February 13, 2018

Book Review: Just Friends? by Sumrit Sahi

Just Friends?
Author: Sumrit Sahi
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 2/5

There comes a point in our lives when we find the other half of the puzzle in form of our best friend, our life partner or our soul sister/brother. But isn’t this a clich├ęd belief? We have watched and loved many movies based on the same concept and it pains my heart to realize that the Indian Literature is headed the blind alleyway with stories based on the same old idea. ‘Just Friends?’ is old wine offered in a new bottle. The sour taste of the story and the feeble plot sends the taste (read ‘reading’) buds on a detour.

Love is unconditional; love is sublime. It is difficult to understand when one is struck with the cupid’s arrow and by the time one realizes, it is mostly too late. But this happens in the cloud-cuckoo land. In the real world, the rat race doesn’t permit one to love and explore the feeling. It fades with time. And that is where the books offering whimsical stories win our heart. But Just Friends fails to pass the muster.

The mushy love tale of best friends first came to light when ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ was released. And with that, the trend of such stories crept in. However, ‘Just Friends’ simply fails to impress owing to poor narrative and the lack of strong storyline. The story traces the lives of four people- Aryan, Boza, Tanie and Sumer. With the bountiful use of full stops (pauses), the hurdles in reading seem never-ending.

The story begins with Aryan falling in love with Ishita and thus, ignoring the feelings of Boza, his best friend. Amidst aggravating monologues and confounding conversation Aryan and Ishita break up and Boza, ignoring how Aryan had pushed her feelings in the corner, tries her best to cheer her best friend. The second parallel story is that of Tanie, who is in love with Rehaan, and Sumer, who is forcibly continuing his inequitable love. Both Tanie and Sumer suffer from heartbreak. It is not rocket science to predict what happens next. The author has connected both the stories and has offered an unrestricted climax.

It comes as a disappointment when a nationally acclaimed writer pens down something as frivolous as this piece of literature. With almost nothing to ponder upon and absence of freshly brewed content, this story is a setback. Nevertheless, Rupa doesn’t fail to impress with fine-tooth comb editing.

Apparently, it is the need of the hour for all the aspiring authors to think out of the box and write on something other than college romance before the genre becomes redundant. They should realize that writing book is an art and not compulsion. How bluntly they mention in acknowledgement that they are grateful to the readers for making them rich! Is this what all it takes to inscribe your thoughts on a piece of paper?

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