By Dhruv Gajjar. Grade: B
“No one, not even god can write a perfect end for you!
Unless he is dying.
Mighty and irreplaceable as they are, words are lethal weapons that change lives… by sometimes linking two hearts and sometimes shattering everything irreparably. But when they are woven into promises, the change lasts forever. He had almost lost himself when she brought him back to life with her promises. Dying from a dreadful tumour, every night before they went to sleep, she took a portion of his heart and soul as promises. For better orworse, he’d have to keep the promises for the rest of his life. On his journey of fulfilling those promises, his bond is strengthened with allthose who, like him, are keeping their promises. What were those amusing, surprising and painful promises they all kept?Can you live and die….both at the same time? Meet the girl who changed the lives of the people she loved, and those who find their true selves in Keeping the Promises.”
The blurb might be a sad giveaway to the plot of the novel, but it sure does nothing to lessen the grief that one encounters while reading the book. The book is a cornucopia of sadness, misery, love, friendship and all that lies in between, but above all, it is about the inevitable truth of life; the pain of losing the one we love, forever.
It took me quite a few pages to understand the narrative, since it has a narration within a narrative, like a person narrating the other person’s narration… errrr, yeah it is confusing. Most of the novel is in flashback though the coherence is maintained due to its chapter divisions (different text styles help too!). The protagonist, Dhruv is in love with M, whose name is never revealed, owing to the promise he made to her. He separates from her, only to reunite when she is on her deathbed. Each night, he writes and reads to her a chapter of their lives, after which M makes him promise her something. Their love story is pretty heart wrenching and would definitely touch the chords of a lot of hearts. Their best friends, Angie and Ansh, also make for nice characters. So does Nirali, whose importance in the narrative is best experience when read.
Well, not to be a very harsh critic, but the book is somewhat close to a mash up of King Khan’s Bollywood clichés. Girl and guy meet in college, fall for each other at first sight, and so on. And yes it is a story of two couples (no doubt), but it is based on real life incident of the author himself. It is this part that will leave the readers intrigued. The language and pace is comfortable for all the readers, however there are some points where the story becomes dragging. It is not every day that you encounter a love story where the father of the girl is supportive and yet they remain apprehensive about marrying and is yet another reason that will keep you hooked till the end. As everything falls into place as planned by M, the plethora of emotions take you into a beautiful place.
I could’ve done with the glaring editing mistakes as well some of the cheeky descriptions and epithets, but kudos Dhruv for a well scripted debut.