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Vasant-Lata' is more than just a teenage novel and more, too, than the story of two young people who are themselves the tragic victims of broken marriages. Its wide canvas, spanning India, East Africa and Britain, makes it a true tale for our community in this century which has witnessed emigration on an epic scale.
Vasant Desai is on his way to recruit teaching staff for the Janata High School in Kisumu, Kenya, of which he is the general secretary. On the train from Nadiad to Ahmedabad he meets the smart and beautiful Lata, who is herself travelling to appear at the interview as one of the applicants for a post at the school. It's a case, although restrained, of love at first sight.'
Imagine Lata's surprise the next day, when the interview officer she faces is the same 'Mister' whom she encountered on the train.
Lata is one of the successful candidates and soon finds herself on her way to africa to take up her new job as a teacher at the Janata High School.
The seed of love sown in India blossoms there in Kisumu remaining unwithered in the heat of life's ordeals. But, before Vasant and Lata can wed, Lata is struck down by the often fatal disease of leukaemia.
Fortunately our heroine receives prompt and successful treament at London's Royal Marsden Hospital, recovers and returns to Kenya to resume her interrupted life and love there.
The couple are able to marry and bring apotential tragedy to a final happy ending.
Apart from the intrinsic interest for East African Asians and their descendants of the finely observed scenes in Africa and India, the real charm of the story lies in its honest protrayal of both the stronger and the weaker aspects of our community culture.
Moreover, Popatlal Panchal is not only an accomplished story teller, but he also commands an attractive sense of humour which livens the serious concerns of the plot. This, coupled with the picturesque description, lucid narration, vivid chatacterisation, sharp dialogue and dramatic framing of the chapters, is guaranteed to hold the readers attention from the first page to the last.
“Gujarat Samachar' is proud to present such an interesting novel to the Gujarati-speaking public of the Uk in general and to its extensive circle of appreciative readers in particular.
With best wishes to Mr. Panchal for this book and his future writing.