Archive for ‘(sic)’

June 14, 2013

Adi, Tantra

One of the things I’ve been waiting to see, with the current explosion of popular Indian literature, is popular genre fiction. What started out with Chetan Bhagat and the 100-rupee campus novel has grown into something bigger– Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy was massively successful; Srishti (publishers of about two-thirds of the awful campus novels out there) have just published Arka Chakrabarti’s The Secrets of the Dark, featuring a Mysterious Hooded Figure on the cover, and there exists something called Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra by Rajiv S. Menon. My attempt a couple of months ago to read The Immortals of Meluha went horribly wrong, and yet I’m glad that series exists. Because very few of the Indian authors I know are genre snobs; most of them will happily read across genres and are fans of some major SFF authors that I like, and many will include speculative elements in their work. Samit Basu’s written some genuinely good epic fantasy, Anil Menon has written good SF, Nilanjana Roy even ventures into genre’s beloved talking cat territory. But it’s taken this, a series of books by (from the bits I’ve read) a not-very-good writer to really get popular genre fiction started, and now that this is a thing, it’s possible that some better writers may emerge.

In the meantime, there’s Tantra, by a writer known only as “Adi”. Tantra is an urban fantasy, set in Delhi, and is about a “guardian”/ vampire slayer named Anu Aggarwal who has come to Delhi to track down the murderer of her American boyfriend Brian. As Anu stumbles on a bigger mystery involving the disappearance of slum children in Delhi, she has to deal with other problems–like the loving aunt she’s staying with who insists on trying to arranged-marry her off. Anu has told her parents she’s gay to avoid marriage-related pressure from them, but in Delhi, it seems, coming out would be at least as scandalous as admitting to being a professional killer of vampires. (Indian queer people, like vampires, must be fictional).

I didn’t have particularly high hopes for Tantra, but this is still a set-up that is full of comic potential. Unfortunately the writing makes some of the comedy rather less intentional than I suspect it was intended to be.

So on the first page we have Anu terribly dressed for the local climate and culture. “She’d worn her signature pleather pants, midriff-baring halter top, and cashmere-lined leather jacket for the occasion”. This is already awful, and it’s only slightly mitigated by the fact that the book clearly sees the humour in anyone walking around Delhi dressed like this. Her partner Amit ridicules her, and

“The toughest battle she’d fought was with an elderly couple convinced she was an upscale prostitute who needed saving. After an hour of explaining that leather was not the temptress guise of a lost soul and that she had in fact read the Ramayana, she’d nearly staked them”.

Because I am a lazy person, here are some of the quotes I ended up saving as I read this.

On Anu’s Guardian-angst: “She tried to remember what it had been like when she was more intimate with the smell of uttapams than the smell of blood.”

A character introducing himself: “the quintessential scotch-drinking Indian hypocrite male.”

A character explaining why Indian men don’t hit on women in clubs: “The Indian gentleman is always discreet to a fault.” (you can all stop laughing now)

Anu, lamenting the difficulty of conversations with the man you have a crush on: “It was hard to talk to Gaurav, who continually and wittily flirted with her on the phone.”

A battle: “The vampire preferred to use his hands rather than a weapon, and Anu’s knives kept finding stray limbs to cut.”

Anu’s don’t-call-me-guru guru, lending her his strength: “A gush of crimson threads from his hand invaded her body.”

Some sexy talk:

After Anu grabs the testicles of a man who attempted to chat her up:

(Drink every time Anu punches one of her male companions in the shoulder)

Anu herself is (of course) superlatively fair-skinned (enough that she was pale by American standards) and beautiful enough that every young male in the book, be he dead ex boyfriend, colleague, potential husband, potential husband’s brother, or chief vampire, has a crush. She’s also superpowered beyond the abilities of most Guardians. I think this is as much a problem of this genre as it is of this particular book, but it still caused me to roll my eyes.

For all its various badnesses, though, Tantra makes me realise how starved I am of genre fiction set in worlds I know. A few months ago I read a really good Zen Cho story in which a character is wearing white Bata shoes to school and I remember those shoes, and that they cost rs 80 when I was ten years old and somehow this really mattered. Tantra is set in my city; Anu’s aunt lives about ten minutes away from me and the plot mostly moves between south and central Delhi. And so I did genuinely laugh when Nina aunty was safe from the vampires invading her house because she’d shifted to a more vaastu-compliant bedroom, and I was very pleased when the violet line of the Delhi metro made a cameo (accompanied by an India-Shining-esque bit about how much better it is than New York’s subway). There’s a rather unbelievable bit where the characters manage to do a complete circle of Ring Road in 15 minutes in a Honda City, and a mention of there being “hundreds of white Maruti cars” which would make me wonder, were it not for the Metro reference, if the author had been in Delhi since the mid-90s at all.

