Author- Ravindra Shukla
Publication- Frog Books
Price (Printed)- Rs 195
The book I have in my hands, authored by Ravindra Shukla is unique for a few reasons. First, it is a sincere attmpt with no airs of creating a ho-hum of a literary masterpiece. The best part about such novels is that you feel like you’re reading a personal diary as you flip the pages. The back cover introduction is an obvious indication toward the academic background of the author as he uses the concept of ‘resonance’ to describe personal camaraderie. The simplicity of language imply the honesty of his attempt. Now let’s see how much he succeeds in it-
The story has a humble beginning with one of the protagonists ‘Rahul’ and it seems like one of those run-of-the-mill college romances with drama forced into the plot just for the heck of it. If those are your first thoughts, prepare to be amazed as the story takes turns along with its other protagonists Ruchita, Neerav and myriad other characters who take turns to assume importance at various stages of the plot which wraps around the social and political phenomena taking place at those times. The novel has a saga-like appeal to it and begs to be adopted in the form of a blockbuster movie. The promise of simplicity still holds yet the story draws you in to its minute complexities and you are amazed at the author’s awareness of the erstwhile political and economic scenarios. The plot intertwines with relief operations, role of NGOs, social activism, the Right To Information Act and many such issues. It however is essentially a love story which tugs at your heart with the ease with which it is told.
The cover design by Mistha Roy could have been better as it is just a photograph of three shadows representing the three friends in a dark night against the light of what seems to be the headlights of a car on a dark road. It gives a somewhat eerie feel to the book. The concept of crossroads and unknown paths is not very well eluidated by the design. The pages are crisp with a textbook-like feel to them. There is an obvious difference, a stark contrast between this book and other books of this genre.
The language is lucid and somewhat colorless with hints of forced figures of speech; also the titles of the chapters are sometimes unintentionally funny but it does not deter the reader from turning the page as the plot is thick and the basic premise of the novel is very interesting. Also, with every word, you do realize the earnestness in the approach and tend to overlook the shortcomings. Also, the double line spacing between paragraphs is a bit tough on the eye but then, I think I am being too harsh. All in all, I’d recommend this book for readers who have just begun reading Indian fiction. Read it not for the language but for the organization of thoughts and execution. A good book for aspiring Chetan Bhagats.
My rating out of 5- *** (3 Stars)