Synopsis - Tuhin's first novel, That Thing called Love, was released on 25 September 2006. It is set in the backdrop of Mumbai monsoons and explores relationships in the contemporary urban set up of the city, in the phase of changing moralities. The book has sold over 70,000 copies.
The protagonist of this story works in an advertisement agency. He has two other friends which share a lot of text space alongside him in the course of narration. They are; Anil - a person who is patient enough to let his wife come out of a broken relationship, and Vishal , a playboy who tries to share bed with every single girl he sets his eyes on.
Mayank falls in love with the Creative head of his client agency, a beautiful married lady named Revathi - who he must win to prevent his boss from firing him. As coffee conversations in professional meetings, become more and more informal, they two gradually become close friends. As she is married, her intimacy with mayank starts affecting her relationship with her husband. This further intensifies to a point, where they finally decide to break their marriage, after 10 years into its commitment.
The story is essentially weaved as three threads of three friends, Mayank's story being in the limelight most of the times.
Mayank lives in disillusionment, aspiring, with diminishing hope, to fall in love in all Utopian earnestness and with his 'perfect woman'. The irony eventually arises when he identifies the image of his 'perfect woman' in an older happily married woman. The dreamer in him sets aside ground realities to flow with natural impulses, leading to a dangerously complicated relationship between the woman and him.
Pulkit Speaks -
on flipkart, the stats for this title shows - 10 reviews with rating 5 stars, and 7 with rating 1 star, while 0 count for each 2 and 3 star. The mere figures reveal a clear cut fact about the book, that either one can like this one a lot or can completely hate it. For me, the word would be Hate.
The book that from the cover picture and back cover note promises to be a compelling tale of relationship complexity, eventually turns out to be just a timepass depressing tale. The end as it rightly claims is unusual. It is yes, unusual, and at the same time, disturbing, depressing and morose-full.
I shall start by throwing some light on the positive side of it.
The book is definitely close to reality and bold too, in its Idea of portraying the theme of changing relationships in context of urban India. The fact that it has a gay intercourse seduction scene and an extramarital sex narration clearly shows that publisher wanted to break certain ground rules of paperback coffee-college fiction from this title and wanted this one to be taken seriously as an unedited harsh on-the-face relationship drama. The story also scores on partial notes, where it genuinely attempts to bring up a plot that has more substance compared to books of the same price tag and covering, something it eventually fails to do as the over-simplistic text fails to deliver the sheer complexities of the story. The book has suffered a big led down from its sleazy bollywood type dialogue which kills the entire mood and set up of the scenes, many a times.
With due regards to the writer and no meaning to harm his efforts, I would like to point the negatives that I personally felt. Mayank, who is the lead, is portrayed as impertinent kid who refuses to grow up. The collective bore that his self talking turns out to be, you eventually start feeling that an undue importance is being given to him. The instant dislike for him is partially because of the way he thinks, and partially because of the way he narrates. Many conversations between him and Revathi are totally off the mark and fails to portray any adorable chemistry. They are infact boring and irritating at the same time. The promised outline of the book i.e. Mumbai and rains, and the romance around them, is being talked too plainly and too less a times, in its course.
The writer almost forgets about the other two stories of the book, which ironically move faster then the one involving Mayank and Revathi. He ends those two abruptly, as if he has almost forgotten about them.
The sex scenes in the book appear to be as made up from the fantasies of an adolescent mind, their purpose is actually not clear. Why did Revathi agree to sleep with mayank if she decided that her life with him is over ? writer lacked insight on woman’s psyche as it seemed abrupt, the willingness of the super controlled/super calm Revathi to sleep with Mayank. not enough has been told about what led to the decision. For here is Revathi portrayed as a good hearted person and married to her first love,Pranav .....things go bad and once she takes a break to save her marriage she sleeps with Mayank, the text of which is less sensual and more vulgar, almost like a lesson in anatomy in itself. In one instance of the story, She even picks up Mayank’s call while making love with Pranav to discuss his day to day issues and keeping her husband on bed waiting. The author is trying to tell us a lot of things about her, all mixing up and making a non sense of itself.
I might be judged here, by those who liked this book as a stupid, small towner, but I want to speak on the psychological impact that this book offers while trying to be an urban reality show. It does complete injustice to all its characters. Mayank finally marries his Ms Perfect but still cannot grow out of Revathi. Revathi is left without her family and despised by her friend (or love or wat i still don’t know) Mayank in the end.Pranav is given the pain of deception for the rest of his life.And poor Ria,she never got any justice. Once you attach yourself to the various characters you’re left shaken in the end.You’re devastated specially if u relate to Revathi. A complete mood spoiler.
After reading the book the reader in all probabilty gets very misconstrued about a marriage where love exists.The story shows marriage in modern life as an open relationship ripe with misunderstandings, physical unsatisfaction, insecurity and dalliances.
Rating - 2 on 5. For a title that has sold so many copies and have so many good reviews on net, I expected more. An effort to write a thoughtful book has just led tocacophony of thoughts and a mirage of an otherwise complicated yet good story.
Price - Rs 100.
Published by Shristi.
Purchased from - National book depot, Mall road, Kanpur.
PS - Read this one, almost 2 years ago. A request to review this came and thus I took up the thought process of recollecting instances of the book to shape up a review. This book was read by three other people in the family, and none of them too liked it.
PPS - I continue to seek apologies for being so irregular with the reviews and comments on the page. Many personal issues have kept me busy lately. I do visit the page almost everyday though to read all about what you guys are reading. Keep the reviews coming :) My congratulations to FL, Arpita, Numue, Maithili and all other active writers and readers here, who did an amazing job in the month of December. YOU GUYS ROCK! I wish all readers and everyone at their home a very happy new Year with loads of blessings and regards.