Karom Seth should have been in the Twin Towers on the morning of 9/11, and on the Indian shores in 2004, when the tsunami swept his entire family into the ocean. Whether it’s a curse or a blessing, Karom can’t be sure, but his absence from these disasters has left him with crushing guilt—and a belief that fate has singled him out for invincibility.
Karom’s affliction consumes everyone around him, from his best friend, Lloyd, to his girlfriend, Gita, who hopes that a trip to India will help him find peace. It is in Delhi that he meets Gita’s grandmother, Kamini—a quirky but wise woman with secrets of her own. At first Karom dismisses Kamini, but little does he realize that she will ultimately lead him to the clarity he’s been looking for. Spanning the globe from New York to India, Where Earth Meets Water is a stunning portrait of a quest for human understanding, and a wise exploration of grief, survival and love in all its forms.
Pia Padukone’s debut novel, Where Earth Meets Water has been written in an interesting format. The story told through different perspectives and one can simultaneously experience the stories of all the characters. This book does not talk about Karom’s story alone but also the story of Lloyd and Kamini, two people who are struggling to make sense of their lives.
Karom is a young man who likes to defy death whenever he gets an opportunity, and the people who are a part of his life. Llyod, who is engaged to be married in a few weeks, is fighting his inner demons to understand who he is in love with and Kamini, who never got a chance to embrace her full potential because of her family’s restrictions, is now ready to
The little vignettes help you to piece the story together, little by little. Karom is trying to come to terms with his haunted past that has left him scarred for life. His healing process through his various interactions with people and places and his stubbornness in either dying or proving his invincibility and water, that has deeply influenced his life is a running theme across the book.
Karom and Gita’s journey to India puts things in perspective for them and I feel that Karom, who leaves the only thing that binds him to his past behind, is ready for the future. It does not have a conventional end but it leaves you satisfied that the future definitely is full of hope.
If you pick up this book, do read Pia’s description of the Taj Mahal carefully. I loved it and I could not help but read it a couple of times just to let it sink in. Kamini, a true woman of substance, is by far my favourite character in the book. Her little idiosyncrasies, her prayers and her love for Gita and Karom is very endearing. It reminded me of my Naniji.
Where Earth Meets Water is an absorbing read and what I loved about this book is the fact that different people can come to different conclusions about the story. It does not tell you what is going to happen eventually, but allows you think and imagine the future on your own.