Author: Faraaz Kazi
Publisher: Cedar Books
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A pompous Rahul is head over heels in love with Seema, his beautiful female equivalent from the same school. After a whirlwind of innocent encounters, their teenage romance blossoms yet both of them never confess their love to each other. A series of misunderstandings and ego clashes cause them to drift apart. Rahul loses his sanity and ultimately his love. By the time he realises the magnitude of his loss, it appears to be too late. Will Rahul get back his Seema? Or will Seema never realise the depth of Rahul’s feelings?
Rahul Kapoor is straight out of those Bollywood movies of the 1990s, a complete all-rounder. He dances like a dream, give 3 minute long speeches without a stutter, hit sixes to win a cricket match, fits the tall-fair-handsome persona to the T, make even teachers sing on his tune, bash up rapists to save a fellow acquaintance and every girl is dying to be with him, be it Mumbai or Pennsylvania. Even Rajnikant will be proud of his persona, i tell you.
Stripped to it's bone, TMD is coming-of-the-age story of an individual who has fallen in love to lose everything later on owing to ego-issues and misunderstandings. Dwindling between past and the present, the narrative keeps you on a roller coaster ride till the story is concentrated on the fledgling adolescence romance between the two main protagonists. But it goes downhill when bogged with unnecessary detailing of extra curricular activities in the school. Three consecutive chapters - a Lagaan inspired cricket match, an overly melodramatic democracy speech in the debate competition and an excruciatingly long quiz competition completely saps away your energy and makes you wonder where is the narrative heading. These are nothing but self indulgences on the writer's part, contribute very little to the main story and required some serious editing.
You can pretty much tell if the book is working for you if you can instantly connect with the characters. In the second half of the book, i couldn't really do so with either Rahul or Seema. There are enough indicators with references of K3G, chalthe chalthe and second season of KBC that this story is set in early 2000s, time where internet has universally been incorporated in our daily lives. But then why in this whole world, Rahul never uses a simple e-mail to clarify the misconception is quite beyond me. In those days when conflicts in relationships were quickly resolved over IMs and letters, why Rahul is hell bent on destructing himself left me quite confused. Similarly, why a career-oriented girl like Seema suddenly decides to get engaged to her first cousin or never bothers to confront Rahul even once is bewildering to say the least.
The author is much more sure footed when it comes to portraying the romance between Rahul and Seema in the first part of the book. There is a charming chemistry between them and scenes at the beginning oozes warmth and affection. Their telephonic conversations, the digs at each other and the intrinsic humour in the writing will remind of your own school days. These portions are engaging because they turn out to be regular situations with which we can identify with our first crush or love. The trouble is that these terrific moments are buried into too much plot and too much preachy love chatter. The story needed to be more shorter and less flabby to create a better impact on readers. Moreover, the transitions between past and present should have been more smoother and the poems/quotes/snippets interspersed between the narrative act as speed-breakers and ultimately, adds to the length of the book.
I am going with 2.5/5 for Faraaz kazi's first book, Truly Madly Deeply. It doesn't hit all the right marks it sets for itself but it provides just enough crackle to keep you hooked till the twist in the end. Read it on a day when your romantic hormones are in over-drive, you may not be entirely disappointed. A fresh voice on the writing circuit, but very self indulgent and exhausting in the end.