There’s a genuine attempt to combine vampire lore with Hinduism and without falling into a Hinduism Is The One Truth trap– though conveniently, pretty much every character (except poor Karim, who is a noneity) is at least nominally Hindu.

There’s a scene in which a disgraced vampire is strung up in public with a sign attached to his belt that reads “Cock-a-doodle-doo, behnchotes”. I almost want this book to be made into a movie purely so that this can be its tagline.

In short, it’s terrible and I will probably still read the sequel.

April 8, 2012

Amit Gopalakrishnan, She Was My Dream Girl…..But She Was a Guy!!

Some years ago I wrote a few rather mean reviews of some of the new Indian campus novels. They were all posted on my blog (tagged “(sic)“) and people seemed to enjoy them, particularly some of the quotes. I took them down when I started working for a publisher, but today have put them back up again. This is mainly to provide context for the thing I am about to post.

As you know, I write a column and occasionally review for this paper. A few months ago we discovered that there would be an edition of the paper out on the first of April. The result: Jai Arjun Singh on the forgotten film Shaitani Anand; Deepanjana Pal on an exciting new app, Bhanuj Kappal on the Scammie awards, and this gorgeous extract from Siddharth Singh’s debut novel, Symphony of Meretricious Wounds. And my own contribution below.

 

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One of the difficulties with (and therefore one of the most interesting things about) reading first person narratives is working out just how much the text itself endorses the opinions voiced by the characters. India has in recent years seen an explosion of such novels. These are romances or coming-of-age stories told in the first person by young male characters who are frequently college students. To the lay reader it can be difficult to sure of the relationship between the protagonist and the text – is the raging misogyny and homophobia ubiquitous in this genre endorsed by its authors, or is their presence merely part of a successful attempt to create authentic-sounding characters? Is the characters’ seeming lack of awareness regarding their own horrific behaviour something at which the text is attempting to poke fun, or is the reader expected to take it seriously? The distinction between author and character is further elided by the fact that in many of these books the two share the same name. The narrator of Pankaj Pandey’s The Saga of Love Via Telephone …tring tring…is named Pankaj, for example. And though the protagonist of Arpit Dugar’s Nothing For You My Dear Still I Love You….! is named Avinash, at one point a character addresses him as “Arpit”.

At a first glance, Amit Gopalakrishnan’s She Was My Dream Girl…..But She was a Guy!! appears no different from other books in the genre. Gopalakrishnan’s hero is also named “Amit”; he belongs to an engineering college and is unsuccessful with women; he falls in love. In the early chapters of the book he shows contempt for those around him, believing that his lack of social success is a result of the shallow people around him, rather than of his own failings. His retreat into the internet is a direct consequence of this. Here, he believes, he is finally able to vent his frustrations and truly express himself. It’s clear that Gopalakrishnan has done his homework – Amit’s internet postings, on various messageboards and then on Twitter, will feel utterly authentic to anyone who has ever ventured to read the comments on a major news site. The format of the book is innovative as well, with Amit’s internet activity depicted graphically so as to look like a snapshot taken of the website.

But it is with Amit’s forays into internet romance that the reader gradually becomes aware that Gopalakrishnan is trying something genuinely new. I mentioned above the apparent lack of awareness that many characters in the genre have with regard to their own actions and how they might appear to others. This is particularly true of their behaviour towards the women around them. Internet romances have been depicted in earlier books. In some, it is a comic subplot in which the objects of the romance turn out to be other than expected – unattractive, of the wrong age, or the wrong gender. In others, such as the abovementioned Saga of Love Via Telephone …tring tring…, it is entirely successful – in that book the main character merely keeps messaging the woman in question until she is forced to notice. Gopalakrishnan’s Amit, on the other hand, actually thinks about the ways in which he may be perceived online, and eventually rethinks a number of his attitudes. He begins to have feelings for Roshni, another commentor on a major website, but worries that she will find his pursuit ‘creepy’. Instead he creates a ‘female’ identity for himself, Aditi, and uses this to befriend her.

