Anything for You, Ma’am

For some reason I feel that Tushar Raheja, at the time of writing his book Anything for You, Ma’am, was in the wrong place. Nope, he certainly is not the kind of student you would want in an IIT; leave that for the throngs of kids like me who slog for years trying to get in (and miss by a mere 50,000 other kids).

If Chetan Bhagat is “the biggest selling English-Language novelist in India’s history”, Tushar seems like the perfect guy to steal that crown. Although a little skeptical at first, when I was told the book is similar to Chetan Bhagat’s novels (let us just say I was not a big fan of One Night @ the Call Centre), I got talked into spending 100 rupees on it. I would later realize that the money, actually, did not go down the drain.

The book revolves around an IIT Delhi student Tejas Narula, who is determined to meet his beloved sweetheart Shreya who lives several thousand kilometers away in Chennai. However he learns that she would not be able to come to Delhi, as was planned earlier, thanks to her villain of a father who cannot stand the prospect of his daughter being in a relationship. So what does our Knight in Shining Armor decide to do? Well, he draws up a plan to bunk his industrial education tour to Pune, and instead head off to the tropical land of Chennai to meet his Princess.

Obviously, the execution wasn’t that simple, or else this book would never have been written. Luck, or Mr. Fate as Tejas calls it, decides to add spice to the tale at regular intervals. First, you get three teachers getting soaked in soda, resulting in a trip to the Disco for our hero. Unfortunately for Tejas, this Disco wasn’t a place that rocked. It was none other than the infamous Disciplinary Committee of IIT-D (one of the similarities with Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone).

During this, it so happens that one of the teacher who was drenched in the soda shower happens to be the person who was indispensable to Tejas’ plan, and now the jolly old teacher had made it his life’s mission to haunt our Romeo. But having promised his Juliet that he would meet her, Tejas decides not to lie low and give in to Mr. Fate’s work. There begins a more-than-eventful journey of Tejas to meet his lady-love.

Looking back it later, there would be several errors that one could point out. For instance, the number of coincidences that occur make them all hard to believe, and the writing isn’t anything great either. At points, Raheja becomes extremely verbose. However, it is at these points that one should realize that this is not true literature; it is a story. And, as a storyteller, Tushar Raheja has done an excellent job. For those who manage to associate with the characters, the time spent would be very enjoyable. It took me just about a day to finish it, and once I put it aside, it pained me for two reasons. One, the book had ended, and I would have loved to have read more. Alas, all good things come to an end. Secondly, the entire time I had been reading the book, I had a constant smile on my face (something all of you who associate yourself to Tejas would have to deal with).

Raveesh Bhalla

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