Can the conservative, curd-rice eating Damayanthi become a cool, corporate babe? From 32 Amman Kovil Street to 124 Pine crest [minus the pines of course 🙂 ]
The story of a good girl gone bad? Its more like the narrative of a good girl gone wild!! At least till she gets to her senses! The “Dear Diary” kind of narrative has been done to death in many novels (remember princess diaries) but this narration gets a new twist when conservative girl from Chennai, Damayanthi or ‘D’, who lives her daily life being the quint-essential boring good girl (so good, that her only vice is probably reading “Vogue magazine) writes to her imaginary friend Victoria, an English doll gifted to her when she was a little girl, yearns to break free of her life in Amman Kovil street and dreams of being a hi-flyer who lives life wearing fancy designer clothes and shoes with multiple men fawning all over her. But alas she is stuck with a bad horro
rscope; what with Mars being in the 7th house her parents can never seem to find a good guy for her and even her youngest cousin has got hitched way before her with a spouse in the states with babies to boot!! Finding herself as a lonely maid at 25(?) “D” decides to take charge of her life when nothing seems to be going anywhere and that “nothing” does not seem to be in a hurry 🙂
In true “chick lit” style she lands a job as an assistant manager at a bank based in Mumbai and much to her mothers horror takes off to the foreign land to live the life of a modern city babe ala “Sex and the City” making new friends like her colleagues like Jimmy and CG, trying to hoist her flag in the corporate world while facing competition from a pretty size 0 flat mate, who pretty much hates “D” and looks down on her curd rice and pickle eating ways and trying to resist bad boy Rahul and his Casanova ways!
The book was a pretty easy read – most pages had me laughing my head off!! Being a Chennai girl with stars in her eyes and dreams to keep me going I could identify with most of what “D” was going through. However the idea of “D” and her family as painted by the author for a novel released in 2010 seems a little out dated – these days there aren’t too many CA rank holders who do not possess a cell phone (even our maids and veggie wallahs have cell phones!) or work at firms that don’t have even a single computer (seriously an accounting firm without accounting software?? – a bit too backward I say) If they are rank holders they would definitely be gobbled up by MNCs and settle down for fat pay checks and generally make life miserable for their colleagues! Neither do such girls actually go to browsing centers to check their mails! This seems more like what the girls in the early 90’s would do and well, “Vogue” magazine was definitely not in vogue in the early 90’s in Chennai! And the idea of Chennai being “oppressive” – again that’s just nuts considering that Chennai has been rated as the top most state to live in a recent poll conducted by a leading news paper!
If you can forget these pre-historic notions about Chennai and the lives of its citizens, the novel is fun! I love the way the author has captured the rigors of arranged marriages. This I can personally vouch for! Many of us (Chennai gals or not) would have met the cheap skates and mommas boys that “D” meets! The author is also bang on when it comes to conservative women getting make overs when they get into professional roles that they perceive would rescue them from their monotonous lives
The author has also done a good job describing the way most corporate managements work and how those that take up fancy titles and roles seem quite lost in their jobs, not knowing exactly what it is that they are doing as they morph into specimens that belt out swears and “F” bombs to look and sound cool. [You can tell I have experience dealing with such folks :)]
Also somewhere along the book, “D” just comes across as desperate – desperate for a boy friend, desperate to gel in a corporate crowd, desperate to look good, desperate for this and desperate for that – just DESPERATE!! And this desperateness just gets a bit repetitive! “D” is just a a confused girl who is not sure what she wants, but she wants it right away much to her own chargin and those around her. Towards the end of her “Dear Vic” entries she resists a bad boy, makes a hip girlfriend and hopefully (?) finds her professional calling thanks to her good pals Jimmy and CG…thank God!
To summarize, a great book with a equally good cover and excerpt to match – a funny read, one that will make you forget your blues