By Ranjani Iyer Arumugam. Grade A
As a book lover it’s heartening to see a book clicking perfectly across all parameters, starting right from the cover, pouring through the pages infused with a bright story line, and finally reaching a smile-filled conclusion. It’s all the more cheering when you notice that the author is a complete newbie, and yet, like a seasoned veteran, has managed to steal your mind and glued your attention to the images she has so beautifully carved with the finesse of her story-telling.
Ranjani Iyer Arumugam (wow, that’s a mouthful!) turns out to be a perfect story-teller. To be honest, anyone can write stories, but to narrate them in such a manner that makes you feel as if you are sitting with the author, and she is communicating directly, and only with you, truly reflects the prowess that gifted writers are born with. Ranjani is one such talent who has the potential to take the writing world by storm by her light and free style of story-telling.
Aditi Raman is a fun loving creature. Reverent to humour and irreverent to everything else, Aditi makes a choice at med school to pick dentistry over medicine. The reason: because medicine is too serious to deal with, and life is all about being light-hearted. Or so she thinks. Unbeknownst to the young dentist is a side of her life that is altruistic and compassionate, just waiting to be discovered.
Aditi takes the leap of faith and leaves sunny-side Goa and hops into Chennai, and sees the divide: from a world where girls wore dresses shorter than the lab-coat to a world where the Saree is God. Enter Indu, a batch-mate and roommate – from Planet Whacky – the perfect salve to Aditi’s dejection at the stark differences and culture shock.
From being an avid dentistry junkie to discovering that being ‘hep’ doesn’t necessarily mean wearing jeans or pretending not to know your mother tongue, and from believing that feeling little for your country is ‘in’ to hoping to make it BIG in life, Aditi’s life takes a turn when she meets Nick.
And from then on, Aditi’s life changes.
“It’s All About Smiles” traces the life of Aditi Raman, a dental student in National Dental College, Chennai. The narration reflects the dilemma of the protagonist in choosing a career, and then finally landing into the Dental profession. Once she gets admitted to National Dental College, she makes friends, Indu turning out to be her closest buddy. Her encounter with Nick, her college senior, leads to a love-hate relationship, which gradually, and eventually, turns out to be a love-love relationship, making us smile, just like the orange coloured egg on the cover pic.
And along with that, we also get humorous and fun-filled accounts of Aditi’s tryst with her patients. While some make us laugh and roll on the floor, there are some patients whose stories make us smile in contentment, while a few also find place in our hearts, their stories making an impression so deep that we do not even notice the tears that stream down our eyes, all the way through our cheeks, touching our souls in ways more than one.
This is a book that motivates as well as entertains. There are several incidents where your hearts go out to the patients after listening to their stories, as many of them confide about their personal lives to Aditi. Aditi is caring, and wins the confidence of her patients. This helps her in her professional life as well, as her loyal patients never feel the need to consult another doctor.
“It’s All About Smiles” is a perfect amalgamation of love and friendship strewn with flavors of dentistry, living with the protagonist, growing with her love, in anticipation of what would happen next, and being welcomed with sweetly timed breaks that revolve around Aditi’s dental clinic and her patients, some she loves, while a few she would really like to bid farewell. But isn’t that what life is – a mixture of everything, some you may like, some you might not, but still we do not want to let go of any moments that life has to offer.
Life, certainly, is all about smiles, and this brilliantly written story is a testimony to that.