Thursday, 18 September 2014

Me “N” Her – A Strange Feeling by Rikky Bhartia: Book Review

 The kind of love story that happens here and there, everywhere!

The story is of Harsh and Janvi. They meet as new joiners at office. Almost half the book is about how their association finds gradual changes as years pass by – from colleagues to friends to lovers to wedding talks to engagement. Sounds like the usual love story? Perhaps not! The plot maintains constant twists and turns throughout the book. And one would want to know ‘what next’ at every stage. The last few pages, especially, contain the most unexpected twist like the O’Henry short stories. Well, was wedding bells finally in their air? I am afraid, I cannot reveal the rest part of the book.

Absolutely, the present-day reality!

The book depicts 100% of the society that most young Indians have been living in, at least for the last five to ten years.

Most leave their hometown to other major cities for work to step into dream offices, like what our hero Harsh describes as ‘made of full glass’. By this time, a few already carry a sentiment-filled sad past love to their new places where they get to emotionally mature in the next few years. Also, for most, there’s a huge change in lifestyle – cross-cultural acquisitions, living by own, weekend outings, discos, surprise birthday parties and much more. The author has described the feelings as truly as it is when a new relationship springs up in such a place. To begin with, how the need for care and attention from other gender attracts a relationship;  how SMS and Facebook updates help the boy and girl exchange unspoken subtle emotions; what happens when the girl visits the bachelor’s home and how touches and kisses done, as though casually, hide an intentional thrill.

Some interesting facts
  • The author confides in the beginning that this story was inspired by a special someone of his life. In fact, he shares his surname with Harsh. This lets the readers closely associate the character of Harsh with the author throughout .
  • The story has a big-time bollywood touch. As a matter of fact, the book begins when Hero Harsh starts to narrate his flashback to one of his friends whom he meets after several years. A little of DDLJ and a little of Jab we met! However, what deserves appreciation is the curiosity that the author sets in the minds of readers as to what was to come next.
  • Each chapter is titled with a name and scene #. Interestingly, there is no index to the chapters. The date, day, time and place is mentioned at the beginning of every scene. For some reason, the author has chosen to begin the story on April 1, 2012 and ends it on August 18 2020.
  • There is usage of conversations, shayaris and song lyrics in Hindi now and then in the book. For a non-Hindi speaking reader, the translation is English is provided as glossary at the end of the book. Unfortunately, one would not know this until they turned the last page of the story. Perhaps, the glossary could have been placed at the beginning or a mention that such a glossary existed at the end could have been thought of.
  • The book includes unsigned pencil sketches of the most significant scenes of the plot. It makes one assume to be the work of the author though no mention is made anywhere.
  • Harsh is portrayed as a dramatically romantic hero. Rain, roses, red balloons, cakes, diamond necklace, greeting cards, night rides, hugs, kisses, shayaris, bollywood song lyrics, terrace, night sky, beach and places where he dares Janvi’s witty challenges like “I want to see you now” and “Walk on the parapet wall if you truly love me”‘  – you can find all such romantic elements that have existed for eons. Probably what was missing were moon and love letter. There is absolutely no out-of-the box romance anywhere. This sort of makes the love story a little usual. Nevertheless, it is narrated well that even the age-old kneel down with ring proposal makes an interesting read.
  • It took just a few hours to complete reading the 250-paged book.

Who would find the book interesting?

No wonder this book is already among the best-sellers. It is a great attraction to those between ages 15 and 25. Presumably, that’s when the hormones and emotions peak. I mean to say that readers who enjoy dramatic stories and filmy romances are sure to love this book. It is neither an immature love story nor a mature love story; it’s somewhere in between. And those who are going through phases such as falling in love, confusion about the other party’s feelings, hesitation to propose, broken relationship and relying on destiny to unite in love cannot miss this book. Harsh undergoes all this and you can take some hope and courage from his story. For others who do not fall within this age span, the book may remind of their first love and the memories associated with it. To people who are not accustomed to falling into emotional pits, it will be a silly read without doubt.

The book does have potential to do wonderful among youngsters’ market with a little help from reviewers and the publisher. My sincere view is that the pages could be condensed, as it is a real ‘test to patience’ at some places. Most of all, the language needs thorough re-digging, please.

Me “N” Her – A Strange Feeling is a vivid and interesting tour of a young adult’s emotions!

Reviewed for the author
Title: Me “N” Her – A Strange Feeling
Author: Rikky Bhartia

This review was originally posted at my personal blog, Pages from Serendipity on March 25, 2014

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