Yesterday, a colleague was mentioning about a poster in our office with this quote. At midnight it was proved by Amit Varma. I finished reading the book My Friend Sancho. Autographed by him and you can read the tale of that misadventure here. I was fairly cynical when I read over and over in Amit's blog about the book being a love story. I for one didn't associate his writing with love. I was expecting a lot of humour (there is lots and the book contains several laugh out loud moments) and a lot of libertarian view points (a smattering of it and pretty well meshed into the story). What I got in the end after reading the book was a strong empathy for Abir, the protagonist. I was in his position and tensed which of the three endings he imagined would happen.
The protagonist is someone I can deeply associate with. I suspect many other 24 year olds would do the same. He is single. Confident. Loafs around at work. Reads blogs and specifically Inda Uncut. Very cynical. Uses sense of humour as his defense. Writes to make a living. Eats out and loves going to exotic restaurants. Starts drinking beer and graduates to vodka (in the same sitting mind you!).
Small caveat: Too many references to India Uncut. Made me squirm a little.
The novel has several moments about things we would like to do but never actually does. For instance, breaking the bosses spine so that he never has sex again in life. At hindsight, I could say that such instances may be one too many in the first half of the book. There are so many laugh out moments which just comes out of the blue. I was laughing my ass off in the portion where heart beats the shit out of brain, climbs the rope ala WWE, and lands a diving elbow drop on brain. A lot of such goofy anecdotes are scattered in the book, which makes reading very pleasurable.
The book could have imploded due to the magnitude of issues that are present. Amit does well in focusing on the protagonist, his world, and most importantly his relationship with Sancho, his love interest. All the other things are happening in the background with some said and some unsaid, left to the readers imagination.
One could argue that the plot is a bit implausible. But this is certainly not a bollywoodish fare, where the most incredulous things happen. Unexpected turns in life often changes ones destiny. There is even an interesting discussion on the interpretation of such unexpected turns.
A disappointing aspect. Too little of the lizard. I was hoping for much more.
Superb effort. Highly recommended book. Even if you don't (m)any books, I think everyone would enjoy it. At different levels. It beats Keep off the Grass for the top spot in my list of best new generation Indian novels.
I am still laughing at the following part and pretty certain this would happen to me:
Sancho and Abir are spending a romantic evening at home. Music is flowing. Sancho asks Abir, "Can't you play something softer?" Abir is shocked. "What! You don't like Metallica?"
P.S: The links of the books are to Flipkart. You can get a good discount there. The delivery is also prompt and trouble free. The place I usually buy books from.