A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life


Image Courtesy: Internet
Image Courtesy: Internet

When people of similar frequencies come together – output is not a simple sum of individual work, but exponential. In science we term this phenomenon as resonance. 

Output at this stage is beyond any logical limit.

Three young kids, with different family backgrounds and outlook meet during their graduation days at IIT-Bombay campus and become close friends. Although, individually
they are in sync, but the same is not true for their interaction with the world.

How will their relation withstand the conflict of family and society pressure?

How do their characters shape out, as they traverse from an educational environment through the corporate world to the realm of the social-political world?

Inspired by the real events across the globe from the last decade, Ravindra Shukla brings you the characters based story – struggle and triumphs of a young generation
and their relevance in the current socio-eco-political era.

This a story of 3 bright minds that meet at IIT, their life at campus and beyond. Rahul, Richita or Richie(as she is fondly called) and Neerav are best buds on campus. They share most of their waking moments together, bonding over cups of “chai” and cafeteria food. Rahul and Richita fall in love and harbor dreams of getting married while Neerav is their pillar of support.

All is well until things start falling apart ; Rahul wants to contribute to the society and joins an NGO working with government to help out some local tribals. As his involvement in the movement to be a part of something noble starts taking priority, his relationship with Richie starts to suffer as she is trapped in the net of her parents antiquated thoughts and ideas. Neerav continues with the flow of life and soon all of them find themselves in different parts of the world pursuing their ambitions and careers.

Do all their dreams come true? What happens few years down the line? Does each one find what he/she are looking for in life? This book is essentially the tale of their lives on campus and beyond, their urge to do good with their lives, to contribute to society as they battle the realities of life while trying hard not to compromise upon their core personalities and values.

Since I was not really sure how to express my thoughts about this really different book, I decided to go the simple way and list down what appealed to me and what did
not about the book.

Characterization

The characters of Rahul and Richita have been beautifully fleshed out. There is a lot of background on why they are the way there ; Rahul is bright and is compared to the mathematical genius Ramanujan. His priorities are never money or fame or contributing to India’s brain drain as it is with most that graduate from prestigious institutions like teh IITs and IIMs. His focus to do something of value for the society and the country even at personal costs makes his character one of a kind. For those of you who have read Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”, Rahuls character is close to a desi version of Howard Roark. I never imagined that I would comes across a character like this in contemporary Indian literature.

Richita is from an influential family with a disciplinarian father and a neutral mother. Values like hard work and discipline have been drilled into her personality by her father who is the greatest influence in her life. Her struggle to find a balance between Rahuls ways and ideas for life and that of her father’s who believes that Richita should marry the boy that they choose has been detailed remarkably well. Most women who go through the act of “convincing” their parents that the man of their choice is good “husband” material will immediately identify with this

Neerav from a rich business family does not seem to have too many planned goals and objectives but just goes with the flow. In fact his character was not really detailed in depth compared to the first two so I could not understand the relationship between what he achieved vis-a-vis what he wanted to achieve in life

Justice has been done to two other supporting characters that are equally important to this book, Deepak [Richitas husband] and Yeren [Neeravs business partner. Deepak is ruthlessly ambitious and lives by the saying “the means justify the end” and Yeren is a current generation entrepreneur with capitalist ideas who is trying to create business empire. I particularly liked the fact that she even learns Hindi in order to work better with her Indian counterparts

The book and its chapters

Reading the book felt like reading someones journal or blog. The chapters had simple and plain titles like “Campus academic life”, “Middle class family conflicts “, “Richita and Mother Interactions”, “Silicon Valley VS Wall Street” etc., to name a few. This kind of demarcation sets this book part from the usual books by Indian authors we read these days

The Language was simple though I couldn’t shake off the feeling that some of the dialogues just seem to have been translated from real life to text as is. Some chapters were excessively descriptive and could have been edited out [for e.g. cafeteria conversations between students, philosophical discussions] and these could have been toned down a bit. In spite of some grammatical errors [E.g. Sentences like ‘Do not you understand’]and hiccups in the flow in the initial parts of the book, the last half of the book more than made up for this. Similarly the book dragged for the first half while the last half started becoming a page turner.

The cover is not really impressive and I felt that it does not fall in line with the theme of the book with the exception of the shadows of 3 people that look masculine while the plot has a female maverick! In fact when I saw this book for the first time online, I was going to give it a pass. Then I happened to read the blurb which changed my mind. So good blurb! 🙂

The Plot is interesting and can be compared to a series of dots that connect 3 lives across multiple years and different geographies and time zones in the midst of various life events. It is interesting to note the different characters [essential to the plot of course] come and in and leave in tandem with the plot much like real life.

Size – The book is a whopping 330+ pages[which I felt a tad too long for a book of this genre] and sometimes you will wonder when it will end!But then you will keep going 🙂

Comparisons to “The Fountainhead” – Now, this is my personal thought on the subject. I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Rahul and Howard Roark especially when it came to their ability to not compromise on anything! They seem to be living in what could be considered as an “utopian existence” to others…. Both want to do what they think is correct without a care for the thoughts of society and its ways and many a time this comes at a personal cost. Howard looses the love of his life the first time around and so does Rahul. There are many such parallels but I will stop, as I might give away parts of the book!

Final VerdictA very unique book brimming with human emotions, struggle of thoughts and the actions they motivate. A book whose pages reflect the different shades of life and the sincerity of author while trying to paint the lives of his protagonists. A read that may drag here and there but if you love campus life and miss it, enjoy reading about life and the various games that destiny plays or intrigued by philosophy then this book should not be missed

About the author:

Ravindra Shukla is a graduate of IIT-Bombay. He works for IBM in emerging technology and business analytics in IT software technology. His professional experience includes working with consulting firms – PWC and IBM in USA for 15+ years. He is a member of the Film Writers Association, Mumbai. His interest includes – writing fiction, literature and movie scripts apart from sports, movie and travelling across the globe.

Thank You The Readers Cosmos for sending me a review copy of this book!

This book  is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

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One comment

  1. Thanks for your review. Editor messed-up in editing and for various reason, I could not fix on time… but glad that message passed thru. new version is coming out soon.

    Please share your email id at ravindra.shukla@gmail.com, I will pass sample chapter/synopsis you can share in your friend circle.

    Thanks
    Ravindra

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