The Story Behind the Story: Against All Odds

The brief in the beginning was that there should be a social message in the Indian context. To that end, the theme in this one is a class difference. While caste is a social evil people talk about with scorn, the class divide is equally prevalent in all corners of the globe. So here’s this story about what happens when two people from different strata of society meet and finds the sparks flying between them.

In the normal course, these should never have had their paths cross, but after the initial coincidences, they continue to. The chemistry is strong, Abhimanyu, the man about town, who has it all, thinks Sanjana is a fortune-hunter. Continuous meetings make him see the gentle soul she is and he falls in love with her even without realizing how the change has come about in him.

The setting of this story is one of contrasts, his palatial home and lavish lifestyle and her modest one. He rubs shoulders with the elite whereas she roams the mountains for relaxation. The difference in attitude comes through from the contrasting behavior and demeanor of the two sets of parents as well, all rooted in their own value systems and the lifestyles of their respective milieu.

In this one, there are fewer Hindi words as the more moneyed you are in this country the more anglicized you become. The friends move in similar circles so the background is often luxury hotels which are the playground of this class.

The friendships are strong in this one, too, perhaps begging for their own story. The mother-in-law from hell is a cliché, simply because she is reality. However much mothers know their sons, they can be totally off when it comes to their sons’ love interests. The interference can have disastrous consequences. In a romance novella you know love will prevail and in reality you hope it does.

Sanjana’s phenomenal success is really a slap in the face of Abhi’s mother’s and a proud achievement for her own parents. What is interesting is that they are so totally unaffected by it that they cannot understand why she needs to make changes in the house when she comes visiting.

Small town life and its slower pace of life along with the gentleness of the hill folk are true of places outside the big metros. Hospitality is losing its warmth with the breakneck pace of life in the cities, but remains central in small town India. Atithi devo bhava is what every child is taught, the difference is that in the heart of India it is actually a reality.

These were the considerations that went into writing the story and creating the setting for the characters. Since love is universal, these after all are the differences; the emotions remain the same anywhere.