Feb 24, 2012

Love, Life and all that Jazz

Hmmm... another Indian Fiction to review. (If you sense a hint of disdain, read my earlier posts about BFR) so, let's get on with it... shall we?

Did you have a habit of writing a diary? I remember from my earlier years, there was this huge craze in school kids around writing diaries. Jotting down what happened on a daily basis, no matter how mundane. Those years were filled with chronicle-ing daily routine, in the hopes that some day this writing will be of a great reading material. These were also the years when a lot of diary related literature was being published. No matter who the author was or what the quality of the written material is, a lot of diaries were being published. Some of these were a really fantastic read, like Anne Frank's...even Cecelia Ahern's Love Rosie falls in the category. While others were simply really, well...lets be polite and say...not so great.

Reading Ahmed Faiyaz's "Love, Life and all the Jazz" is kind of like reading through a diary.

The novel is aimed at young crowd. Aimed at a crowd that is still dreaming about life outside the carefree world of college, who are still unsure of what to expect from "real" world. A crowd that is still trying to figure out "what’s next". The novel is a glimpse of what all is possible. and an epiphany of "Plans are futile" & re-iterating the age old "Life is full of unexpected".

The novel revolves around lives of four friends; Tanveer, Tania, Vicky and Sameer. The narrative starts a couple of days after their graduation and within a couple of pages, introduces and establishes each character. You meet the naive and responsible Tanveer, for whom the life is about reason and responsibilities to the family; the spoilt rich kid, Vicky, for whom life is about enjoying finer things in life; Sameer, with his plans and grand dreams. And Tania, the glue that holds the group together. You walk with these four through 6 years of their lives. The storyline is rather unimpressive and has all the elements of a stereotypical post college life novel. College life, love affairs, career choices, struggle to justify the need to be abroad, clashes with family due to inter-religion love, office politics, falling out of love, pinning after a break-up, marriage and post marriage chaos... the events are everyday events and they even happen in a very predictable rate and manner. So, if you are looking for an engaging read that captures your imagination and gives you something to chew on post reading...this is NOT a novel you should pick up. BUT...

Even though this is not a ground breaking novel, it has its own merits. For once, it’s not complicated. The narrative is rather straight-forward and clean, without any fancy twists and turns. It might not be spellbinding but it sure is a novel that you would not want to leave half-way. Even when you won't find hidden meanings and higher enlightenment, you will find it to be refreshing. The uncomplicated love-non love stories of the novel will make you look back at your own time after college, and all the dreams that you had of achieving greatness and glory. There are parts of the novel where you will find yourself laughing, not really at what’s written but by recalling similar events in your own life. At times the language used by the author would make you wonder whether he was referring to the dictionary or thesaurus for vocabulary, but it would surely not hamper your speed or narrative. (I'm very picky about language, being a communications trainer kind of makes it easy target, I guess)

So, What’s the culprit? The novel will prove a good read for a relatively young crowd (gosh, saying that makes me feel soooooo OLD)... I believe someone who has passed through those initial 10 years post-college...won't really find things to enjoy... It’s a fine read for the times when you want to turn to something uncomplicated and clean to read about without getting a headache or a heart-ache... and if you are a sucker for "Happy Endings". As for me… I don’t think I’ll be adding Ahmed Faiyaz to my “safe writer” list.

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