Against all odds: Lovers who attempt to rediscover the past

Against all odds: Lovers who attempt to rediscover the past

By ANIRUDH VOHRA | | 9 April, 2016
Shiven and Mayuri, authors of Never Apart.
Telling the age-old story of how love triumphs all odds, even the terrible aftermath of a natural disaster, this new book seems an endearing throwback to the past, writes Anirudh Vohra.

Never Apart

Shiven and Mayuri

Publication: Stellar

Price: Rs.175

Pages: 248

 

Never Apart is a writing escapade by a husband-wife duo, Shiven and Mayuri. The book narrates the story of Sagar who finds out that his childhood love, Prakriti, who had to relocate and fell off the grid twelve years ago, has been spotted in Delhi.

Overcome by a relentless intrigue and calling, he leaves his London-wali girlfriend to see Prakriti. What follows is a tale that can be very easily turned into a Bollywood movie. The writers try to create a story that talks about how the two lovers longed for each other during their period of separation, with hope and belief keeping their souls together in spite of the distance and odds that hindered their way. 

In the words of Prakriti, “Love is not someone. Love is a feeling within you that keeps you happy. If you have it, it never deserts you. You may try to mask it but it’s always within you. Love is never someone.” The book conveys the same message that all other love stories have attempted at one time or another, to convey, ever since we humans started writing love stories. The message being, that True Love always triumphs, no matter how great the difficulties.

The book opens with Sagar sitting in a park in London playing a game of chess by himself, while his girlfriend Kinjal lies on the grass and tries to get his attention. The chapter closes with Sagar’s friend Vikash calling him and telling him that Prakriti is back in Delhi. Now, having the old spark reignited, Sagar resumes his search for the love of his life.  

The authors have managed to pen beautiful descriptions of how Sagar feels — his uncertainty coupled with excitement when he goes to see Prakriti for the first time. And soon enough, in the second meeting, the narrative rehearses the longing the protagonists used to feel for one another back in the day. It’s also important to look at the differences between our two protagonists. Sagar  is someone to whom life has been kind, while Prakriti, has had several ups and downs in her life.

Never Apart also travels in two time zones. One is the present, while the other being the past. (Now you see how this can make a perfect script for a movie!) The past, which is set in the ’90s, is when our hero Sagar first meets Prakriti and how her being a part of his life creates this lasting and huge impact on him.

The writers have treid to make this part really interesting by creating typical characters or personae we find in school days — typical next-door characters we generally see on the screen or read in popular books. The book is also trying to send you, the reader, back to your own teenage years, something that it manages to accomplish to a great extent. But then, at times it just seems a little too much.

If you are a fan of watching dubbed south Indian cinema on television, then you will surely like this book, for just like your typical blockbuster from down south, this book offers you a bit of everything. Lovers, funny teachers, weird and sweet friends, a spoilt rich kid and then a cyclone that completely changes the lives of the characters in the book.

The authors have managed to pen beautiful descriptions of how Sagar feels — his uncertainty coupled with excitement when he goes to see Prakriti for the first time. And soon enough, in the second meeting, the narrative rehearses the longing the protagonists used to feel for one another back in the day.

Our young, depressed Sagar is sort of obsessed with Prakriti (in a good way) and in order to impress her starts studying hard in school for good grades. The writers, in fact, have done well to recreate that atmosphere of puppy-dog teenage love that we have all experienced. From the exchange of love notes (which, again, is totally Bollywood) to the couple’s first kiss, the book seems like it was designed to propound and popularise the concept of teen love.

The supporting characters in the story manage to do their jobs well with just enough information that is needed to carry the story forward.

Be it Narayan sir, the newly married guest biology teacher Sujata ma’am, Prakriti’s traditional mother, or her loving and caring father, the jealous Niriksha, “spoilt brat” Ranjan, Sagar’s adamant father, and true friend Vikas — all are well justified in their own way as they seem very real and fit the story.

But soon, the flashback comes to a halt, after one of nature’s biggest calamities strikes in the form of a cyclone, which shatters and alters the lives of all the characters in the book.  The authors did manage to create the aftermath of the cyclone well up to the extent of what was needed as per the story.

Without further revealing the plot of the book, here is the overall verdict for the new authors on the threshold of the world of writing: the book is well written and manages to please the readers, if they can ignore the odd choice of words at times. The plot, though not unique, manages to keep the reader hooked. All the characters are well explained with enough backdrops that are needed to carry the story forward. With its twists and turns, the book does create a certain level of excitement and anticipation.

Finally, “Love and Life and how both are entangled or intertwined,” is what the book is basically about.

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