When longtime friends Binaifer and Louella meet Shalini Dayal at Gyan Shakti College, Gyan for knowledge and Shakti for strength, a true friendship that transcends cultural and religious backgrounds is born. Louella is a Christian, Binaifer, a Parsi and Shalini, a Hindu.
The novel’s main plotline surrounds Shalini who has fallen for an impetuous student activist, Bhagu. Where does his desire to help the less fortunate lead him? The challenges are many - Shalini’s tradition bound family, the couple’s youth and inexperience and the travails of life in Mumbai, a city the girls love but know, is fraught with communal tension.
Bhagu is a young man, an orator and someone who dreams to fight and bring meaningful changes. He is a student activist and falls in love with classmate/friend Shalini. He is also someone who thinks and acts rationally.
Shalini is a young woman who is beautiful and very rich. Her grandmother and her parents engage her with a highly qualified Rajinder. But her heart lies with Bhagu. She thinks a lot. Rather she thinks more and acts less.
Then there are characters like Louella, Benifer, Chachaji, mem and a chauffeur.
What I think
K Mathur’s story is about whether Shali and Bhagu unite in a wedlock in spite of the communal and cultural differences. It is about whether their love would win their parents’ hard and if they live happily forever.
Further it is also about the friendship that flickers between Shali, Binny and Lou on the first day of college.
In this process, the author details about their college lives... The works of the students union and the unity of the students....
In a macro level the author touches the topics of communal riots and secularism.
The title “Never Mind Yaar” fits in aptly at the plot because in spite of short comings and weakness, we learn to live with it. Sometimes, we also forego our personal beliefs for the well-being of others. This is what happens in the day of life of a Mumbai, any Indian for that matter. And that is what happens with Mem and Shali’s parents!
I enjoyed the parts where Shali spends her time at the ancestral house in Jaipur. Those familial get together and grandma stories was an interesting read.
However, the excerpt claims this to be the friendship of three women – Lou, Binny and Shali. It also adds that it is about the love that blooms between Shali and Bhagu. It further says that it is about how Mumbai is a secular city.
Does the book really deliver what it promises? The friendship between Lou, Binny and Shali is restricted to window-shopping and snacks. Shali never confesses her love towards Bhagu then how can they help them? I agree that they make secret plans to enable the love birds to meet. But is that all?
The story is promising. But it loses its charisma because same thing is said again and again. There are no special moments or those heart tickling dialogs. The style of writing is more like a prose and because the dialogues are less we get to know very less about the kind of relationship they share.
Had there been a proper editing and more dialogs, the books would have gone to different level. Instead of giving notes about the history of Bandra the Parsis, I wish the author blended it to the narrative and it a part of the book. If that was not done, those notes would not have made us feel like we are reading some History textbook!
Further, the paper quality makes me wonder if I am reading a study material. I wish that the huge paragraphs were broken into smaller ones. That would have made this an easy read. These are all small things for an editor and author. But it would make a huge difference to the reader.
Should you read it?
If you enjoy Chick lit books... If you enjoy the cultural flavors of India...
If you have patience to wait for that path-breaking twist and awesome ending!