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Some looking up tells you that the author Sachin Garg has centered the entire plot around a female protagonist very convincingly. However 'Soumya's story in her own voice' sounds meaningful only a tad bit, once you read through the book. A quintessential Delhi girl lands up in a steel plant, gets posted to a remote village in Karnataka, unsure of how to deal with the stuff life throws at her. The characterization is fairly good. The language could've been way better. The story, tailor-made for light reading on random idle Sunday mornings and follows the casual Chetan Bhagat style.
The book starts with how Sachin met a girl named Saumya who post her MBA, managed to end up in the Safety Department of a steel plant in Toranagallu, Karnataka, owing to the erroneous assumption by her hiring manager that ‘Saumya’ was a guy’s name. Though this part wasn’t a stretch, it was. The protagonist is shown as a pampered Delhiite who as the irrelevant and misleadingly designed red and white cover says, loves her shopping malls, coffee shops and short skirts. In stark contrast she is unable to cope with the difficult situations in her workplace after a campus placement in Lala Steel and is unable to find a friend to talk to until she meets a Bengali hippy Shubho. Shubho is also a management graduate and believes in a certain ‘Move on Theory’ of staying not more than 90 days at a certain place. His story takes over in the last sections of the book.
Saumya is in love with Shubhro right away and learns about his experiences in various places. The author has visibly put hard attempts to make his characters ‘cool & different’ through Shubhro’s anecdotes and interactions with Saumya. Mallapa is a colleague, a seemingly interesting character that very disappointingly dies in a fight at the plant, while he too had his share of romance with Saumya. There are rare points where Sachin capture Saumya’s feelings better than most parts in the book. But a lady at 24? 19? No. Saumya should’ve been a 16 odd something given the way she thinks.
The first half of this book is mostly about Saumya coping up with professional challenges while the later second is centered on Shubhro. The former are incidents that girls may identify with, however, could have been paid much more attention to in the book instead of Saumya’s dilly dallying love life. Since that doesn’t glue you to the book, Shubhro’s part is the one you want to read. An IIM graduate with a distorted childhood who goes on to lead a life of drugs and alcohol but does impactful social work wherever he goes. His times in various places of the world have been shown as a blog by ‘Wandering Viewfinder’. His story ends with his ‘Move on’ to the next unknown destination, leaving Saumya intrigued and clueless though both confess their love to each other.
Ultimately, the story could be rated a 2.5 on 5 purely for its change from the usual grind that IIT/IIM aspirant stories throw at us. The author has good ideas. But a lot of work needs to be done on the storyline and character portrayal. The first half of the story is rushed up while towards the end, the book has been interesting to read. Many may find this book easy to miss but since you have nothing better to do on a lazy holiday morning, pass 3-4 hours of your idle time this way. It does entertain and may gain more popularity among the kiddo crowd.