When your own book asks you a question

This post first appeared as Guest post on Bookish Indulgences

My second novel Lemon Girl is a feminist fiction about crimes against women and victim blaming. When it was published, some anti-feminist Twitter trolls asked me, ‘What about fake cases? What about the cases where a woman ruins the life and family of an innocent man?’
It was a question I could not put out of my mind. And my third novel You Came Like Hope is the result of that. Although a romance, it raises some very serious issues and challenges wide-spread prejudices. While I was writing You Came Like Hope, this novel itself threw a baffling question at me. A question I’m still trying to answer.
In You Came Like Hope, Pooja (the vamp) chooses Adih over her husband and Peehu (the heroine) chooses Adih over her fiancé Uday. So, basically, both do the same thing. Both break the heart of a man who loved them. Adih is enraged at Pooja because the loser is his own dear brother. But when Peehu does the same thing, he is delighted as a winner. When Peehu makes her choice, Uday uses the same words of rage that Adih had used when Pooja had made her choice.
Incident 1:
‘So? Are you ready to be mine?’ Pooja asked the younger brother, rubbing her hand on his thigh.
‘Go to hell!’ he let out through his clenched teeth. He said nothing more. But his unsaid words of rage rang in his silence.
Incident 2:
I turned to him. ‘Uday,’ I began, but couldn’t continue.
He must have seen my desires floating in the moisture of my eyes. He must have seen his defeat.
His hands fisted up by his side. His eyes burnt with rage as they looked at me without blinking. ‘Go to hell!’ he let out through his clenched teeth. He said nothing more. But his unsaid words of rage rang in his silence.
The heroine does what the vamp does, and the hero says what his rival says. Yet, we approve of the hero and heroine and shake our head at Pooja and Uday. Why?
If these characters do and say the same things, why do we favour some and reject the others as wrong? Do we care more for the ‘good’ characters because we have glimpsed into their heart and so understand them better? Or is it because the reason for the action matters more than the action? After all, even killing is a murder for one and a patriotic duty for other.
My novel You Came Like Hope is now in market. But I’m still baffled by the way this parallel developed between the good and the bad characters. I’m still trying to figure it out. I know that if I try, I can easily show where the bad characters were right, and the good characters were wrong, without changing their life history. All I need is to tell the story from their perspective.
That brings me to the final question. Is right and wrong or good and bad just a matter of perspective?
What do you think?

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