College and University days are like a piece of paradise that remains etched in our memory forever. Grains of more nostalgia added when college you went turns out to be a reputed one. You often relive those unforgettable moments by visiting your alma mater every now and then, meeting your classmates periodically, opening your college diaries or viewing carefully-preserved albums/videos. Where is My Story? The JNU Way by Tulika Dubey, is one such books that takes you back to your college days and gives you feeling of euphoria over those bygone moments.
Set in an alternative planet – Jawaharlal Nehru University – the book recounts story of a academically bright village girl who has a fetish for literature. Listening to her heart and desperate to come out of four walls of her house, she opts to study a B.A language course in JNU instead of going for Engineering or Medical course, and of course against her family’s wishes.
Elated at new found freedom in the campus and without loosing sight of her goal, she does all sort of things that which she could not have done had she stayed at her village. She makes friends, she becomes modern, she drinks, she goes to boys’ rooms, falls in love, gets physical, experiences heart break, realises mistakes and moves on. The plot may sounds familiar but what is unfamiliar is the context and the way she narrates the story.
Though the story centres around the lead character Prerna, the author gives enough spaces to other characters. It is a story where every character including the lead one appear to be villainous but as Prerna realises towards the end, all of them are villains in each other’s eyes but in reality there are none. What left are only perspectives. It is like the thief has his reasons to steal, and the police has his reason to arrest him.
The plot deviates from traditional story lines that are hero-heroine types. Written in a crisp English and in an elegant manner the book is a page turner by all means. The plot is so engaging that you are likely to finish the novel at one go. The author does not neglect her alma mater in the story. In the pretext of telling her story, she adequately describes the scenes of class-rooms, civil service stuff, cafes, hostel life, Dhabas etc. in a way that perfectly blends with storyline.
I find no serious flaws in the book. I ordered my copy through Amazon. There are some printing errors – some sentences were overwritten over others. The book seems to be self-published. I also expected more humours and jokes while ordering the book, but certainly not disappointed with what I got. I also feel the title of the book could have been better.
Finally, it is one of those books you can close the reading with a smile on your face. While reading the book you will find yourself in one of the characters and feel like you are in the campus with him/her. A delightful read for everyone though girls are more like to enjoy and feel inspired.
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