By Indraneel DG. Grade: B+
“She walked into the coffee shop. Although she was with a group of friends I could feel all the eyes in the room boring into her, not to mention the three pairs at our table.
‘Who’s she?’ asked Fatso. That’s Fatso for you. I had landed in Delhi today and I was supposed to know who this angel was.
‘How am I supposed to know?’ I retorted.
‘Who’s who?’ said Jags feigning complete ignorance, although a few moments ago I had thought his eyeballs would pop out.
Welcome to the world of Fatso – a Punjabi Adonis, Jags – a Tamil Communist Brahmin, Bali – a Northeastern Helen of Troy, and me – a plain simple confused Bong. Set in Delhi, this is the story of three diametrically opposite friends, and a damsel who is not in distress but could be the cause of distress for the males of the species! Just out of college and in their first jobs, life is perfect for them… until they are hit by the hurricane of fate. One loses his job, another decides to quit his and the rest chip in to help start a business venture together. The trials and tribulations of initiating a business enterprise in urban India finally culminate into an absolutely entertaining finale.
From the summit of hope to the depths of despair, from utter confusion to absolute clarity, from maddeningly mad to rip-roaringly funny… this is a story of friendship, aspiration and optimism garnished with the masala of humour, chaos and disagreement! A work of fiction based on facts… a story that will linger on in your hearts, a story that celebrates the magic that is India… This is a story of you and me.
‘Another Face in the Crowd’ does rise up to our expectations of a rib-tickling lively narrative, germane around of exuberance youth, love and life.
The author picks up his themes from all facets of life, as the blurb reiterates – a work of fiction based on facts. He takes up a story-line that’s essentially simple but profound. We are made to face the stark reality of our life, be it with the elated fervor around the first love or utter despair after losing someone. These are the subtle aspects of life that are like air to our lives- often unnoticed but important nonetheless. The very relatable instances of group drink sessions, familial arguments, punjabi-tamil peppy talks and indulgence add flavor and fragrance to his writing.
The characters are innately likable and are true portraits of individuals you and I can relate to in our lives. The North-South divide manifests itself through the tongue-in-cheek humour of Jags and Fatso, who are flamboyant epitomes of ‘I know them like the back of my hand’ friends. Bali is beautiful and is a refreshing break from the stereotyped chick-lit damsels. She is witty and leaves our lead biting his tongue. The camaraderie between them is not lost on us. Indraneel has, through very colloquial narration, achieved the aim of telling a youthful, poignant yet amusing story of these four characters. Relationships evolve around them; be it the subtle affection and warmth between the father and son, or the budding romance, all have been portrayed with a life-like clarity.
To be fair, the only reason I gave it a B+ is because it has little, or honestly, no element of surprise. These minor trifles do nothing to lessen the emotional transcendence of the story, which touches a soft chord inside us. (P.S: don’t be disappointed. It is a little (quite a lot) clichéd.)
But in all, the book makes for an interesting and easy weekend read, with no hassles.