Of course, the twist in the tale has already been given away by the title of the book. It’s hard to decide whether this is a good choice or an unfortunate one – if we’re deprived of the moment of revelation, we’re also in a better position to appreciate the subtlety of the conversations that lead up to it. “Roshni” is really “Roshan”. To have one character enact such a charade would merely reiterate the tired old cliché about people on the internet not being what they seem; to have both do so allows for levels of gender play that Shakespeare could scarcely have bettered between “Roshni” and Amit, “Roshni” and “Aditi” and eventually Roshan and Amit. As a metaphor there’s something lovely about this serialised stripping away of fake identities, and the romance between the two boys has the happy ending we’re all rooting for.

She Was My Dream Girl…..But She Was a Guy!! is not perfect. Taking on his female identity forces Amit to reconsider many of his opinions, but his reformation is a little too pat. As is his immediate acceptance of his sexual attraction to a man, which feels rather rushed. But it feels churlish to complain when faced with a book this genre-aware and a love story this sweet.

 

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This may be the only time I ever use the “fiction” tag on this blog.

September 19, 2011

Totally serious non-frivolous blog-usage

 

Apparently there is now a play titled Ganesh vs the Third Reich, premiering later this month. Unsurprisingly Rajan Zed is outraged. All this is irrelevant, except to link you to this Hindustan Times article about it, in the comments of which may be found this gem (copied here because some people are claiming it’s disappeared from the newspaper’s site):

DILIP 48 minutes ago
Well it is a well documneted historical fact that doctrine of the Third Reich, did steal prsitine divine inspiration from the vedas, Ramayna and Mahabharata. The space technology, misslies and the atomic weapon concept was pilfered staright out of Mahabharat and other vedas.Hitler converted to vegetarian having convinced himself of its virtues and scientific benefits after reading the vedas.Intellectual Germans did drive many inspirations and ideas that enable at one stage in the 20th Century, the Greatest military and economic power, in this context we must assess the attributes, virtues and strength of hinduism and very advanced knowledge based science and technology. WE must not get distracted by some stupid namby pambies, of lefty fanatic persusaion trying to push their grotesque agenda.
Indeed.
March 19, 2010

I’m a believer

A couple of weeks ago I was in my car and someone came and tapped on my window and left me this card. I was pleased by it and showed it to people then took it home and promptly lost it. Today I found it again, and I’m feeling much more secure about my life and the world generally.


The back of the card reads as follows:

Person Got Cheated In Love Once Come And Meet 100% Solution only in 10 Hours , As You Wish, Will Be As

!!! MY PROMISE!!!
Expert In Super Nature Knowledge As:

  • Love Marriage
  • Job Business
  • Marriage Problems
  • Child Birth Problems
  • Various Magic
  • Serious Problems
  • Relief Speciality
  • Get Love of Your Choice

How do I know Guru Sultan Bangali is not a fraud? Besides the fact that he has given me !!!HIS PROMISE!!!, of course. It turns out that he is able to be in multiple places at once – under a different name he has been operating his business in Gurgaon. Only a person of great spiritual fortitude could survive a daily commute from Kalkaji to Gurgaon. Plus, he has business cards, not cheap pink leaflets.

I have great faith in the guru. Trust him with your Serious Problems, and as you wish will be as.

June 29, 2009

Nothing but praise for you, my dear

Shristi publishers continue to bring out cutting edge works by young Indian writers. Other books from them that I’ve read include Tuhin Sinha’s That Thing Called LOVE, and Novoneel Chakraborty’s A Thing Beyond Forever (which I saw in a bookshop yesterday in a new edition and with a new cover. This proves that I was wrong in saying that the language of the book might be too dense for the average reader. My faith in readers is thus re-established). Yesterday I found myself buying four new books that have come out since I left the country, and last night I read Arpit Dugar’s Nothing For You My Dear: Still I Love You….!
Arpit Dugar is a very young writer indeed – he’s 22. Impressively, he chooses to write from the point of view of a character older than himself, 26 year old Avinash Jain. The parallels between Dugar and Avinash are obvious – they both (from the information about the author given on the book’s inner front cover) have attended the same educational institutions, and are both from Jain families. At one point, due to a minor blip in editing, perhaps, a character even addresses Avinash as “Arpit”. With so strong an identification, it is impressive that Dugar manages to view his protagonist in a detached and critical way. Here he is describing Avinash on the first page of the book, where he admits straight off that his character isn’t perfect:

Avinash was the kind of guy who actually got on your nerves in the very first meeting. His physical appearance was no less than that of a super-model, his way of dressing, his smartness and of course his intelligence attracted everyone around him.

