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Back in Time

by Andaleeb Wajid (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Book 2 of the Tamanna Trilogy, Back in Time starts off right where the previous book ended: a cool summer evening in 1983, with Tamanna is back again from the future. But this time there is a pressing problem—the time-travelling Polariod camera has been stolen, which means she is well and truly stuck. But she’s also definitely in love with Manoj and the question now has shifted from, “Is he too old for me?” to “How can we make this work?”

Back in Ajji’s house, with her future mum and aunts, Tamanna and Manoj have to yet again conconct stories about her passport being stolen and thus being unable to return to Australia. And that’s not all, Ajji has problems too. Her scheming sister-in-law Rukmini, more eloquently known as Dragon Amma, has come to stay. Not only is she making Ajji and the girls wait on her hand and foot, she has plans to sell the house that Ajji lives in. It turns out that many years ago, Ajji’s husband sold the house to his cousin, Rukmini, to pay off a debt. If Dragon Amma succeeds, it would leave Ajji and her daughters homeless.

On the bright side, things have started to thaw between Tamanna and Suma, her future mother. Having decided to make the most of her stay in 1983—both Manoj-wise and her family—Tamanna finds herself firmly ensconced in the household. There are more delectable outings in 1980s’ Bangalore and various amusing time-traveller anecdotes dot the story, including an incident when Tamanna tries to pay for a pair of jeans with a 500-buck note that is not yet in circulation!

Back in Time also tries to address some of the time-travel-related questions, but the answers are far from satisfactory. The Australian penpal story also requires some suspension of disbelief since Tamanna and Manoj’s explanation for her abrupt appearances and disappearances are flimsy at best, but no one seems to bat an eyelid. It would have been interesting to know what happened to Manoj’s real penfriend and how he kept her from visiting subsequently after her first trip was cancelled. Despite being a close friend of Manoj’s her absence from his life is a bit odd—she hardly gets a mention.

The second book in the series seemed like a bit of a filler, even though the story definitely moved forward. Manoj and Tamanna are determined to make their relationship work despite living 30 years apart, but fate, camera thieves and unreliable mad scientists are out to scupper their plans.

RATING: 6/10

Other books in the series:

Tamanna Trilogy #1: No Time for Goodbyes
Tamanna Trilogy #3: Time Will Tell