Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Almost Single - Book Review
One more in the ever-growing genre of Indian chick-lit, this book has one strength. Humour! The novel breezily captures the life of the protagonist, Aisha Bhatia, almost thirty, very single and surrounded by friends who are in a similar situation.
Most of the book is devoted to the single-minded pursuit (or discussion) of booze, cigarettes, available men, not necessarily in that order. Aisha's best friends,a very available and always on the look out, Misha and Anushka, undergoing the throes of divorce, provide able support to her angst as she works in a fancy hotel with its dark underpinnings reserved for the rich and the minions who serve them. It is not clear what the other two girls do for a living as they brunch at five-start hotels, discuss expensive shiatsu massages and consume copious amounts of branded liquor. Comic relief is also provided by a pair of gay characters who appear to be in a monogamous and committed relationship while the straight women ogle every specimen of the male species.
Of course, there is Aisha's consistent love interest, the hunky NRI Karan who has all the required attributes of a eligible bachelor and the multiple unfortunate liaisons of the intrepid Misha to spice up the narrative. The women seem be connoisseurs of wine but can't tell daals apart. Their redeeming feature is their closeness and camaraderie.
The novel is light-hearted and fun, with the devil-may-care attitude of the urban youth that laughs at tradition but is not averse to clinging to weird gurus and rituals when the situation demands. It is well-written but by no means a literary marvel. What saves the book from being mediocre is the irreverent humour that makes light of every dark situation, including the majestic institution of marriage.