Honestly, I was never a fan of Indian writers. Having grown up on Danielle Steel and Jeffery Archer, I always found Indian authors to be not up to the mark. Well, I was no one to judge I know, but I do have the right for an opinion. Chetan Bhagat managed to change my mind when "Five Point Someone" came along. But I was soon back to square one after his next. I had turned cynical and refused to pick up another book from an Indian author. My next experiment was "You Are here" by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan. Two chapters into the book and I couldn't bear it anymore. "Almost Single" too had the same effect on me, except the fact that I stopped at two pages instead of two chapters. "Two States" was the last Indian author book that I read. And I was determined to keep it that way.
When I decided to toy around with the idea of writing a book myself, I wanted to check what was it about Indian writers that irked me so much. I might be one of them someday, so I decided to silence the cynic in me and explore. Apart from Bhagat, the first successful Indian author who came to my mind was Ms. Preeti Shenoy. I had been following her blog initially, but then it started getting on to my nerves. It was all about how talented she is and how slim she is in spite of her having two kids. Then started a photo spree of her paintings and portraits. Every link in her blog redirected to an e-commerce site where we could buy her books. Having had enough with her blog alone, I refrained myself from clicking on it.
When I won a Flipkart voucher at a blog contest, I decided to buy some Indian author books and see if my opinions would change or not. I ordered "Tea for two and a piece of cake" by her and "Two Fates" by Judy Balan. I started "Two Fates" first. But the number of times the characters had sex in the first five pages, made me take a break from it. From reading it, I mean. So, that's how I started "Tea for two and a piece of cake". I liked the simple language used, the limited characters and most importantly, the realistic story. I was flipping page after page, and within two days I was done with the book and I had a big smile on my face.
Lets talk about the book first.
Title: Tea for two and a piece of cake
Author: Preeti Shenoy
The gist: Nisha is a plump plain jane kinda girl who doesn't have a mother or a good relationship with her father. Nor a boyfriend. She is swept off her feet by Adonis looking Samir who happens to be her boss. She marries him and has two children. After eight years of marriage, Samir decided to call it quits. For reasons vital to him.
What are the reasons? What happens to Nisha next? This forms the rest of the story.
My Take: I could not identify myself with Nisha at all. But I could understand and feel for her. That's a winner right there. Preeti Shenoy makes Nisha lovable and real. It could be any of us in her place. Samir might be a bit over exaggerated, but so are most men these days. The story flows smoothly and I loved the toggle between the past and the present using Nisha's journals. Her decisions to move on by herself pleased the feminist in me. And the idea of a business with her best friend, was believable too.
The best friend being in love with her much before Samir came into her life, baffled me. Too cliched perhaps. I would have liked to know more about the silent relationship that Nisha shared with her father. Its hardly mentioned in the book. Along with the love story, this simple relationship too would have added more weight to the book. And the fact that she was so lost in her life after having her kids, that she ignored her husband, seemed to go right past me. How could she not recognize the signs?
Apart from these, I think that it was an overall good book. There is a reason why Preeti Shenoy is publishing her fifth book now. She's good at what she does, and she has earned the narcissism that she dwells in.
Verdict: Definitely worth a read. Neat take on a real, simple story. The story stays with you for a long time.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Indian writing has improved a lot now. Less masala and more importance is given to the story. Of course, I'm basing my judgement on this book alone, but it did come as a welcome surprise to me. I'm looking forward to read more of them and hoping to be awed.
I'm currently reading "Frankly Spooking" by my dear friend Sriramana Muliya and "Two Fates" side by side. I shall put up the reviews once I'm done with them. Pray for me.