The book is structurally complex, with its story within a story. Avinash Jain’s parents are forcing him to marry Neha Bhandari, and as a dutiful son he cannot deny them their wish. He therefore begs Neha to reject him instead, and when Neha (who has fallen in love with him through the photos she’s seen) demurs, tells her the story of his relationship with Lisha, the girl he hoped to marry. The bulk of the book consists of Avinash’s narration of the story of his life and love.

You or I might tell such a story in a couple of lines. But Dugar’s narrator has clearly been bottling things up and needs to talk about it. As a result we are presented with a number of tiny details that make the whole thing real and add poignance to our understanding of the tale. Details such as this, when Avinash describes his hostel bedroom:

Then there were my gadgets, a personal desktop computer with almost all the gadgets loaded. There were two keyboards, I remember, one was of the normal style and the other was the folding one. There were two mouses even, one was Microsoft’s wireless optical mouse and the other one was the touch pad one. All the eight USB ports of my board remain occupied. Two of them were used by the wireless mouse connector and the folding keyboard. The third was used by the TATA Indicom internet card. The fourth was for the web camera. The fifth port was for the printer, which most of the time remained out of cartridge. The sixth port was an external hard drive, 500 gigabytes. And the seventh and eighth were left open for any extra peripherals to be used. Generally pen drives took hold on them.

A number of people have commented on the “student” flavour of recent novels, many of which seem to be set at least partly in an educational institution, possibly because the bulk of the readership are students or people who were very recently students. So you have Chetan Bhagat and Tushar Raheja writing about IIT life, Ravi Subramanian and Harshdeep Jolly tackling the IIMs, and Soma Das doing her bit for JNU. But the above is about as authentic a picture of student life as I have ever seen. While the references to Tata and Microsoft may seem like product placement, they actually function as a commentary on the importance of brands in daily life, as well as giving the reader a strong sense of context. Dugar is clearly aware of this, as he begins the book with a list of brands, so that we know all about Avinash almost before we know who he is. It’s a satirical take on consumer culture that is done in a startlingly subtle way for a young author and a first novel. In fact, the care with which this book has been written and edited gives the lie to Avinash’s claim that he’s not good with grammar and vocabulary, “I find grammar is some bullshit for crammers”. He has, among other gifts, a positive genius for metaphor.

I felt excitement spreading in my chest like a pleasant cactus.

One of the things that fascinated me about the book is how Dugar negotiates the gender issue. Many of Avinash’s close friends (Lenika, Akanksha, Ria, Tia) are female, for example, so he clearly values what the women around him bring to his life. He is also aware that men and women are fundamentally different, something that feminists have tried to make us forget. Thus his pronouncements on women are hesitant, as if he knows he may be giving offense and is afraid to claim authority. And yet he clearly speaks from experience Some examples:

I don’t know why girls only tell half the story. Don’t mind Neha but most of them love playing mind games and it is truly said that even the one who made them cannot judge what’s going on in their minds. And I believe that is the thing which we guys are so crazy about. Girls are so innocent and beautiful in their own ways.

I had heard from my friends that girls call boys sweetie, honey, cheeku-pie, hubby-dubby when they are in love with them.

The girls are in true sense the gamblers. They actually know the techniques to control us.

When you see a beautiful girl you actually fprget everything. Even Einstein in his theory of relativity mentioned that “Time is relative. When you are with a beautiful girl, the whole day will pass like a few seconds. On the other hand, when you are with a fat ugly lady, you will find a few seconds like years passing out”.

She came late to the college on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Maybe because we are allowed to wear casuals on those days and don’t mind but girls take hell lot of time in getting ready, choosing the best outfits and wearing the make-up.

Some of my friend once told me that staring is half the victory in love.

Understanding that women are fundamentally purer and more innocent than men, Avinash shows a wonderfully tender protective streak. He takes chivalry seriously.

