As I sat down, my eyes rested on the envelope lying on the doormat, For Natasha, the writing on it said. I panicked, this cant is him again! I hurriedly opened it and his words made me cry out loud.”
The Anonymous is the story of Natasha, a victim of sexual violence, assault, harassment, and rape, who was a happy, cheerful girl, but she is now cold, heartbroken and weak! During her recovery, she was dragged into a vicious cycle of nightmares by the letters, that just wouldn’t let her move on.
“Dreams are woven and seamed when the bloodsheds”
But the path we move on is always not easy; Hurdles, difficulties, issues, problems bring you down, but the inspiration and spirit to go ahead keep you focused and determined. It is not easy, sometimes we get lost and trapped.
Is she trapped by it? Or is she forced into a cycle of self-harm and depression? Is it a fight to survive? Is there really no escaping the past?
“Hello. Don’t put the book down just yet, pick it. You are welcome to my world.” – The Anonymous
Topics of rape and harassment are seldom discussed so openly in Indian literature. The Anonymous by Nidhi Kukreja is the story of a rape survivor, who manages to find love after all the ordeal she went through.
Natasha is broken-hearted after being captured and repeatedly abused in an apartment. She has no idea who could hate her enough to make her suffer so much. Her family was no more and her best friend ignored her. To make it worse, she kept receiving creepy letters from someone under the name ‘The Anonymous’. Fed up of the sympathetic looks her sister was giving her, and how pathetic her life had become after the ‘incident’, Tasha decides to take the matter into her own hands. She seeks out Sidharth, her savior, who she knows would be the only person who can help her. Sidharth is overjoyed to see Natasha. But when he learns of what she had to go through, he is furious. Together, they trace the anonymous letters to reveal the identity of Tasha’s kidnapper.
I’m not sure how I feel about Natasha, the lead character. She was totally moody and sad at one time, and suddenly her personality changes to take up a determined stance. She is unpredictable and I appreciate her character growth. However, I felt that her character lacked a clear personality. There is very little about what she loves or dislikes. She is mainly portrayed as a character who has an awful past but is determined to make her life better. It was encouraging and sometimes confusing to gauge what she was thinking about. In the beginning, there was also a confusing overlap of timelines.
Nidhi’s potential as a writer shone clearly through the pages. Her words were provocative and encouraging. I liked the variety of descriptions of food. Tasha clearly loves to eat, which was relatable. But, the drool-worthy meals aside, the book needs more professional touch in terms of editing. Another thing I didn’t understand was how easily Tasha was able to enjoy her sexual relationships. For someone who was repeatedly raped for weeks, it seems unlikely for her to move on so quickly to a romantic relationship. While Nidhi might have felt that her character didn’t need to dwell on the past all the time, I couldn’t help feeling that the representation of a rape victim was quite inaccurate. Or at least, I didn’t sense the emotional development of her character.
The ending was quite unexpected, but a bit predictable if you think about it.
All in all, this book definitely offers a whole lot of potential. There’s a need for some more editing for the author’s writing to shine through. The story is fresh and raw. Nidhi doesn’t hold back anything at all. For a budding writer, she has done a fairly good job with her debut.
P.S. I’ve been informed that the later editions of the book have resolved some of the editing issues. It might not be a problem after all.