Rosy and Dr. Anoop plan things against her and take advantage of the opportunity they get.
Alos, through the narrative of “The Convict”, Srivastava shows the unpredictability of life and the fact that the world is a small place after all. He shows how destiny can play games and how karma does it role in the lives of people on the basis of their doings through the lives of almost all the characters depicted in the novel. In this manner, he shows the depth of life. On the other hand, through the characterization of the Mittal couple, he also shows the other side of the book, the human nature. He shows the negativity and jealousy and the extent to which it can take a person to. This reinforces the applicability of Alexander Pope’s satirical quote, “A little Knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Apart from this, the ghastly effects of assumptions and judgment without detailed knowledge and awareness of facts. The combined effect of this is seen on Dr. Rekha who becomes a victim of her circumstances and also such people.
The readers can find multiple layers of meanings attached to the narrative and can go on decoding the situations. Just when they think that the end of the story is close, they see that a major portion of the book remains to be read. This fuels their curiosity and they can’t help but stay glued to the book for a longer time. The author also displays his craft in the time to time surprise elements he packs the book with. The readers get thrilled and excited on the unexpected turn of events and can also relate them to life in the next instant. All this combined with a swinging narrative of first and third person also makes the book interesting. For majority of time, they remain the audience but sometimes, they do have the urge of getting personally involved in the system of the book. Even when the narrative shifts to the third person, the readers become more attentive and interested in hearing what the author has to say.
The recommendation of “The Convict” to any particular set of readers would be next to doing injustice to the book. But, the lovers of fiction content who want to have an interaction characters involved in different fields of work and equally complicated lives should try reading this book.