Sunday, 7 July 2019

One Monsoon in Mumbai by Anitha Perincherry || Book Review

When I picked this book up, my expectations were not high. One page into the book and I realised that for a debut author, Perincherry's language is polished and she has a flair with her writing style. She begins the novel with a realistic depiction of the city of Mumbai where the novel is set in :

" Mumbai, a puzzle of a city, put together with jagged pieces of wildly fruitful dreams and shattered hopes. Here, some gambled for fame and fortune, some looted, some cut throats. They called it business."

Such a strong opening is bound to draw you in right? I looked at the passage in disbelief weighing the heavy realities summed up into a few words. Although the genre of the novel is Rom com and it eventually loses the intensity of the starting lines, these lines are no less imoactful than literary masterpieces. Which is probably why to sum up, I think One Monsoon in Mumbai showed a great potential- especially that of the author in the language she wields.

Adhith and his father, the Finance Minister are prime suspects of Income Tax Department - they have been apparently looting tax payers money in crores and Seema Rawat is sent as an undercover agent to collect evidence and reveal their fallacies. Although the book classifies as a Rom com it does not get overly cheesy which is one of the most commendable things about this novel.

Seema is clearly the primary protagonist of this novel and her character has been built with a strong background - something that often authors miss. Whatever her present is has been shaped by her past that she is not so proud of. She is rebellious and shares a complicated relationship with her aunt. In a few chapters you come to realise that all her life she has tried to escape from her aunt but found herself with her due to her circumstances. However, they clearly care for each other - it is the unspoken issues between them that probably give rise to the coldness that often prevails between them. Her relationships with Adhith and Vikram are quite strange - and often she fails to draw her boundaries as an undercover agent. However, that is only human.

They undergo several turmoils in the course of the novel and it is clear within the first half that Vikram and Seema make the better match. Meanwhile, Adhith has announced marrying Seema to his father - without any consultation with her. Come to think about it, that is not the only thing that fails to make sense in the novel. I am intrigued by how Seema manages to become Adhith's girlfriend in the first place. Regarding Vikram slowly revealing his concern for Seema- it almost seems forced because there is no major action that leads to the result. The minor events are not convincing enough - and in the pursuit of giving Seema the spotlight we hardly see any other female character who plays a significant role. Sure, there are a few more characters but their names aren't even notable.

To like this novel you have to be in mood for romance.  With no doubt , Vikram is certainly anyone's dream guy. He is caring, he is cute, he is smart and responsible. In the scenes where he is present with Adhith you can clearly sense their contrast - and it almost shocks me how Seema could even act to like the guy. Sure, he is not a villain maybe but he is still quite - to put it in a word- useless. His character does things that makes me want to throw a chair at him and I am sure the author intended to build the character this way for certain reasons and I liked that the author has done a great job with the characters.

Let's talk about the plot of the book - while it is laid down from the very first chapter what the intent of the protagonist is- thus mapping out the plot of the book, it does have it's own twists in the book. Romance is accompanied by working for social factors and never do we find any of the characters forsake their career for their love. If anything, love propels them towards working harder and achieving more important goals and that is one of the best parts about this book. I am glad to not have read yet another Rom com where the characters found love and left the world for it.

 The plot seems linear but while paying close attention I was often confused by the flow of the story and thought that it could have been more polished if the author could have revised it a few times or sent it to an editor. However, that doesn't mean that the plot is bad - it is a complex plot with three characters facing their own problems and for a debut author capturing all these intricacies is definitely quite difficult. Seema is always depicted as a character bothered by her past and so are the ones around her and that shapes all their lives indirectly or directly. She herself is an extremely imperfect character- although she often tries to convince herself that she is capable and strong in several events through the plot. I like the way the author uses events to provide her character sketch instead of plainly stating how she is.

Overall, we could conclude that One Monsoon in Mumbai is very well formed in terms of language, plot and characterisation but lacks polish and clarity at some portions. For a first time this is commendable and I am sure that the author Anitha Perincherry is yet to attain her full potential - and this work is a promising preface to what she is yet to deliver. You can grab the book on Amazon if you want to read One Monsoon in Mumbai!