This is a book by Chandru Bhojwani and follows the journey of the protagonist, Om, and his two close friends Mona and Arun, following being betrayed by his girlfriend Preeti. This is the first book I am reviewing upon the author’s request.
Om walks in on his girlfriend, Preeti in bed with another acquaintance and is expectedly broken-hearted. Thus begins his spiral into depression as he gets nostalgic about the relationship and what could have been, and simultaneously receives support from his two best friends Mon and Arun while trying to get on with his daily life. At the same time, Mona is dealing with her own issues of being in her late-thirties and unmarried (which is a curse if you are Indian and a woman!) However, she ‘meets’ someone online — an Indian guy based in Hong Kong and takes the plunge leaving LA to meet who she believes is her soulmate. Arun on the other hand, is perfectly happy with his relationship with Rakhi, a medical student. However, her parents think otherwise. The reason: Arun is not earning enough in his market researcher job to support their princess.
The book moves from past to present and looks at Om’s depression, his battle with the bottle, his friendship being tested with Arun, his views on Mona’s decision, his friendship with Jim, and how he overcomes the betrayal by who he thought was ‘the one’.
What I liked about the book:
It’s an easy read and a good past-time. It is one of the few books by Indian authors that doesn’t portray living overseas as being bad and that the ultimate goal should be to go back to India. That, for me, was a refreshing change! It also shows the protagonist as having a close friend who is not Indian. Again, something I have not really come across in most books by Indian authors who seem to show that only an Indian can be another Indian’s trusted friend.
What I did not like about the book:
Too Bollywood-ish for my liking. Yes, there was too much melodrama and crying that it reminded me of a Karan Johar movie in some parts. And I am not a fan of Karan Johar movies. I was also a bit annoyed at the manner in which women were portrayed. Not Preeti but rather Mona and Rakhi. You get the sense that the latter are strong women and yet, they weep at the drop of a hat, they will do ‘anything’ for love to the point where it seems like they are self-sacrificing. They do kind of redeem themselves towards the end but it was still not enough for me personally. Finally, the ending was a bit of a disappointment. It was an open ending…and I normally like those…but the manner in which is was left open was disappointing. Just when I was having high hopes about how the book was doing something most Indian books don’t seem to do, it took a twist that left me disappointed.
Read it without any expectations for any deeper level themes. It’s about relationships: love and loss. And if you believe in soulmates and are a romantic, you may enjoy it more than me. I am not much of a romantic. But it wasn’t a complete shocker 🙂
Until next time,