A Second Chance by Subhashini Prasad is a love story; but unlike any you have read. It is an endearing tale of companionship between two lonely sixty-year-olds that gradually evolves into something deep, striking a chord with the reader.
Padma and Naren are widowed, doting grandparents and the designated caregivers of their young grandchildren. Padma is a woman of many talents. She is a dancer, a teacher, and an avid reader and makes the best filter coffee. She hasn’t had an easy life, having married her childhood sweetheart against her family’s wishes, only to lose him a few years later. Now, her world revolves around her son, her daughter-in-law, and the apple of her eye, her granddaughter.
Naren, on the other hand, is an anti-social introvert who helps his son and daughter-in-law raise their mischievous twin sons. He misses his wife, Meenal, who succumbed to cancer, and imagines having conversations with her. Naren reflects on his relationship with Meenu, their first meeting, the ups and downs, and the deep regret that he did not push her to pursue a career.
The unlikely couple of Padma and Naren bump into each other through mutual social circles, and the sparks of attraction fly. Could this be their second chance at love and living the life they wanted to?
Their love is not the running-around-the-trees kind of love but a deeper tender connection between two people finding comfort in each other. They joke about their aches and incontinence while discovering how to use new gadgets or selecting the right emojis to text. At times, they behave like lovelorn teenagers, making excuses, and sneaking out to meet.
The premise is relatable, like the older generation struggling with technology, mispronouncing words, or sharing stories of how the children don’t have enough time for them. The book is full of reflections, humour, and flashbacks, that make you chuckle in some places, while in others, you tear up. It holds up a mirror to society and challenges stereotypes about elderly love.
This is my favourite sentence from the book:
Naren was the capital letter at the beginning of a sentence, with no prediction of when the full stop will be marked. And yet the sentence was written. And written in bold.
In my opinion, what I felt could be different is Naren’s interactions with his daughter-in-law, Anjali; he does not seem to appreciate her enough.
Overall, A Second Chance is an enjoyable and endearing read. Padma and Naren stay with you even after you have finished the book. This is a feel-good story that reinforces the belief that everyone deserves a second chance, regardless of age.