Book Review: Speed Breakers Volume 1 Part 1
Author: Devangini Chauhan
Story:: Akanksha Madan
Cover Design: Nikita Madan
Rating: Three and a half
Love is the most complex human emotions and, perhaps, misunderstood in our society where elders have the upper hand in sealing the destiny of their children. As a society, we have made immense in-roads in terms of education for girls and, boys to a certain extent, and achieved a lot in terms of materialistic gains, yet the decision to marry someone outside caste or religion may make all hell break loosed in the eschewed patriarchal notion of what is morally right or wrong. The rise in power of the net, read Facebook, whatsapp and Google chat has given a new dimension to falling in love and romance as if there is no tomorrow. There are so many love stories which is being played on social media where we confine the self to the net, indulging in the flirty game and give vent to passion of the heart. Loving with all our might as if there is no tomorrow.
Author Devangini M Chauhan requested me on Facebook to do a review of her first outing Speed Breakers Volume 1 Part 1 which is a semi biographic epic and it’s a story about late night chats, soul mates and pure, unadulterated love and of course, skyp-ing. It is the love story of the fiesty Punjabi Tammana Singh and her Prince Charming Ankit Gehlawat who works in London who meet through the former’s best friend who played match-making. The girl told her story to the Speed Breaker’s teller Akanksha and this is how Speed Breakers 1 took shape.
It is always difficult to put into paper a real story, semi auto-biographical in appeal, about one’s prized emotions since the narration from first person is shifted to second and third. It is a story about love, how Tammana and Ankit love blossom through skype and phone and what they mean to each other. At one glance, I’d say that the story leaves a powerful impact and ends in a mysterious manner that leaves one to not only wonder on what will happen to Tamanna and Ankit but emphatize with the characters’. In short, you are immersed into the lives of the characters so much that you want their love to triumph not matter what.
A Delhi girl from a typical Punjabi family – living the high paradox of conservative and liberal values – falls in love with a jat boy. The love story unravels online and quickly goes from time pass to serious romance status. The first in a series of three books, this one shows a headstrong girl who thinks she only needs to listen to one voice – the one coming from her heart. Find out how that turns out…
Speed Breakers is about true love and romance where Devangini has injected the right emotion, romance, sadness and friendship that builds the narration pace where one is transported into the world of Tamanna. The author uses a very refreshing, jazzy and youthful language that young Indian readers love and give us a feel about sweet nothings. The language is youthful and real since it echoes conversation in the young, urban milieu in a cosmopolitan city like Delhi. It gets naughty at times which revs up the romance quotient and the jealousy part when Tamanna goes to the designer shop to get a bare back choli, Ankit’s says, “I want to murder him.” Chauhan builds up the pace with lines that gives a colorful shape to the narration when during the havan performed at home, Tammana thought, ‘If only Mark Zuckerberg had known this trade secret, may be his Facebook shares would have seen some better days on the NYSE. As the book reaches the climate, the author brings to the fore an unexpected twist that makes the world of Ankit and Tamanna crash down. And, it’s just the beginning. The novel takes one completely by surprise and leaves an impact on one’s heart that one’s stays silent for a while. Brilliant narration.
As I said, it’s difficult to translate into words the account of the person narrating the true tale and the author has done justice to that. My issue lies with the fact that the novel starts slowly, gains momentum but at some point slows to a certain extent. Having said that, the author has woven the strings so well that the narration picks up pace again. Secondly, since it’s a real-life story, it makes it tough for the author to fictionalize things which I completely understand, though I would love the endearing uncle to be given a heroic space.
Devangini’s novel may not be a perfect read but there are certain instances that makes it endearing in painting the relationship between Tamanna and Ankit.
“Of course, I was pissed-who wouldn’t be if a guy would not reply to your friend request for three whole days?”
This line makes the interaction between both protagonists inch closer to the reality of human relationship and the initial stage of flirting and falling in love. It’s sublime. Or! Honey! take my time: playing it cool.’ Well! That’s a novel way to depart from the usual babe. Tammana uncle Pradeep is endearing and a far cry from the conservative parents, who support his niece in her quest for liberation and freedom who makes a powerful statement at the dining table: “Look at wedding nowadays-everyone wants to look like Mrs India, and every function comes with a theme.” Pradeep eschews the social critique shedding light on patriarchy and conservative rules. Or Tammana’s character where she is described as:
“..she sometimes feel disturbed,frustrated and inadequate. Yet, thanks to the conditioning offered…she knew that this was merely a side effect of the culture that was seeped in her…..To the world, here was a woman of giant proportions, with a dark complexion (almost a sin in India) to boot. What could she possibly have to smile about?? she could not care less about those people. If you want a waif like creature with pale skin, go to the movies..she laughed as she blessed each and every person who started wide at her.”
Speed Breakers Volume 1 Part 1 is a honest attempt by both Devangini Chauhan and Akanksha Madan in translating a semi-biographical account with competence and holding in sway readers, injecting light amorous moments and depicted the world of Tammana and Ankit. The moments are beautifully framed, whether the skype id which is similar to the roll number of the female protagonist or lines like, get drunk and groove to music. I believe that any book that has as background a city is already a winner and here reference is made to Rajouri Garden, Khan Market and Haus Khaus, bringing the vibrant emotions for alive. . Already waiting for Part 2 and this is I feel where the book starts. Till then, grab your copy of Volume 1 Part 1.