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Looking for Love?

January 30, 2011

Book Review - 5 : Right Fit, Wrong Shoe




Author: Varsha Dixit
Publisher: Rupa Publications


What does a woman want? Shoes, sex, money or love? And RFWS shall give it to her. The story of Nandini or as her hesistant paramour describes her 'lassi in a wine glass' is set in Kanpur. Her spirit is undefeatable; she mocks certain death (Aditya) and suffers stoically for love (Aditya, again). Her accomplice in all her escapades is Sneha Verma that function as a chaddi-banyan friend and a BFF to her. It encases a young women's thoughts on the society she survives in.

RFWS isn't a particularly bad book, it' just not a good book either. Priced at INR 95/- and paged at 227, it's a breezy read if you are a sucker for mushy romance. All the titles of the chapters are Bollywood one liners or movie titles which is innovative to the point of craziness. Set in Kanpur, it's an Indian version of 'Mills and Boons' and honestly speaking, it should be judged strictly within those parameters only.

There are dozen of characters introduced right at the start of the book and if you are not attentive, you may just have to re-read them to place who-is-who in the narrative. Even though it settles nicely after that as it starts to concentrate on the lives of two main protagonists - Aditya and Nandini. There are some really witty, charming moments peppered through the book between them that are the best bits in an otherwise standard Bollywood style love story disguised as a realistic take on modern love. The conversations between them are the best portions, their smoldering chemistry and playful flirtations are a few things that actually make this book not a complete waste. I even enjoyed the woman-to-woman conversations between Sneha and Nandini, though the hangover of sex-and-the-city type dialogues is pretty evident.

Problem is, there is no element of surprise or unpredictability in the screenplay, and it is the kind of book that won't stay in your head once you are done reading it .The characters in Nandini's office disappear miraculously, never to come back till the end which raises doubt - what was the need of introducing them in the first place and create chaos at the start. And can anyone please tell me, what kind of office is this where hardly no one ever talk about work but ex-bf and relationships. It is even hard to imagine that even though Nandini visits Aditya's home every now and then, no one in the immediate family hardly bothers or know about the kind of relationship they have developed over the years. Considering the fact that we live in an age of extreme media intrusion, the hot shot business magnate Aditya's relationship with Nandini is never out in the open is again tad confusing.

Coffee reads like these should not be over-analysed, but all other characters are typical Bollywood stereotypes and utter dialogues which are straight out of those family oriented Rashri Movies. It's idealistic and uncomplicated in its plot, its all characters are either good or misunderstood, and in the end everyone stays happy without any complaints. You see my point, it is constructed in a world where all families should stay under the same roof without the slightest bumps and makes a perfect universe around them. But i guess, i am just being cynical here.

I don't know about others but i can't take even one more book (or even a movie) where someone from the older generation chides the younger generation to stop following their dreams and do as per the family wishes. It is the oldest cliché in writing, exploited in numerous movies ad nauseam. How you wish the writer came up with a better logic behind the break up of the two main protagonists rather than relying solely on such regressive and retarded ratiocinations.

I am going with 2/5 for Varsha Dixit's debut novel, Right Fit wrong shoe. I felt like being transported to those 1980's Bollywood movies, where the parampara and pratistha of the parivaaar were kept ahead of your own wishes in life. It is corny and mushy but at the same time predictable and often senseless. It's got its heart in the right place, but its other parts scattered all over. Read it if you must.

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