A trend that I’ve noticed off lately in Indian Literature is that many new upcoming authors are just talking about campus lives (Chetan Bhagat, Tushar Raheja, Advaita Kala and many others). Such books bear a stark similarity with each other; they are not over priced, written in very simple language, generally about youngsters and always try to be humorous. Even if the storyline isn’t strong, the books are best-sellers. How? The credit goes to their strong PR skills, marketing gimmicks and active participation in the blog circle. These ‘campus books’ or ‘snack books’ as they are popularly called may not appeal to serious readers but they have certainly re-defined the fiction genre.
Now I read one of these books, Anything for you Ma’am by Tushar Raheja. I hadn’t heard of this book till two of my friends mentioned it to me and suggested reading it. Considering they were non readers, I didn’t take their advice seriously but bought the book anyhow (after all Rs.100 is not an astronomical amount). But the book had been lying in my book shelf since a long time and I had been constantly procrastinating reading it. The unconventional blue cover of the page finally had the better of me and I rubbed the dust off the book and started to read it.
Well, even before one starts to read the book, one will have a fair amount of idea as to what the book is all about. The title practically gives away the main plot of the story. The book claims to be an IITian’s love story and one of the most hilarious books. Reading positive reviews which are well placed on the cover, back and in the beginning, I felt optimistic and started to read it. Just few pages down and the lack of structure and flow started to bother me. But I was determined to discover the good things of the book so I moved ahead.
Now one thing that really bothers me is that why this is termed as an IITian’s love story; was the author inspired by Chetan Bhagat or does the mention of IIT is in vogue and help to market the book? Except the mention of same strange bus, Biobull that would run on human waste, the author has not bothered to take us inside the campus or provided any inputs that can signify that the protagonist is from IIT. Perhaps had he talked about the hostel life, bonding of the friends, some teachers, ragging, punishments and few other things in detail, the book would have been funny too and would have proved his claim right. But guess the author was just busy concentrating on his love story and didn’t want other details to disturb him.
The book is not extremely bad either but I would certainly not recommend it to others except to those who have been wanting to try their hand at reading novels. The book is written in very simple words. The teenagers and love smitten collegiates will find something or the other in the book to associate themselves with. The love story is pleasant but very predictable. The weather description in the book is beautiful and so is the description of the love story; very astute! I would also like to praise author’s writing skill here as he churned out 230 pages without a strong storyline and actually managed to keep the book moving.
After reading this book another question that comes to my mind is that how this editing profession works and how are books rated? I say this as I fail to understand as to why the editors didn’t notice repetition of words and allowed so much verbose. With proper editing, the book could have been much shorter. Probably the editors were also first timers like the author himself! Now the book is also very hindi film ishtyle. It is full of co-incidences and so many of them that they are sure to give you indigestion. In fact, the book is supported by co-incidences alone. The situations are real but the author has not dealt with them realistically. He has gone over the board with most of the things. When I say over the board, I can’t help but state that there is an overdose in mention of his feelings and emotions also; his love for Shreya, his love for his sisters, his love for his family, his love for the weather, his love for train journeys and his love for what not other things (is there anything that he doesn’t love???).
The book could have been better if the author had etched out the other characters also well. He has concentrated too much or most of the energy on the protagonist, Tejas Narula. In fact, his girlfriend Shreya also has nothing much to do in the story except murmuring ‘Offo’ every now and then. But considering the fact that he is a debutant author, I would also like to praise him for writing an entire book with practically no story line. And as far as the book being a hilarious one claim, I can undoubtedly say that it is not funny but manages to be pleasing at certain points. Lastly, if Tushar Raheja can write a book, in my opinion anybody can. So my dear writer friends get set your pens rolling and discover the novelist in you!!!