Flavour of romance in uniform: ‘Love in Olive Greens’ (Book Review)

Title: Love in Olive Greens; Author: Anju; Publisher: Notion Press.Com; Pages: 85; Price: Rs.125

What is love? What does love mean in our lives?

We have often heard that love happens only once. It is said “love is blind”, but is it really so?

We have also heard that the mutual love by two individuals is never the same. Of the two – one would be definitely loving the other more than he or she gets in reciprocation.

This is neither an exception nor a hurdle.

This difference in love actually make things move, it is said.

In the context of the story at hand, both protagonists are military personnel and hence the title.

The author Anju Bala is a serving army officer and so is her husband. So, the 85-page thin book, in all likelihood, has a few autobiographical elements.

The distance that separates the protagonists is not all from the imaginative landscape.

This reviewer knows both author Anju and her husband as two individuals who have served in forward areas like Tawang in the far-flung northeastern India. Perhaps this makes the portrayal of pain and isolation more painful than could have been written out of the creative genius of any author. Here the truth may appear bitter – but it is perhaps more candid.

Even in the deepest and most lasting bonds between a husband and wife, human beings would often never open up and speak so openly as someone often does facing a blank screen of a computer and can address an unknown reader.

Here is the power of Anju’s literature – a frank portrayal. This seems to be like the best part of this story.

The story line seems simple but yet offers a mixed cocktail of a myriad of human reactions when it comes to love, physical urges and an element of betrayal, especially when lifted from the backyard of the past.

The male protagonist has a past and that comes to haunt his lover and wife.

This book, in the ultimate, may not challenge a reader’s views about the existence of love; but it can force you to raise eyebrows about the morality issue in love.

Can ethics and morale only remain psychological issues for individuals? When one has to talk about certain mysteries about a destination called marriage, is it the end goal?

The book is thus worth turning its pages if one is keen to peep inside the territory of young lovers, their small world of “thoughts, love and imagination” – as the phrase is used quite philosophically.

However, can the lovers in this uniquely-narrated story ultimately become the “authors” of their own destiny? Find out from the pages of this tiny volume.

(Nirendra Dev can be contacted at nirendra.n@ians.in)



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