RUNNING ON FULL by Tina Sharma Tiwari

‘RUNNING ON FULL’ is a novel written by Tina Sharma Tiwari, an author of Indian origin who currently works as a sports journalist and television presenter. This happens to be her first novel.

It is a story set in the congested and dusty by-lanes of New Delhi and Mumbai, and the paradise Hong Kong, referred to as the ‘City of Angels’. It’s about Tanya Trivedi’s journey from her juvenile days to her turning into a maverick woman. She is an out and out imp among her cousins, who lives her life to the fullest. As a six year old, she hates ‘boys’ and is always searching for ways to annoy them. The hilarious one liners used make you suppress a giggle. She considers sports as barbaric, with cricket ranking at the top of her hate list. But soon she is spellbound by the tennis player Boris Becker’s raw enthusiasm as he plays and sports start captivating her slowly by the time shs reaches her teens. She is convinced that sports is a permanent and indispensable part of her life.

Her father’s posting to Hong Kong lands her in a British school where her contemporaries are from different corners of the world – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Bolivian, Brazilian, German, Thai, Filipino, Australian, American, Irish… to mention a few. With a whole new set of friends she is delighted to the core. She explores her new surroundings and is instantly intrigued by academics and sports. Luckily, she even gets an opportunity to be officially recruited into the Hong Kong Tennis Association as a ‘Ball person’ (the one who hands out the balls to the players on the  tennis court), and to be able to occasionally indulge in banter with her idols. A trip to Shenzhen, China, to attend an exhibition match between Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario plus Tommy Rage gives her one heck of an adventurous ride.

Soon the opposite sex starts atracting her and she begins to think of sports and men as synonymous and gets obsessed with both. Narrated in Tanya’s unsure, confused and love induced voice, the book pokes fun at school time crushes and romances. The magical moments of the first date, first boyfriend, first kiss all leave her craving for more. As guys come and go in her life everything else in her life gets on a fast track in one direction- down!

On entering her 20’s she labours at her new occupation as a sports writer. She is unwilling to give up hope that her life is not doomed. She discovers a strong attraction towards a cricket superstar and proclaims him to be her future husband to her colleagues. She goes for a complete makeover to win him over. Taking her biggest gamble ever, she discovers that in the game of life, destiny is the ultimate arbiter and love is the only thing that counts.

What is in store for her ultimately gives you goose bumps as you read on. ‘Running on Full’, simply and yet beautifully written, is a heady cocktail that can make you forget yourself. Tina manages to illustrate the story with wit which never puts you off reading as each page is to be savoured.

Kritika Malhotra