Saturday, June 24, 2006

Smita Kulkarni from Sunnyvale, California says ...

Smita Kulkarni
"I was so happy to get this book from my sister. She sent it to me from Germany. Although the author was kind enough to offer to send me a hardcopy that he had with him, this one came just in time (there are no copies being sold in USA yet). I finished reading it in 3 days which equals about 5 hours of actual reading time on the California train.

My first impression after reading the initial 10 pages of the book was that like Shobhaa De's (referring to her comment about this book), this one took me back to my college days. For starters, I haven't heard the word "super-senior" in a long time. And it’s been a while since I heard the many slang words and all the very believable nicknames that Abhijit makes liberal use of in his book. It brought the college canteen/hostel back to life in my mind. However, if I weren't an Indian or hadn't gone to school in India, it would be a little harder to place most of them. Being a "day-scholar" I wouldn't have been able to identify with all the hostel life described, had my sister not been generous enough to let me visit her at hostel a couple of times. I'm sure it was a torture for her but I totally enjoyed myself :). Comparisons to "Five Point Someone" (another college caper set in the IIT Campus) are inevitable. Personally, I gave up reading that book after about 4 chapters but this one I had to finish!

I could totally identify with Abbey who doesn't really have much ambition and isn't even sure if he is doing the right thing with his life. All my life I have gone with the flow and never really knew if I actually wanted to be doing what I was doing. The only thing I probably couldn't digest was Abbey's love life. His attitude towards all the women was very casual and his sexual encounters are something that I couldn't imagine as being real, especially in the day and age the story is set. But again, student life and teens have changed so much in India that I don't even really consider myself as belonging to the current generation anymore. Abbey really seemed to lack any motivation to follow up on something that he cared about. This is evident in the relationships he shared with the women and their terminations. My favorite character (and also the author's, I hope) was Rascal Rusty. There is always this wise guy in every class who's a know-it-all and this fact never goes down well with most of the students. I also loved reading about the "Kumbhkaran" like roommate who chose sleep over everything else. The ending could have been a little less abrupt. When I finished the book, I didn't really feel like it was the end! All in all, a very good first attempt that kept me hooked (which is a lot more than I can say for the next book that I am reading!)"

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