Born to an academic, middle-class family in a small town of indeterminate character where there was nothing to do except cry, make a phone call or masturbate’, Geetika Mehendiratta struggles to understand her own private world of intellectual intensity and uncontainable sexuality which is being subsumed in the dusty world of Desertvadi.
Coming to Lutyenabad ostensible to pursue an education that her parents deem absolutely essential for women in the present times, Getika does manage to get ‘highly educated’ though perhaps only in the truer sense of the phrase. Researching she finds that the only way to hold on to anything is by relinquishing the position of the ingénue, committing an action and being committed to it.
In this forthright first novel, the often comic and sometimes heartrending aspects of Geetika’s life on the campus are communicated in a prose that has texture, an intuitive verbal intelligence and a very Indian bilingual sensibility.
Praise for the novel
The Higher Education of Geetika Mehendiratta
Anuradha Marwah Roy’s remarkable first novel, intelligently crafted, touchingly told. Free from stylistic affectations, her fluent prose is devoid of the subverting impact of pleonastic frills – a virtue few debutante-writers can claim to possess. Reflecting a bilingual sensibility, what emerges as a very obvious concern is her desire to be recognized as a natural storyteller.
Bishwadeep Ghosh in ‘The Sunday Times of India’.
What is not to be taken for granted are the clear flashes of insight into character, the incisive use of dialogue to pad out the even tone of the narrative style, so that Geetika becomes unforgettable not just for her polysyllabic name (which she hates) but because she has been so believably and recognizably put together – the new Indian woman coming to terms with herself in an Indian society from which she can expect no quarter and to which she will grant none.
Carol Andrade in ‘The Metropolis on Saturday’
The book is wholly modern and yet Indian enough, is fluently written and easily read.
Muriel Wasi in ‘The Hindustan Times’
It is a charming story, written blandly and without excessive emotion, about growing up. The style is reminiscent of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole series.
Prita Maitra in ‘Sunday Magazine’
Geetika, the girl, the teenager, the post-graduate student rings true. You delight in her discoveries and share her pain.
Sunil Mehra in ‘The Pioneer’.
Geetika traverses the geographical and mental space between a small town in Rajasthan and the national capital. First novels are notoriously unreliable for future projection, but collectively these books point to an indigenous state of good literary health.
Meenakshi Mukherjee in ‘Far Eastern Economic Review’