From the book blurb
How does one become a man?
Three young boys are about to find out.
With six unmarried sisters and a perennially drunk father, Pinku, a 19-year-old school dropout, has only one dream left to marry the plump girl who caught him stealing flowerpots. His friend and confidant, 17-year-old Bhandu, is not faring any better his parents are divorcing, his father has abandoned him, and the American tourist he is infatuated with doesn’t even know that he exists. Bhandu and Pinku seek solace in the distracting shenanigans of their friend Guggi a pampered rich brat who can do anything for a thrill. Guggis reckless hedonism lands the threesome in a series of sexpot escapades each adventure weirder than the one before.
But their seemingly innocuous joyride is about to end.
With their Class 12 exams around the corner, Guggi, restless to leave a mark, takes over the schools notorious protection racket in a violent coup. The fallout drags the trio into a murky world of heartbreak, betrayal and bloody vengeance…
Siddharth Tripathi was born in Allahabad and schooled in Banaras. He is a B.E from NIT Trichy and an MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. Siddharth currently lives in Gurgaon and works as a consultant for a business advisory firm. He also writes a blog on music and films. The Virgins is his first novel.
The story revolves around three characters - Pinku, Bhandhu and Guggi. The former is in his late teens while the other two has their most anticipated and hyped twelfth board examination round the corner. All the three of them are witty and yet very different from each other. But various personal and familial reasons draws them closer and keeps them well knitted.
Pinku’s desperation, Bhandhu’s fear and Guggi’s “sexpot” adventures are well narrated. Their transformation from lazy and carefree boys to responsible men is phenomenal. Well, I am not going to act as a spoiler.
There are several other characters too who support the protagonists and pushes the story further. And they all stay alive in our memories even after we have completed the read.
What I think
To begin with, I loved the cover page. It is vibrant and gives a quote on each character’s life. I bow to the artist who has painfully yet perfectly sketched Varnasi. I felt as if I am seeing that place in real bursting raw and lively in front of me.
Then, I liked the little quotes with which the author begins each chapter. It would be the favorite song or poem or something that is written by the leads themselves. The beauty is that they blend with the contents of the story. This is something new and I would regard as the USP of this book.
The flow of the story is incredible although I have to admit that the first few pages seemed difficult. It made me feel like what am I reading and why. But, with each passing page, the patience was rewarded. The feather in the cap is the climax. It can’t be better!
Each character is developed through a series of events and again, that was enjoyable. Therefore, as I said, during initial times you end up feeling clueless.
I don’t know why the author has used such an overdose of foul language. As a reader, I did not find it amusing at all. From the father to son to friends and neighbors, almost everyone uses swear words. I have to admit that it was really irritating and derogating rather than amusing and entertaining.
Should you read it?
I say go for it for enjoying the breeze of Varanasi at home; also for the author’s breezy and heartwarming narrative.
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.