I knew it had created a bad impression of my attitude but I never like attending booze sessions. It depresses me, so I avoid it. I am not against it, but I don’t support it in presence of girls and women even. It is something against my ethics.

And after all, what girl can resist being cared for?

The book is not without its flaws, however, and both of the things which spoilt it for me were factual errors. The first was a mere question of haircare. Lisha, at the point when Avinash meets her, has hair that is “cut in steps”, something that Avinash could probably not have recognised were it not straight. Additionally, he later describes her hair as straight. Yet at that first meeting, she also has “a curl carelessly on her forehead”. It seems extremely unlikely, though with curlers and straighteners freely available on the market anything is possible. And anyway, as has been discussed before on this blog, authors are frequently ignorant of the differences between straight and curly hair.

The second problem is one of timing. Towards the end of the book, Avinash waits for Lisha at the Ansal Plaza. Lisha telephones (half an hour late) from Sarojini Nagar, to say she’ll be fifteen minutes. Now, we’re told that Lisha is always late, but no reader could seriously believe that either of them think the journey even possible in fifteen minutes. What about the South Extension bottleneck? Unless we assume that Lisha also has no sense of direction as well as no sense of time, it is hardly feasible.

But it is possible that these minor criticisms arise out of bitterness and jealously from a critic who has never had a book published, yet is almost 24. All in all, a fine effort.

January 19, 2009

Copasetic results of internet searches

I learnt a new word today.

I have returned to the motherland for a few days and have spent today meeting people and looking at books. Since I was last here, a number of things that might interest me have been published – I was glad to finally pick up Vandana Singh’s The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet. However, one book whose existence had completely escaped my notice (and the notice of Jai and Aadisht, who were present when it was discovered) was Novoneel Chakraborty’s A Thing Beyond Forever.

The question of why we hadn’t noticed the book before is a difficult one to answer. I suspect it has something to do with the title. I’ve said before that gratuitous ellipses and the word “love” in capitals are important for popularity, and ATBF has neither. It tries to make up for this in its subtitle (of sorts, I wouldn’t think it was a subtitle were it not on the cover and spine), “The reward for every true love is not love…” The reader will immediately perceive that while “love” is written in lower case, it is mentioned twice to make up for it. Still, I don’t think this will prove adequate, even though the ellipses are all one could wish. And my reason for saying so is this – ATBF is simply too difficult a read.

This is not to suggest for a moment that ATBF is a bad book. On the contrary, the dense, lush prose at the beginning of the book reminds one of the opening pages of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast or some of Joseph Conrad’s more evocative passages. Consider:

The girl had never witnessed anything like this before. The place, like future, was an arcanum but, unlike it, there was an air of democracy all over. The view resembled the surreal painting of utopia which the brush of her rapturous wishes had made on the canvass of her heart, since childhood. It wasn’t exactly heaven but something more beatific and specific. It was a dream. And the ambience sprayed a déjà senti feeling on her.

Srishti Publishers’ earlier publication, Tuhin Sinha’s That Thing Called LOVE: An Unusual Romance… and the Mumbai Rain was praised because “no other book will give you as many big words for only a hundred rupees“. That was then. For the same price, ATBF outclasses it utterly. This is clear even on the back covers of the two books. TTCL’s protagonist merely had to “strike a balance between chimera and actuality”; ATBF’s protagonist, Radhika, is not only taken through “a cavalcade of exclusive events”, but even after she receives “the copasetic answers” (this is my new word; after much headscratching over whether it existed the internet informed me that it really does) the book is not over.

According to the back cover, ATBF is about Dr. Radhika Sharma, “an aberrant and arrogant feminist” on the outside. The book offers a frank and unembarrassed look at gender relations. Even the cover has the silhouette of a woman in pink gesturing after the silhouette of a man in a blue tie. Cutting straight to the heart of it, the book tells us that despite her feminism, Radhika attracts men so that “they felt the torch of civililization revolt between their legs” (not my emphasis). During the book’s magnificently written sex scene, Chakraborty explains the difference between men and women, showing a definite familiarity with Freud when he describes “the gap within her – the gap which epitomizes womanhood”. Women do not have torches.

The sex scene itself deserves to be quoted in its entirety (because it is so difficult to find well-written sex) but a few lines will have to suffice.

