Book Review: I belong to the stage
Author: Karan Singh Surana
Rating: Three and a half stars
There is something breezy about love stories that make them relatable and down to earth but in today’s age with countless saccharine tales flooding the market, it compels us to separate the wheat from the chaff. Being a self-confessed campus romance lover, it’s a genre that I love reading but at the same time, many novels fall into the drudgery and routine, having read and done that. Karan Surana’s latest novel, “I belong to the Stage” avoids this pitfall for it injects a dash of freshness in a tale of love that the college-going crowd will identify with and which brings back the days of innocence and thrilling adventure of falling in love. This romance novel celebrates not only love but also friendship and as a writer, Karan Surana proves his mettle in mixing the right ingredients and bringing the characters alive to strike the right chord with the audience.
Let’s jump straight to I Belong to the Stage which starts with a difficult love between Sahil and Natasha blowing hot and cold where they eventually drift apart. Don’t be disheartened for a second chance at love is worth trying and experimenting with.
What’s a love story without bonding with friends? It remains the forte and backbone of the story where Karan lightly broaches the topic of friendship and puts to the fore a chance meeting of Sahil with this gang Sneha, Vishakha, Puja and Vikram during a unique journey and strengthening the bond. The writer deserves all credit for the narration in depicting the flawless beauty, gaze and style of the girls in an effortless manner and which is no less than Yash Chopra’s candy floss romance.
There is something unique in the book which sets it apart from the rest in the way in which the ‘cute moments’ post-break between Natasha and Sahil sashays in the form of ‘love chits’. Call it cliché but don’t we all miss those tiny moments in our past love stories and Sahil has quite a list: “All of your romantic cells are buzzing today only when you are aware that my number is roaming….Baby don’t hurt my tushy…Remember your 10,000 watt smile and your crazily beautiful eyes.”
Our hearts beat for emotions, feeling and simply love what we crave in making quite a contrast and breeding conflict on eventually dating a friend. Love can be conflicting, complex, or simply like a windy breeze. We have all been there, right falling for a friend and such emotions can kill! Here’s the caviar. Visakha and Sahil make quite an unlikely couple in this tale about love, break up, and friendship. Eventually, friends turned into lovers where the author captures the emotions with ease be it about stars aligned in a straight line, naughty one-liners, intimacy and 11 pegs.
The naughty one-liners stand out: “Keep your fucking social services to yourself. If it is for some personal service, then I can think about.” The conversation between the friends turn lovers is a dish too tempting to resist, be it cuddling, padded bro and of course stage fright replete with failings in front of a live audience to become a stand-up comedian. I belong to the Stage is about love and aspiration, read following the heart or passion which the author injects in this tale of love. An interesting aspect in the book is love marries passion coupled with Karan Surana introducing blurbs in the text is a novel way of helping to capture attention and breaking the routine that can seep in from time to time. Truly said, “Life is all about connecting the dots.”
There is a long monologue depicting the character’s second attempt at stand-up or tips on what to do or not do while performing in a crowd. It gets a tad too long and boorish at some point which is clearly not needed while at the same time slows the otherwise pacy narration.
I belong to the Stage is an attempt to rewrite the rules of love fiction or what I call college campus romance and it remains true to itself owing to the honesty and playfulness with which Karan has penned in a light manner and making it a complete page-flipping affair. It taps into the aspirations of young readers in India and injects a dash of reality on how love is an emotion that keeps us going, echoing the pulse of youngsters when it comes to love and romance. It’s the almost perfect book for the young generation and Go, Get it.