By Ravindra Shukla. Grade: C
Expectations make or break the day. This is true with love and life, and also with stories. While there are some that may not cater to your heartstrings immediately, there are a few that manage to provide a good first impression. It’s the writer’s job to win the attention of his readers instantly, making them fall in love with his/her creation.
We often use the term, “frequency matching” in our daily life to define compatibility. Our frequency does not match, we do not get along? We are not in sync? We are not on the same page etc?
When people of similar frequencies (wavelengths or within the same range) come together – output is not a simple sum of individual work, but exponential. In science we term this phenomenon as resonance. Output at this stage is beyond any logical limit.
Three young kids, with different family backgrounds and outlook meet during their graduation days at IIT-Bombay campus and become close friends. Although, individually they are in sync, but the same is not true for their interaction with the world.
How will their relation withstand the conflict of family and society pressure?
How do their characters shape out, as they traverse from an educational environment through the corporate world to the realm of the social-political world?
Inspired by the real events across the globe from the last decade, Ravindra Shukla brings you the characters based story – struggle and triumphs of a young generation and their relevance in the current socio-eco-political era.
A Maverick Heart: Between Love And Life is penned by Ravindra Shukla, an alumnus of IIT Bombay. He has over 15 years of experience of working with consulting firms. He is a member of the Film Writers Association, Mumbai and loves writing fiction, literature and movie script. Needless to say, these qualities accentuate his credibility as an author. Thus, I was very eager to read his debut novel.
The first thing that really turned me off was the cover. For a book that promised to be a story of a young rebellious heart, or rather hearts, it could have done with a better design. The cover looks quite simple, highlighting three shadows, probably belonging to the protagonists, on an open road surrounded by grass and bushes. A young tale of romance and dreams could have been better portrayed with a brighter layout.
‘Never judge a book by its cover’ – true at times. The synopsis looked promising. It spoke of frequency matching and how three individuals who are in sync with each other, fail to relate with the outside world. With high hopes, I started turning the pages.
The first few chapters introduce the three main characters – Rahul, Richita and Neerav, all studying in IIT Bombay. They go on to display the close friendship between Rahul and Neerav, and illustrate the gradual progression of love between Richita and Rahul. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned – because they rarely do – and the three move towards their separate ways. What happens next, and how they progress with their lives, forms the crux of the story.
The plot was promising and had the potential to churn out a great tale of love and friendship. The three characters looked ‘real’ and the readers could have easily identified with them. However, it was sadly let down by the poor narrative style adopted in the book. The narration changed from first person to third person quite often, and that seemed to break the flow and fluency in story telling. Also, the pace of the novel was erratic. Sometimes, the story moved too fast, and at other times, it dragged on for pages. There were instances when a new development came up without warning, and I had to go back a few pages to check if there were any references made to it previously.
There were times when I felt that the book was a bit too long. The number of pages could have been reduced by scraping out the unnecessary details. Also, there were many sentences spoken in Hindi. Though that made the dialogues sound natural, the author could have done a better job by providing the English translations for them for the benefit of readers who do not understand Hindi. That would have given the book a universal appeal.
If you are an ardent reader, you can definitely give this book a try. However, this novel didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It might be that I was anticipating something bigger, but isn’t that’s how stories should be?