29 February 2012

I Too Had a Love Story by Ravinder Singh - book review

                      

Fiction; Srishti Publishers; 213 pages

My rating - 1/5

"The things young women read nowadays and profess to enjoy positively frighten me." So said Agatha Christie in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

I feel Ravinder Singh's debut novel I Too Had a Love Story falls in those "things" that Christie is talking above. The author has got it all wrong.

I was attracted to this novel because it's a bestseller in India and I was a bit curious to know what my country is reading.

Before going on with the review I must make a confession.

I have not read the book completely because I could not read it completely. My patience gave way after page 97. Then I read a few pages here and there and then the ending pages to know the conclusion. There was nothing surprising there as the author has given away the ending on the cover page and in the dedication.

Your abandoning affected me in a way that 
In the search for you, I found myself.

It was pretty clear from the beginning that the protagonist's girl friend is going to abandon him.

The story is inspired from Singh's real life events.

Summary 

 

Ravinder Singh or Ravin is a software engineer working at Infosys, Bhubaneswar. He searches the matrimonial site Shaadi.com for a prospective bride and sends random messages to many girls. Khushi who too is in IT industry from Noida replies and they begin to chat. They quickly fall in love and promise to marry even when they hadn't met.

Eventually Ravin flies over to meet her and her family. The meeting takes place, everybody likes everybody else and they start considering marriage even more seriously.

Ravin returns to work and they continue their chats on phone and internet. One sad day Ravin calls Khushi and he's told that she met with a fatal accident and is hospitalised.

A few days later, on the very day of their scheduled engagement, she dies.

*****

The story is narrated with an extremely poor choice of words and weak construction of sentences while there is no complexity in plot and it is very much predictable. The amateurishness of Singh's writing skills is clearly evident throughout the novel. No depth of vision, no philosophy, no witty dialogues  - I Too Had a Love Story is completely bereft of any literary or story telling skills.

The constant use of Hindi phrases in an English novel, that too without any translations, will annoy the only English knowing readers.

The designer's cover page looks unprofessional and the proof readers have left some spelling mistakes unchecked. (For e.g. "colour" is spelt as "color". Indians follow the British English.)

What the book does actually contain and is pretty rich in is pornography. Detailed narrations of the intimate chats and acts of Ravin and Khushi are those that cannot be read aloud if you are sitting with your family.

Although it's true that some international best selling authors like Jefferey Archer too write such stuff  but Ravinder Singh has intensified and highlighted it far too much.

In February this year, three Indian ministers had to resign after they were caught watching porn in the Parliament. Their act resulted in a lot of furore in the country. Now consider the following statements from the very first chapter of the book:

That evening, the four of us in that flat were having an amazing time. Talking about our past and present. About those not-so-good-looking girls in college. About the porn we used to watch on our computer. 

When a minister does that, he has to resign. When a writer narrates such a "true love tale", he becomes a bestseller. Come on India. What's wrong with you? 

The only saving part of this story is that it is a true love story which is written with a lot of honesty. Some authors hesitate to draw from their real life events. As Dickens remarked in the preface of David Copperfield, a book that drew from his real life events - "... an Author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world."

This and Singh's marketing skills from business school has made it sell more than 1.5 lakh copies.
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