Author: Shri Bala
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd / Daily Hunt
Cover : 4.5/5 (for the old cover with abstract outline of a girl and Taj in the background)
Title : 1/5
Blurb : 3/5
Theme : 3/5
Story : 3.5/5
Characters : 3.5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Overall : 3/5
- Sindhuja – The protagonist
- Varun – Sindhuja’s boyfriend
- Prit(am) – Sindhuja’s best friend
- Teji – Prit’s husband and a renowned pulmonary doctor
- Ranjit – ENT doctor working in Coimbatore
‘Y ? Me’ is a story that captures the trauma of 26/11 in Mumbai and some of the lives affected by this. Like many of us, aghast Sindhuja despairingly asked, ‘Why Me’ after being hit by a bullet, on the ill fated night of 26/11, only to have nightmares and hallucinations – as her best companions. Sindhuja Srinivasan, finance professional and a part time chef is hit by a bullet on 26/11, in Mumbai. She is rescued and undergoes a major surgery for survival. Her serene life takes a major jolt when she is forced to break her four-year old engagement with her fiancé.
She decides to move to her father’s hometown to start afresh. It was but natural to meet Dr.Ranjit Rajaratnam. Her life becomes a roller coaster ride filled with comical and romantic interludes. But little did she know that he is carrying his own past baggage, which is much heavier than hers is. Enigma haunts them both, as their own pasts intercept the well-oiled machine- ‘life’. She is shattered when he refuses to believe her. Will destiny bring the two of them together as a couple?
Y? Me by Shri Bala is the story of a fighter, Sindhuja. She is a finance professional with almost no interest in her field. She is more charmed by the alluring post of “chef” at Executive Hotels. Post graduation, she turns down the biggest offer a finance graduate could ever receive to visit Italy and learn the art of cooking. Everyone in her family is surprised, including her father who would otherwise take all her abnormal decisions in the stride. In Italy, she is taught by one of the most talented chefs, Andrea, lovingly called Andy, who works for the prominent Raj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. He instantly realizes that Sindhuja is one of her kind cook and would prove to be an asset to the culinary world. Her boyfriend, Varun, however, doesn’t appreciate Sindhuja cooking for other people and demeans her art.
During her return journey from Pune along with her best friend Prit, she is requested by Andy to fill in for him for the evening at the Raj Mahal Hotel. She dons her chef cap and is more than happy to cook for the guests. Being the unfortunate day of 26’November 2008, Mumbai is attacked by terrorists, mainly targeting the exotic hotels, foreigners visiting them, and the commoners. Sindhuja is one of the unlucky ones to be hit by one of their bullets even after trying her level best to escape by hiding in the storage cabinet. Fortunately, the bullet doesn’t stay in her body, leaving her with entry and exit wounds. There on, she suffers from hallucinations and nightmares; blaming herself for the death of her two helpers at the hotel, Suresh & Joel. Sindhuja’s sister Sandhya flies down from San Jose to be with her sister. Together with them, Prit and Teji give their 100% in supporting them. Strangely, Varun is no where in the picture. He is now fed up with her extraordinary skill-set and inhuman working hours. With Sindhuja’s therapy sessions beginning and her unhealthy condition reaching to the brim, they soon break-up and call-off their engagement.
Sindhuja’s therapist suggests a change of location as the best treatment for her condition. She sends her mother to San Jose and herself flies down to Coimbatore to work with her uncle. She comes across a handsome Greek God during her flight, oblivious that he too is stunned by her beauty. They steal random glances at each other, avoiding any sort of conversation. Sindhuja is unable to adjudge whether it is normal to fall for another guy within days of your engagement being called off. and even after giving it a try, it doesn’t seem to be going in the right direction. Will Sindhuja ever be able to make peace with her past and move on? Will Varun come to his senses and regret having broken up with Sindhuja? What secret does this new guy in the story have? The climax of the story sent chills down my spine and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Certain portions of the script including post-attack condition and Sindhuja’s initial few days in Coimbatore are too elaborated to hold the reader’s patience. Considering the post-attack narration, there were a lot of repeated incidences and actions performed by the characters which could have been made terse instead. There is a scope of improvement when it comes to editing as the narrations were confusing for the reader to understand which character is saying the dialogue. Grammar too can be improvised.
Shri has brilliantly picked up real-life incidences and molded them into a beautiful story. Description of the characters is one of the highlights of the book. It was done so well that I could imagine the characters living, breathing and thriving right in front of me; still in the book of course. 🙂 The story has been divided into time periods and cutely described in various languages at the beginning of the term. Decent vocabulary, excellent grammar and simple narration made the book a delight to read!
Brilliantly carved story with a pinch of reality. (3/5)
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Click here to read Shri Bala’s interview by me.
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