Benign Flame ; Saga of Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Roopa marries Sathyam, hoping that he would help her become a doctor but as he fails her, feeling let down, she insensibly seeks lesbian solace in her friend Sandhya’s embrace. Soon, in a dramatic sequence of events, Tara, a suave call girl, tries to rope Roopa into her calling; Roopa herself loses her heart to Sandhya's beau Raja Rao, and Prasad, her husband’s friend falls for her. And as Prasad begins to induce Sathyam to be seduced by whores to worm his way into her affections, Roopa finds herself in a dilemma. But as fate puts Raja Rao into Roopa’s arms in such a way as to lend novelty to fiction, this ‘novel’ nuances man-woman chemistry on one hand, and portrays woman-woman empathy on the other.

Who said the novel is dead; 'Benign Flame' raises the bar as vouched by -

The plot is quite effective and it’s a refreshing surprise to discover that the story will not trace a fall into disaster for Roopa, given that many writers might have habitually followed that course with a wife who strays into extramarital affairs - Spencer Critchley, Literary Critic, U.S.A.

The author has convinced the readers that love is something far beyond the marriage tie and the fulfillment of love can be attained without marriage bondage. The author has achieved a minor revolution without any paraphernalia of revolution in the fourth part of the novel – The Quest, India.

The author makes free use of – not interior monologue as such, but – interior dialogue of the character with the self, almost resembling the dramatic monologue of Browning. Roopa, Sandhya, Raja Rao and Prasad to a considerable extent and Tara and Sathyam to a limited degree indulge in rationalization, trying to analyse their drives and impulses – The Journal of Indian Writing in English.

Overall, Benign Flame is a unique attempt at exploring adult relationships and sexuality in the contemporary middle-class. All the characters come alive with their cravings and failings, their love and their lust. Benign Flame blurs the lines and emphasizes that life is not all black and white - it encompasses the full spectrum of living - Indian Book Chronicle.

Also available in the chapters format in this site
Chapter of the Saga
1. Ramaiah’s Family
2. Realities of Life
3. Hapless Hope
4. Turn at the Tether
5. Moorings of Marriage
6. World within the World
7. Roopa’s En Passant
8. Threshold of Temptation
9. Sathyam’s Surrender
10. Sandhya’s Sojourn
11. Match in the Making
12. Poignant Moment
13. Wedding Season
14. Veil of Fate
15. Naughty Nuptials
16. Tidings of Love
17. Tentative Moves
18. Fetishes of Fantasy
19. Curtain of Courtesy
20. Blueprint in the Offing
21. Enduring Longing
22. Villainy of Life
23. Playboy at Play
24. Scheming the Theme
25. Device of Deceit
26. Software of Detour
27. Tara’s Theory
28. Night of the Mates
29. A Brimming Romance
30. Euphoric Forays
31. Living the Dream
32. Chat at the Bar
33. Amour on Rein
34. Surge of a Merge
35. Date with Destiny
36. Threesome Sail
37. End of an Innings
38. Subdued Beginning

Table of Contents

Part - I

The attractions Roopa experienced and the fantasies she entertained as a teen shaped a male imagery that ensconced her subconscious. Insensibly, confident carriage came to be associated with the
image of maleness in her mind-set. Her acute consciousness of masculinity only increased her vulnerability to it, making her womanliness crave for the maleness for its gratification. However, as
her father was constrained to help her in becoming a doctor, she opts to marry, hoping that Sathyam might serve her cause though the persona she envisioned as masculine, she found lacking in him.
But as he fails to go with her idea, she becomes apathetic towards him, and insensibly sinks into her friend Sandhya’s embrace, for lesbian solace. In time, she comes in contact with Tara the suave
call girl who unsuccessfully tries to rope her into her calling to achieve which she introduces Ravi the seducer. However, when Roopa goes to attend Sandhya’s wedding, she loses her heart to Raja
Rao the groom even as Prasad, her husband’s lecherous friend falls for her. The scheming Prasad induces Sathaym to go the corrupt way besides weaning him away from Roopa with the aid of whores to
make his path clear to her amour and that throws her into a dilemma. But as fate puts Raja Rao into Roopa’s arms, how the tale ends is best described by one Mr. Spencer Critchley, thus: “It’s a
refreshing surprise to discover that the story will not trace a fall into disaster for Roopa, given that many writers might have habitually followed that course with a wife who strays into
extramarital affairs.” Who said the novel is dead; 'Benign Flame' raises the bar.
Read Chapter

Part - I(A)

 11 It was the night that Sathyam awaited in elation and Roopa approached with trepidation. “Guess what I’ve got for you... Read Chapter

Part - I(B)

 20 As though to bring Roopa back to her humdrum routine, the next morning, Yadamma turned up for work past nine. “Why so ... Read Chapter

Part - II

 Part - II That December evening, Sandhya came home dancing to the tune, "Soon I’m going, to see my darling.” ... Read Chapter

Part - II(A)

 8 That midsummer though Roopa was in heat to meet Sandhya, as her apprehensions about losing her mate after her marriage bogged... Read Chapter

Part -II(B)

14 When it was time for breakfast, Raja Rao and Sandhya went hand in hand to Thimmaiah’s place to be greeted by Narasamma’s steam... Read Chapter

Part -II(C)

19 At the break of dawn, Roopa awoke to the sound of the doorbell, and was surprised to find Sathyam at the threshold. Seeing the mak... Read Chapter

Part - II(D)

 24  Alighting from the Dakshin Express that morning, Raja Rao headed towards the Ritz Hotel in Hyderabad. Though the anxie... Read Chapter

Part -III

Part - III  In the mid-January that sankranthi, the exhibition ground in Hyderabad came alive as the fair curious of all ages sw... Read Chapter

Part -III(A)

7 ‘Is Roopa leading me up the garden path without so much as letting me hold her little finger?’ thought Prasad in bewilderment t... Read Chapter

Part- IV

 Part - IV At the Premier Architects’ office that August afternoon, holding Sandhya’s letter, Raja Rao was immersed in Roopa... Read Chapter

Part - IV(A)

 4 When Roopa got up the next day, finding Raja Rao staring at her longingly, she felt as if she woke up from a dream. “Wh... Read Chapter

Part -IV(B)

8 Next morning, as Ramaiah goaded Janaki to get ready to attend the wedding of his colleague’s daughter, pretending a headache, Roo... Read Chapter

Part - IV(C)

14 When the curfew was lifted in the walled city across the Musi, it did seem that sanity was restored in the excited souls. However,... Read Chapter

Part - IV(D)

 20 Some six months later, the trio’s destiny made a course correction in Roopa’s life. After Sathyam had his breakfast ... Read Chapter