Title : Reality Bites
Author : Anurag Anand
Publisher : Srishti
ISBN : 978-93-80349-37-4
The story begins with Atul's first day in the Delhi Engineering College (DCE) and soon the readers are taken two years back to his first hostel experience when he had moved from a small, secured and confined world of a small home in Hissar to a much bigger world Delhi High School Hostel. The objective behind this transition was the lofty aim of his father that Atul should be able to secure a seat in a prestigious engineering college in a good stream.
Atul experiences a newer world, a wider variety of individuals and gradually settles down accepting the ups and downs of the new hotel life. He forms many acquaintances but develops friendships with a few including his roommate Senti and 'cure-of-all' Bengali. He falls in love with a smart chic straight from glossy pages of a filmy magazine Ayesha and lets himself gratify his sensual pleasures but his dream world does not last too long and he is forced to face the reality soon enough. But there is one more corner too to make this a typical love triangle. The book has covered almost all the ingredients which form a major part of any new adult's life while taking his/her first independent steps in the outer world - experimenting with new found freedom, attraction of opposite sex, charm of first love, standing up for others, believing in unity of group while managing the pressures of exams and scoring reasonably at the same time.
I must compliment the author on his linguistic skills, the story flows smoothly without any errors whatsoever, which is a major grudge that I have against new authors especially Indian authors. Every incident takes the narrative forward and some analogies and comparisons do manage to tickle the funny bone on many occasions.
The author has adequately tried to pepper up the story with humour but it still falls flat on many accounts. The plot is not strong enough to hold the interest of the readers for too long and in the middle somewhere, the desire to just finish it off starts creeping up. I guess Chetan Bhagat has become a source of motivation for many new authors but there has to be some substance to satisfy the appetite of readers otherwise the book fails to make any impact. This book comes across as a direct lift from 'not very successful' melodramatic movie. And I guess, the book is written to cater to a very small segment of readers, not sure whether this will appeal to them too. The cover of the book does not help either.
I firmly believe that a book which can hope to appeal to readers should fall broadly in either of these categories:
- Book offering some unique idea, out of the box thought, new plot or some extraordinary event which has never been presented before.
- Book working on known plots or ideas but the outstanding handling and packaging of the same enables it to rise above the rest. From handling and packaging I mean - either the narration is very witty or engaging or presented in such a fashion that something is there for the readers to savor.
For me, this book falls short in qualifying for any of these.