Book Review: all the best, baby
Author: Karan Singh Surana
Rating: Two and a half stars
“It’s better to kill the misunderstanding before the misunderstanding kills the relationships.”
There has been countless tales of campus romance on the Indian market during the past decade since Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone..has changed the way we look at literature or Hinglish for that matter. There are a bevy of authors spurning the tale of love, romance and break up. What makes the authors tick is the connection they make with the audience who identify with the journey, characters, emotions and the entire premise. I believe that romance in college is here to stay and what makes the journey worthwhile is how you narrate your story. When Karan Singh Surana contacted me for the review of ‘all the Best baby’, I willfully agreed since it’s my favorite genre. All The Best Baby takes off on a very interesting and rather unique premise, a long distance love story between two protagonists belonging to two different castes. It’s all about romance. Has the book been able to garner the interest and engross the readers from start-to-finish? Let’s sit and dissect.
Sahil Surana had just found his true love, Natasha , when his parents started looking for a bride. In order to foresee a future together he takes a random decision to pursue M.Tech, far away from Kolkata. In the University he comes face-to-face with tainted souls and is embraced in the company of phenomenal friends leading to all kinds of reality checks and compelling episodes. Amidst all the fun and romance, Natasha breaks up with Sahil, not once but twice! Will justice be served at the University? Do Sahil and Natasha cease to exist? There is only one way to find out…
The novel is set in Noida at Orion Campus that could have been a hip and happening college in urban India. all the best baby is the love story of Sahil Surana, a Marwari Jain and Natasha Singh, Bihari Rajput who are in a difficult and complex long distance relationship. To complicate matters, the protagonists are aware of the caste differences that their respective families doggedly pursue. The problem lies in the fact that it takes a long time for the story to hit the cudgel and reaches the momentum only towards the end. A little too late, I’d argue. There is no denying the fact that when the momentum is reached, it’s fantastic with the entry of the villainous Girish Uncle, hell bent to destroy the relationship or the point when Sahil and Natasha break up. The author deserves credit for pulling it off towards the end when one can feel the pain of Sahil. However, it affects the flow of the story, right from getting acquainted with Sahil, Natasha and the side kicks in hostel or college.
However, Karan Singh Surana manages to injects humor with the girls insisting, ‘Humko toh peeni peeni hai’ which is cute or Sahil teaching Julesh, the Bihari character a lesson with ‘Ka ho Julesh Bhai, ka kaarat ho aaj kal.’ One will identify with the sequences during the memorable college and hostel days which seems like yesterday only. The parting of the college friends, Sahil, Sneha and Upasna tears the heart when one realized that college life is over and feels that life has stopped abrupt, not knowing whether we will ever meet the ones we carved life time memories with. It bears an long lasting impact on us. Moreover, the graphic illustration of the hostel room is quite a novel concept in a book.
The relationship between Sahil and Natasha should have been explored better in tapping the nuances of the individuals and at times, I feel that Natasha is an invisible girl, making a blink-and-eye appearance. For instance, occasional break up, conflict and pain should have been further explored to keep it engrossing. While the character G is at times hilarious, it does fail with inference to the 12-feet penis or the character Pankaj made a scape goat on his fixation for porn and intercourse. It appears forced.
All said and done, Karan Singh Surana ‘all the best baby’ carries an underlying message of patience, reaffirming the belief in love-don’t we all breathe in this magical feeling-and echoes the caste hypocrisy which is rampant in society. The book which is semi-fictional is filled with good intentions and the concluding note gives the impression that a sequel is on the way.Hope, he picks the thread from there and don’t lose the momentum that has been set towards the climax. Though, I have come up with a honest appraisal of what didn’t work in the narration, the climax is tight and weaved in an engrossing way. Hope the author will keep the pace in the second coming and win more hearts than he did in his first outing. His pen has potential in telling a beautiful love story and exploring the emotional expression as showcased in parts of the novel. ‘all the best baby’ is a one time read, if you lap rom-com and campus novels.