Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Another Chance

The first line of the blurb says 
"This is the story of a depressingly gorgeous woman, Ruheen Oberoi."

This line itself should have warned me. But I am nothing if a dedicated bookworm, so I plunged into the book anyway.

Its a slim book of 217 pages, and it should not have taken me more than a day to read this book. But guess what, it took me the entire seven days to plough through savour this book.

So without further ado, this is a story of star-crossed lovers Ruheen and Aditya. If  Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam met Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and produced a book, it would be this one. There is an abundance of beautiful characters with perfect bodies, hair and lips. No one in Another Chance is fat or ugly or squint-eyed, has a paunch or receding hairlines. People are always travelling to Amsterdam and England and Paris to fall in love, celebrate anniversaries, and win back lovers. So, essentially its chick-lit.

Now, I like chick-lit, infact, when authors sit down to write their romantic stories, I am sure they are writing for someone exactly like me. Ask my husband, friends or any of my family members.

But I digress again. So Ruheen. She meets Aditya in college, where he is a dedicated MBA student and she is a rich spoilt heiress who loves partying. All four of their parents are very conveniently dead.(See how cleverly the author has avoided parental conflict? Just kill 'em, I say) 

Anways, he has a crush on her for two years before he finally makes a move, and she instantly jumps his bones. Then there is a stalker who threatens Ruheen that he would kill Aditya if she meets him again. So Ruheen leaves the city without saying good-bye. Aditya is heart-broken.

She goes to Delhi, meets a good-time party guy and marries him. They move to England. He mistreats her. She runs away to Amsterdam and becomes a waitress. She meets Aditya in Amsterdam, and they fall in love again. He persuades her to move to Mumbai with him. She does, he helps her start her own baking business which thrives. 

Then Ruheen gets pregnant. Unfortunately Aditya has started doing really well at his workplace. And he has no TIME to tell Ruheen how beautiful she is and take her on exotic vacations and go clubbing with her. Naturally, they start drifting away from each other. 

And then, twist in the tale (did you ever expect it?), Ruheen miscarries in the most dramatic way. A lot of pages are spent describing their coldness to each other and how they blame each other for the loss of their baby. They decide to take a vacation to Maldives to sort things out and make sweet crazy love.

And then, right on cue, her sole living relative, her Nanaji has a third heart-attack. She goes to Shimla to be with him, where he takes his time dying for six months. There she meets her childhood crush, Varun. Varun and Ruheen began spending more and more time together, while Aditya, poor ass, is working and trying to get time to fly down to Shimla. 

After a lot of long drives with Varun, and a few stolen kisses and longing glances, Ruheen has realized that she is the 'love who you are with' sort of person that she needs to be with Varun, and not with Aditya. Because Aditya is working so bludy hard that he cannot spend more than a weekend with her. Clearly, his workplace is a prison-camp run by whip-wielding jailers.

Then comes the kicker. She flies down to Mumbai and sits down with Aditya. Then she looks at him with her beautiful eyes brimming with tears, and her long curly hair falling down her shoulders and says,

"I love you, Aditya, but I am no longer in love with you."
Oh wow, that is SO cliched it is such a perfect reason to dump someone. 

So, Ruheen leaves Mumbai, right into the arms of Varun. Aditya on the other hand loses it. He quits his job, tries to freelance and fails. Then, he suddenly goes to a remote village and starts a school.

There, Goaded encouraged by an old villager, Aditya decides to get Ruheen back. In the meantime, Varun has also decided to propose to Ruheen. Then...

Wait, I can't tell you that. That's the climax. But rest assured, its as predictable as the rest of the book.

I know its just a book, and not a very good one at that, but it provoked a few questions. Like, what if Ruheen was fat, and ugly? What if she was strong and independent? What is she was less self-centred and whiny? Would that make her less appealing? 

And finally considering that this book was written by a man (and a well educated, well travelled sort of guy), is Ruheen actually the kind of girl guys like? 

(My hatred for female type-casting is well-known; Women of Bollywood)

This review is a part of the  Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!