22 September 2013

Book Review - Never Mind Yaar


Author : K Mathur
Publisher : Southpac Publishers Ltd.
Pages : 220
Source : Blogadda Book Review Program
Rating : 2.5/5

About the story (Taken from the blurb):

Never Mind Yaar, a debut novel by K. Mathur, is a compelling exploration of the challenges on the one hand and the comfort and reassurance on the other, of growing up in the cultural, political and bewildering mosaic that is Mumbai. The title is an attitude – our tendency to feel defeated by the scale and nature of certain problems. Rather than meet them head on, we circumvent them with a sigh and a consoling “never mind, yaar”.
When long time friends Binaifer Desai and Louella D’Costa meet Shalini Dayal at Gyan Shakti College, a true friendship that transcends cultural and religious backgrounds is born. Louella is a Christian, Binaifer a Parsi and Shalini a Hindu.

The novel’s main plot line surrounds Shalini who has fallen for an impetuous student activist, Bhagu. Where does his desire to help the less fortunate lead him? The challenges are many – Shalini’s tradition bound family, the couple’s youth and inexperience and the travails of life in Mumbai, a city the girls love but know, is fraught with communal tension.
This edition of Never Mind Yaar is for India where explanations of Indian words and phrases are redundant.

About the characters:

The book introduces you to a host of characters that lack in depth. I will only list a few significant ones here:

Shalini Dayal is a devoted daughter of the affluent Dayals whose life’s decisions are controlled by their dominating and traditional Indian grandmother, Mem.

Louella D’Costa and Binaifer Desai are Shalini’s friends at Gyan Shakti College. They conspire to play cupid for Shalini and Bhagu.

Bhagu, studying with the three girls at Gyan Shakti, is an impulsive activist and love interest of Shalini.

Chacha is the infamous canteen owner at Gyan Shakti.

There is also a Chauffeur for Shalini’s car whose duty is to drop her at and pick her from college.

Other characters are Dr. Naakwa – professor at Gyan Shakti, Shalini’s parents, Kusumji – Bhagu’s aunt, Chachi – the evil chacha’s wife.

My opinion of the book:

They say one should not judge a book by its cover. But they also say first impression is a lasting one. “Never Mind Yaar” is on the disappointing side when it comes to the look and print. A lack of justice with the cover design and also with the dull, tiny font is pretty evident.

When I started with the story, one aspect that totally pleased me was the narration of circumstances and locations. Mathur’s account is delightfully detailed and verbose. It builds a very clear picture in the eye of your mind as you read. An absolute beginner can find the vocabulary a little testing, but one can always have a dictionary as an aid.

Albeit all the wonderful description, the plot is very slow. Dialogues are droning and repetitive and make the characters seem younger than their age. It takes some efforts to persist beyond the first forty pages. Almost all the characters lack substance. Bhagu is an exception, though. He has come out really well. Also, worth commending is that piece of dialogue in the debate. Point well made by the author.

The story looks more like a light-hearted Bollywood college romance. However, the writing style makes it appear a little developed. I felt Mathur could have done more justice with Louella, Binaifer and the trio’s friendship. The college life could have been shown in a little more detail and momentous way. Also, in my opinion, Mathur lacked in justification of the title. Blurb says that the title is an attitude; however, it is not demonstrated in the plot in fair amounts.

Mathur has given a nice end to the plot that leaves you with a goody feel. It will give you an insight into the thought process of youth belonging to varied ethnic backgrounds. Overall, this teen literature is a very slow and average read.

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