The book this week, i.e. week 13 was I too had a love story… by Ravinder Singh. The book was given to me by one of my colleagues, who did mention that she liked the book a lot (you see now it was tricky).
Now to begin with I think it’s a cheesy title and I myself have never picked up this book (I have seen this & many others with such cheesy titles) primarily for this reason and because it has an unknown author (an Indian one). In the bookshops now a days (Crosswords, Landmark or even footpath wallas selling pirated books) I steer clear of such types of books.
The primary reason is that I think that now any and every person who can write something in English thinks he is a writer and on top of that they even find publishers who are ready to publish them. These books are sub 100 rupees so affordable to youngsters, they narrate the story in their day-to-day language and are short, so they sell a lot. I call this the ‘Chetan Bhagat’ phenomenon.
Every such third book becomes a bestseller in India. There is an overall degradation in the readers quality on top of fewer people reading now. Bloody Hell!
Anyways that’s just me.
Coming back to the book. Before I could take up this book, my wife started reading it and not surprisingly she found it good and was able to finish it quickly too. Now I had a challenge in my hand. If I say it’s not good, there needs to be a good reason for that.
The story is of a young boy Ravinder who is a Software Engineer at Infosys, Bhubneshwar, living a normal life of a Software Engineer in India, with good friends, enjoying life, a few onsite trips etc. and off course thinking about marriage. He meets a girl named Khushi through a matrimonial portal (yes I know, matrimonial portal), they started talking and within a month or 2 fall in love and had plans of marriage. But just immediately before the engagement the girl meets a deadly accident and even after trying all the things possible couldn’t survive. And Ravinder lives a messed up life since then.
That’s it! Really. And really this a best seller in India.
The book bears a statement from Infosys mentor N.R. Narayan Murthy where he described the book as “Simple, honest and touching” (remember the guy was working at Infosys)
Now I do not want to comment on the story as (as far as I could understand) it’s based on a true story and such a thing happened. And it is very sad. It’s a great personal tragedy for the author and my heart goes out to Ravinder and the girl’s family. And I even respect the author that he could gather such strength to write about this devastating incident in his life, how many times he would have to live those painful moments to come out with this book is unthinkable. Hats off to author for that!
Now coming back to the book itself (considering it as fiction) it’s a pretty ordinary book. The language is pretty ordinary and at no point I felt it was a novel, I was sort of feeling that it’s a blog post that I am reading. And I would have been pretty fine if this was a blog post. But dedicating an entire book for such a simple (I don’t want to use harsh words as the thought doesn’t leave the mind that this in fact is not fiction) story is waste.
The author did describe things nicely but then probably things were pretty clear to him as he has lived those moments and I think its much easier to write about the things that you have encountered in life and very difficult to write fiction.
And I do not wonder that this book became a bestseller as I have already mentioned a few reasons above and in addition to that this book got the sympathy with it and the story the author narrated is probably the story of 70% (on a conservative estimate) of the Software Engineers in India and out of those 70%, 90% must be feeling that it’s quite similar to their story.
A youngster getting a campus recruitment at Infosys, having a bunch of chuddi buddies, earning handsome (so that he can take flights anytime he wants), going to onsite (Belgium to be precise), then looking for life partner on matrimonial sites, falling in love (to get married, there are no ‘just flings’ in SE job), guy going to onsite for sometime, chatting with the girlfriend in the middle of the work, calling her through calling card, coming back, talking to the parents and trying that both the sides agree, taking long leaves for marriage and finally marrying.
Now you can do a survey and will find that some or all the lines (out of the above 5 lines) would be true for a lot of Software Engineers (unmarried) in India.
In the end I think I liked how Mr. Murthy described it, (which is politically correct as well), and I would describe it similarly that the book is “Simple, honest and touching”.
To its credit I would further add, that it is slightly better off than hundreds of other crap floating in the market.