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Not just soft porn
Oct 04, 2004 09:23 PM 8669 Views
(Updated Oct 04, 2004 09:23 PM)



The Company of women is a novel written by Khushwant Singh on the life of Mohan Kumar , a successful Delhi businessman. I have read the book and the reviews posted on it on With due respect to the opinions of other members I do not agree with their reviews.

The plot in brief is that Mohan Kumar is brought up by his father and sent to study in Princeton, U.S.A. He has his first sexual experience while at the university. He also has an affair with Yasmeen Wanchoo, wife of a Pakistani politician who also studies at the same university. When he returns to India, he starts is own firm and is soon looked upon in the society as a rising star.

Since Mohan is foreign educated the wealthy Lala Achint Ram accepts him as his son in law. However a few years after marriage, cracks develop in the relationship and the feelings evaporate. After Mohan's wife Sonu leaves him and goes back to her parental home, Mohan Kumar gives an advertisement in the newspaper inviting female partners for a personal relationship. What follows there after is the description of carnal adventures of Mohan Kumar with a variety of women which I do not wish to reveal here.

The members have denounced this book as softporn in their reviews. I describe it as a commentary on hypocritical relationships. If you read and understand Mohan Kumar's character you shall understand why he does what he does. Mohan is a character deprived of female affection. His mother had passed away when he was young. His wife was too immature at the time of marriage. Her pregnancy subsequent to the honeymoon night never really allowed their relationship to develop. To his rich in laws he is more an item of social status, a foreign return son in law.

The only person who really loves him is his father. However, he too is sent away by his wife to Haridwar where he dies and Mohan Kumar doesnt even have the opportunity to cremate him with his own hands. If you read this story in the backdrop of this mental picture of Mohan Kumar you feel what he does is justified. Since he has never found true affection he tries to buy it with his money. If you read the book carefully he needs companionship and not just physical joy.

The merit of this book is that it shows how hypocritical relationships can lead to frustrations in a man's life.Mohan Kumar's character has been very well built up. His interactions with his father are touching. The character of Mohan's mother in law is symbolic of hypocritical people who use relationships as a social status. Khushwant Singh's description of the evening in Haridwar by banks of river ganges is also well written.

The demerits of this book is too much emphasis on sensual events.The book could have ended up as a superb commentary on human relationships but instead it has ended up as soft porn. Members who have written their reviews earlier are right that Khushwant Singh's imagination is indeed at play here. The idea of buying companionship is obviously repulsive to women readers.

The book is recommended only for mature readers. Read it to understand how hollow relationships destroy a man's life.

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Company of Women, The - Khushwant Singh