The Counsel of Strangers by Gouri Dange is the second novel from this writer and practicing counselor. Reading it is somewhat of a therapeutic exercise in itself, as characters open up only to receive comfort from the observations and guidance of others.
Six strangers, who would rather be someplace else, find themselves together at a wedding. Life has had its ups and downs, more downs actually, for each of them, and there they are, for all appearances, acting like it just couldn’t have been better.
When they collectively move off to a viewing gallery and get talking into the night, what follows is a peek into lives and traumas each of them is trying to cope with, and the support system that spontaneously emerges in those dark hours. The author, after all, is a counselor, and a gentle one at that.
A retired air force man, and facing censure for belonging to an age group where love is not deemed appropriate, a young boy facing the adverse consequences of having a delinquent elder brother and very disturbed parents, a harried nurse coping with the rut of handling patients and learning some shocking truths about herself, a professor in turmoil over a brilliant son giving it all up for a career in Bollywood, a TV news anchorman who has gotten himself into trouble in his job, a female dubbing artist with a failed marriage and a bad relationship.
Given such circumstances, there can only be tremendous out-
pourings, as every one tries to help. Lots of compassion as each one goes away renewed in spirit, buoyed enough for the face-off.
The Counsel of Strangers
By Gouri Dange
, Price Rs.250