Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
The idiom “Never judge a book by its cover” fits Himanshu Rai’s My Mute Girlfriend (Srishti Publishers & Distributors/ Rs 199) to the bill. I must confess, when I first received the book with the request from the author to review, I was not much impressed. The cover photo looked too filmi, too artificial. Being a voracious reader, I usually begin reading a book the moment I get it. But this book, I kept aside for future reading. I couldn’t have been more wrong for finally when I picked it up, I couldn’t put it aside. I read the book almost in one go. Yes, it is that rivetting.
Rai has done full justice to the love story. He also wrote about a number of crucial issues but even dwelled on the negatives aspects of those. However, he didn’t let the story immerse in negativity. Like he writes the infatuation the protagonist Rohan Verma has for Navya, his junior in school, but doesn’t indulge in turning the episode into an obsession or stalking as we normally read in newspapers.
He brought up the issue of inter-caste marriage — through his sister’s affair with Anuj — but gave it a happy ending rather than talking about the enmity arising out of such a union within the two families as most authors do.
The book, reminiscent of college days, will surely strike a chord with the young college-going crowd. You can identify with the classroom scenes and the happenings in the hostel with ease.
The story begins with Rohan, a telecom professional posted in Meerut, who is out on an assignment when he receives a message from his girlfriend from college days, Vaidehi, who had stopped talking to him, without giving any reason during the third semester of his engineering degree course in RK College, Jabalpur. But before he could reply, his mobile gets damaged. He then goes down the memory lane and narrates his life story — how he made friends with Vaidehi, how Vaidehi’s love made him forget Navya with whom he had fallen in love while in school. Though considered as a haughty and egoistic girl by all collegemates, Rohan knows that she is actually a sweet and loving girl. Why then does she stop talking to him all of a sudden, is something beyond his understanding. All the old memories come rushing back as Rohan tries to locate her number and location and connect with her. When he finally meets her, he gets the rudest shock of his life…
What had happened? Well, you got to pick the book and discover for yourself.
My Mute Girlfriend is a first person account of the author who has managed to etch out different characters, be it the family members of Rohan or sundry character in the college and school, giving typical nuances that separate one from the other. At some places though, the scenes look too bland, and the dialogues too mundane.
Why I like the book particularly is because there are no villains and vamps, no negative characters making the life of either of the two protagonists hell. The author has written about the eternal goodness of human souls, something in which I too have full faith. People are inherently good, why portray them in bad light?
One thing though: It would have been better if the author had hired a good editor to edit the book, for the grammatical and spelling errors are one too many and hamper the flow of the book.