True blue romance at the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

  •  Ambica Gulati
I had a friend who lived on the beautiful islands in the far corner of India amidst nature and its emerald beauty. She would talk about how the crickets could be heard, how the sky was so clear, the water so blue, how the trip to volcanoes was an exciting boat ride and you need permission to go there. Her daughter would do deep sea diving. And they would go to Havelock for this and eat on the roadside cafes some of the yummiest sea food and local cuisine. They talked about wearing flippers, seeing the world of sea, world in the water and all things looked to glorious in their stories. They photographed birds in the area, went for walks, slept in the afternoon and wore the thinnest cotton to ward off the humidity. They would ride in the sea plane and catamarans.
And amidst all these memories I received Adite Banerjie’s latest book Trouble Has a New Name. Adite is an old friend and she had told me the book would be launched in July but she was mum about this island romance. So I had to read to know all about the world of modelling, a new luxury resort, Rayna and Neel and their love spats and lovemaking. The islands are the ultimate backdrop for the unlikeliest of romances to brew. And as in most romance stories I find that the romance never gets off on the right foot, in this case flip flops of the model Rayna Dutt’s hangover flight to catch the flight.
The story is woven well around a friend’s wedding to be held on the lovely islands and it synchronises with the resort’s high profile launch.
Once a journalist, always a journalist, Adite has skilfully woven the launch and the wedding and coverage of all this by a prominent TV channel. But what I liked best are the phrases, “countess of skills, stony-silence, RBIL mantras” which Rayna has cooked up for herself for handling all situations. Its fun to have these great add-ons to an already Bollywood kind of a story. In fact, it’s the kind which would make for a perfect Karan Johar drama. There is a lot of emotion, suppressed family secrets, hanging on with grit kind of situations, little misunderstanding which make way for mountains of fights, relationship snags, the Indian family above all scenario.
But what I did find missing is another subplot of romance, maybe the manager could have hit off with another girl, or the sister could have also found a warm hug somewhere. Why don’t M&Bs encourage sub plots like this Adite? I would like to know if she would like this to happen too in her next book.
And what the book did get me exploring, the things I could do on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the places I would like to explore there.
Here’s my wish list:
  • Barren Volcano at Barren Island: The Island, an uninhabited place, is accessible only to Coast Guard and naval ships maintaining regular patrol in the area.
  • Port Blair Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is 29 km from Port Blair. This Marine Park made-up of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands, is one of the best found anywhere in the world. Viewing of rare corals and underwater marine life through glass bottom.
  • Sippighat Farm: Sprawling over an area of 80 acres, this is a government farm. Research & Development programmers cultivate spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, coconut and pepper here.
  • Chidiya Tapu (25 km from Port Blair) is the southernmost tip of South Andaman. The lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the Sylvan Sands and Munda Pahar beaches make it an ideal picnic site. The forest guesthouse situated on top of a hillock provides a fabulous view of isolated islands, submerged corals and the breath-taking sunset. A biological park has also been opened for tourists.
  • Central Jail where prisoners were kept in single cells.
  • Havelock Island and other neighbourhood islands.
Book details
Publisher: Harlequin Romance
Pages: 187
Price: Rs 150

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