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The Book

BOOKHARDFor the Love of a Man

Father, lover, husband, son, have let me down one by one.
Each time I fell on life’s terrain, another’s help I sought to gain
Each one jerked his hand away and, heartlessly walked away.
Each time, something within me died, as feelings numbed and crystallized.
Each stab, each wound, each little prick, scarred and hardened into a brick,
That turned my heart into a fort, which could now stand, without support.
I have done with sighs and anguished cries; with love and longing, lust and lies,
After elusive shadows, long I ran, never again, will I crave the love of a man.
From now on, it just my dog and me and a book beneath a shady tree.

Amrita is forced to submit to an arranged marriage though she loves another. As long as she remains the image of glorified femininity, she blends into the background, for that is what Indian womanhood is all about. She grows corns standing on the pedestal and steps down to do what pleases her. Her virtue is irrevocably stained when she gives in to an unsuitable lover. All too soon the price of illicit love exceeds its pleasures.

Her parents condemn her, her sons despise her and her husband tightens the chains of matrimony despite her infidelity. There is shame and blame and a devouring isolation. In an attempt to retain her sanity, she flees to the Himalayas. In those lofty reaches she finds a startlingly simple solution to her problems – she has to look inwards for the peace evaded her.

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Reviews



For the Love of a Man
by Amrinder Bajaj
Xlibris
reviewed by Wendy Strain

“It has been said that the loss of someone you love is not the greatest loss a person suffers; losing yourself in that person and forgetting that you are special too, is your greatest loss. Long had I been enslaved to one who did not value my worth. Now that I had broken free, I experienced the exhilaration of liberty. Never again would I endure so much for the love of a man. It simply wasn’t worth the price I had to pay.”

Filled with rich imagery, beautiful prose, and an occasional poem to more fully express the more overwhelming emotional moments, this is the story of a woman torn between fulfilling the ideals she was raised to believe in and answering an internal need to experience life to greater depth. As the eldest daughter of a family already marred by controversy, the narrator reveals how a happy childhood helped instill beliefs that would guide her through the rest of her life. While these beliefs guided her into becoming a strong, capable, and loving woman as well as a talented and dedicated doctor, they also served to bind her into a loveless marriage and a thankless family.

Ironically, the bindings are crafted of ties named family, honor, and duty, none of which seem afforded to her by any of the people in her life. More than simply taking everything she had to offer while offering no comforts in return, the people in her life took everything she earned while actively alienating her even from her own sons, ensuring her life was as isolated and lonely as it could possibly be.

The story reveals how the strict social structure of late-20th century India severely limited the opportunities and freedoms of women even when they were highly educated and successful professionals. While some women were beginning to break free of the traditional bounds, others, including the narrator in this story, remained trapped within the bounds of social expectations. Through her story, the narrator demonstrates how the reward of remaining true to these traditional structures are expected to be a smooth and satisfying life, but such is not the case. When one is choked of all joy and possibility in life, is it better to grab for the oxygen mask or allow oneself to die? In presenting her story, the narrator here poses these questions without apology or justification. Whether right or wrong, she has found her humanity and has found peace with it, learning that happiness and fulfillment come not from without, but from within

RECOMMENDED by the US Review


Title: For the Love of a Man
Author: Amrinder Bajaj
Publisher: XlibrisUS
ISBN: 9781524593537
Pages: 376
Genre: Romance/Women’s Interest/Self-Discovery
Reviewed by: Tiffany Ezuma

There are two kinds of choices you make in life: those you make for yourself and those you make for others. Too often we make decisions based on the best interest of others, even if that comes at the expense of our own happiness. For the Love of a Man by author Amrinder Bajaj, she tells the story of one such dilemma and one woman’s journey to find her own happiness and make her own choices.

The novel’s protagonist, Amrita, is forced to enter an arranged marriage; despite the fact she loves another man and wants to marry to him. This situation isn’t uncommon though in the culture she lives in, as she eventually submits herself to the marriage given that reality she doesn’t have a choice if she wants to be considered a good woman. Author Bajaj is particularly adept at illustrating Amrita’s internal struggle as the readers, from different cultures, are taught a good understanding of the forces which are used to make a woman agree to such an arrangement. Even when, in this case, her heart wants someone different.

Soon after Amrita is officially married she begins to fall into the trap of trying to be a perfect wife while living up to societal pressures which aren’t akin to whom she is a person. The author does an excellent job with the dichotomy of Amrita’s feelings, which sheds a fascinating element into this story. As often is the case, Amrita’s unhappiness eventually leads to a passionate affair, but complications with that relationship begin to threaten all of Amrita’s relationships. This situation leads Amrita to make a life changing decision – having to rely on her own inner strength to get through the hard times.

Semi-autobiographical, this novel pulls on the author’s experiences to build a rich, wholly developed character in Amrita. She is a protagonist we see grow from the start of the novel all the way to the last page. Her journey feels unique to her particular circumstances, but at the same time, there are bits and pieces most women could pull examples from their own lives, understand and relate to and learn from. Because of this, For the Love of a Man makes the perfect reading selection for a women’s book
club or anyone looking to find a bit of inspiration. This is a book which will be remembered long after finishing, as well as perhaps change one’s outlook on the custom of pre-arranged marriages.