6 Dec 2011

I'm Not Twenty Four.. I've been Nineteen for five years

I recently read the book 'I'm Not Twenty Four.. I've been Nineteen for five years', written by Sachin Garg. The cover page of the book was something that caught my attention. It has this pic of a girl's legs adorned by red stilettos and clad in slim fit jeans. An image that shouts, 'chick lit'. But it couldn't be one, this is written by a guy! My initial scepticism turned into amazement as I drifted through the pages of this beautiful book.The author promised to tell a story that will take us to a world which is hard to believe in. That is exactly what Sachin Garg has succeeded in doing. He has delivered a beautifully crafted, engrossing story in 200 something pages.

INTF is the story of a girl, Soumya Kapoor, an MBA graduate from Delhi who loves her shopping sprees, malls and handsome guys. The story begins with her getting a job offer from Lala Steel Ltd, a much sought after steel manufacturing company. She is shocked when she comes to know that she has been posted in a remote village in the heart of Karntaka - Toranagallu!
In Toranagallu, Soumya along with her college mate, Amit (whom she dislikes for various reasons) meets Malappa, another new employee. Soumya strike up a good rapport with the talented and smart Malappa. Her first assignment in the company is in the Safety Section as a part of the Reaction Team. Her job involved taking evasive action in case of an accident and informing the relatives of the employee about the incident- a very emotionally taxing job that she grows to hate. Soumya had to witness several gory accidents on field that makes her crumble under pressure. Another unanticipated incident at the company makes her life there, unbearable. She has to make a crucial decison- quit the job or stand up and meet the challenges head on.

It is at this point that her relation with Shubrodeep Shyamchaudhar, a mysterious Indian hippie, develops. Soumya met him during her initial days at Toranagallu, during a trip with Amit and Mallappa. An IIM graduate, Shubrodeep has a different view on the world and relishes his nomadic lifestyle. Soumya falls in love with this charming and handsome Bengali, who never stays in a place for more than 90 days.Shubrodeep comes to live with Soumya at the township. But Soumya doesn't reveal her emotions for him as she fears that it might break her heart even more when he moves on after three months. From there, the story of Shubrodeep and his relation with Soumya unfolds and takes unpredictable twists.

The character that caught my attention is that of Shubrodeep. The author has developed the character in detail. His philosophies and carefree lifestyle really got me addicted. But the blog posts of Shubrodeep was a bit disappointing. I was expecting it to be a bit more colorful and interesting, coming from a guy as interesting as Shubrodeep. The character of Soumya also lacked detailing.

The author could have written the story from a third person view or from a guy's perspective. But he chose to write it from a girl's view. A very brave attempt for a first time author. At places he has failed in capturing the depth of emotions but that doesn't make it least bit ineffective.The prologue about meeting Soumya on a bus journey, reminded me of Chethan Bhagath's style of writing. Sachin is yet another young Indian author who doesn't try to bog you down with a lot of literary devices and techniques. He told a beautiful story in simple and effective language.I would give this gripping story eight on ten. A must read for everyone who likes an easy, refreshing and unpredictable story.

After reading the book, I couldn't help wondering, what is this title about?? The only relation I find with the story and the title is that the protagonist is 24 years old. But she never complains about it! Then why did the author choose such a title? A question that will keep me guessing.. :)

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