He put the tip of his thirsty tongue on her back and slithered up like a sexy snake… He descended and touching her breasts with his face reached the belly. He, with the ferocity of a caged carnivore, rubbed his cheeks on it and encircled her belly button with the tip of his tongue that was, she knew, poisoned with indomitable* passion… Next, the figure took her inside the adjacent room which, like the end of the corridor, was brightly lit but with the white luminous bulbs of true love.

*Like the Gauls.

August 31, 2008

Spreading my tentacles…in LOVE

The first time I met Aadisht he gave me a copy of Ravi Subramanian’s* execrable If God Was a Banker. Some months later on a lovely November afternoon we sat in a cafe and roared over Tuhin Sinha’s That Thing Called LOVE: An Unusual Romance…and the Mumbai Rain. We haven’t read the new Chetan Bhagat book yet, but a certain pattern seems to be developing.

So in July I thought it fitting to gift him a copy of The Saga of LOVE Via Telephone…Tring Tring by one Pankaj Pandey. But he went back to Bombay the next day and I hadn’t had a chance to read it until I came across a copy this afternoon.

It seems that capitalising LOVE and putting in some ellipses is fashionable among young writers at the moment. Hopefully this post will find takers, therefore.

Anyway. The Saga of LOVE Via Telephone…Tring Tring (referred to as LVT for the rest of this post) tells the story of an engineering student named Pankaj and his girlfriend Shikha. Pankaj’s first encounter with Shikha is described in the first paragraph of the book:

She emerged through the lane from her classroom with open hair, a tinge of lip-liner, walking next to hundreds of students, some standing right in her path. Without getting perturbed, she walked across the lawn, went to the library, returned her books, and walked back on the same path before disappearing out of sight.
It was amazing…
I have never seen a girl behave in such a different manner.

Stunned by Shikha’s (apparently unique) method of returning her library books, Pankaj feels that he has to get to know her. So he approaches her on Orkut with a friendship request.

Within ten days of my love at first sight, I had started mailing her on Orkut. For the first six days I did not receive any reply. But I was not the one to be easily disheartened. I continued to mail her at regular intervals till she was forced to enquire about me. I just wanted to be noticed by her.

Pankaj’s methods of meeting girls are brought into some sort of perspective when we learn this about his roommate Anurag:

He possessed the knack for flirting, making friends and waiting for girls outside their houses, just in front of their windows so that he could catch a glimpse of them.

Anyway, Pankaj and Shikha begin to talk on the phone and fall for each other. As Pankaj himself puts it,

I would rather say that I gradually started spreading my tentacles in love.

Yep, we have hit upon what is possibly the only book published in India in 2008 to deal with tentacle porn.

Like That Thing Called Love, every page of LVT yields new treasures that I’d love to share. But here are a few favourites:

I was in search of a book which would help me in understanding girls – their worries, anxiety, what they liked and what they hated most in boys. I went to “Crossword” where such books are easily available.

She was an obdurate sort of girl, with a quiet nature. She always seemed lost in her world. She was blunt to the core. In real sense she was a ‘scrounge’.

“was she in nemesis?” I thought several times.

Then, started my saturnine days.

Every single moment two things were uppermost in my mind – Shikha and Shri Krishna.

“Trauma has restricted the movement of life force from one to the other centre and caused the energy system to go haywire. He needs serious attention. He has become dormant,” was the doctor’s advice.

I love her unconditionally. If the situation warrants, I’ll be manqué.

What will Pankaj do in this perplexed and imbroglio situation?

There are also some amazing clothing related sections:

“Why don’t you try that parrot coloured shirt and chocolate coloured trousers? You dazzle in that combination.”

Each one of us decked ourselves to the best in swanky clothes, cool hair-style and funky looks.

I simply say “grey” because I lack the vocabulary to describe the colour of her trousers.

And then there’s Pandey’s fondness for literary quotations – one at the beginning of each chapter and a few scattered instances in the text. Included are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust and P.B. Shelley, among others. There’s a sublime moment where he quotes Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner at a time when Pankaj is especially depressed and earnestly explains that “The ice of Samuel Taylor had become my tears”.

LVT ends rather tragically, with Pankaj and Shikha parted due to circumstances. But the hundred odd pages that make up the book are only a part of the Saga of LVT. As we are informed on the last page,

This story cannot end here…
Saga of love is indicating evocative scenes of hubbub and excitement…
Wait for the next part…

I shall.

*Who I’m not related to, as far as I know.