Book Review: You Never Know When You’ll Get Lucky!

Graduating from one of the top B-Schools of the country and then jumping onto the band-wagon of writing books and love stories at that seems not just to be a trend but a habit in India these days. Such is the story of yet another IIM graduate, Priya Narendra. You Never Know When You’ll Get Lucky! is Priya’s first book for an Indian audience after having published one in the UK earlier (the name of which I was unable to find out sadly). You Never Know When You’ll Get Lucky! is a hardcore romantic story written from the perspective of Kajal a Copywriter in an advertising agency in Delhi. Priya herself being a copywriter, many incidents, in the book, come from her own experiences.

The back cover of the book defines Kajal as a sassy, never-afraid-to-make-an-idiot-of-herself-in-public copywriter who decides to put her love life on hold to focus on her career and this is when after making umpteen mistakes to find the right guy for her, she accidentally meets the perfect man for her. It also states the choices in love she has as well as the collage of problems and difficult-to-deal clients at work. Well, for now, I’ll just say, this is one book you should not judge by it’s cover.

The Plot:
You Never Know….. is the story of Kajal, a copywriter living in Delhi and hails from Meerut. Kajal is a modern days’ girl, in her late 20’s who would prefer to get married to the guy who she falls in love with, but her mother is hell bent on getting her married off to one of her friend’s son Bunty. Kajal has a life that is too unbelievably fucked up. (It seems that either God or the author is one of her arch enemies.) She meets a guy Dhir at a wedding in Delhi, while running away from Bunty. She finds Dhir perfectly compatible for her, but can’t date him because he lives in Mumbai and it’s ‘impractical’ to be in a long distance relationship according to her. Even at work, she is the subject of all jokes in office and is not getting anywhere on the professional front. She gets into a hurried love affair with an acquaintance of hers but gradually ends up dumping him in front of his parents when she finds him to be too possessive and rather spineless. Meanwhile, she meets and makes friends with a neighbor who is famous as an accused ‘molester’ after he saves her life.

Now as luck would have it, she again meets Dhir while visiting Mumbai on an official tour and ends up stranded with him when a massive rainstorm hits Mumbai. It is then that the two fall in love and decide to give their relationship a chance. Once back in Delhi, the rest of the book revolves around how Kajal cracks a crucial ad campaign for a condom company, how Dhir and Kajal try to work out their relationship and what finally happens to Bunty when he goes down-on-one-knee for Kajal in the middle of a crowded New Delhi Railway station. I shall leave all of that for you to figure out.

The Verdict:
I was always curious about what went inside a woman’s head and Priya Narendra takes me there and makes me stay for all 231 pages of her book. You Never Know When You’ll Get Lucky! is a chick-book if that is a term. It is written by a quill borrowed from the stands of Cecelia Ahren and the Mills and Boon clan. The book is funny in parts and paragraphs but to you have to make an effort not to do a million things you would rather do than to read it through. Copywriters no doubt may be obsessed with brands but naming so many of them is unfair to the reader who has no idea about all the restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai and the clothing and fragrances that girls wear. Also, girls may like to talk in short-forms but when writing a book, one should take care that there might be guys reading it and googling is just not possible for everything. (But thanks to Priya, I now know who an MCP is or what being AWOL means.)

The characters of the book are pretty much predictable, except Bunty, and the one thing that I liked the most about the book that Priya gives closure to every sub-plot once she started it. Unfortunately, there too much of Kajal in the book to care about an other character and Kajal has been described well. The writing could have been far more formal, so that it didn’t look like I was reading a personal blog of a girl or eavesdropping on two girls gossiping about their love lives. The narration is smooth and picks pace after the initial few chapters.

Though it did not exactly work out for me, but frankly speaking, this a book that girls will surely find as a good time pass read. It’s the kind of book you pick up before a journey to kill time and qualifies for a stretch read (in case you are not carrying your iPod along.)

My Rating: 2.25/5

PS: One request to the author, please use smileys only while chatting or texting. Use words instead, to convey emotions.

The Break Up

Hello again!! Guys, I know almost all of you might have seen or gone through a break-up (I’m sorry for those in the second category) but I must say some break-ups are rather interesting, of course if you’re neither of the involved party; or for guys if the girl is cute. Well, your humble friend, here, got lucky and what I witnessed, or must I say eye-witnessed was the world’s most dramatic, ear-drum rupturing, glass-shattering, go-fuck-yourself-you-lying-asshole break-up. Phew..!! I guess that’s enough to give you guys a hint of where I’m getting at.

So here’s the story.

Chapter 1: The Couple

First things first, how I got to know the couple. The couple used to come to same gym as I, and we used to meet everyday. Not that I was a friend of either of them, and the only conversation we used to have was the occasional nod or a passing smile that made my day, of course I’m talking about the girl in question. Now, this guy, I don’t remember his name, well to be honest I never even cared to know what it might be. And the girl. Ahem! Well she’s cute, quite so. A few extra pounds, very delicate, probably extremely pampered by both this guy and perhaps her parents too. (Sorry, couldn’t help judging, it just shows on her face.) Pallavi….that’s her name, yeah. Okay! Pallavi is a typical south Delhi-bred-DPS(VK)-spoiled-OMG-its-so-hot-here kinda girl. Though I’d seen the guy in the gym before too, but he’d been coming with Palavi since the past three weeks or so. The guy, though well endowed with frightening biceps, was totally, in word, Pallavi’s bitch. He used to follow her tail, wait till the tread-mill next to hers was vacated, get her water bottle, even wipe her face with a towel. The guy, man I still can’t remember his name, was like a Duracell operated rabbit, who was instructed perhaps only to act at Pallavi’s accord. The couple never seemed to shy away from their PDA and were hottest topic of the gym grape-wine. From trainers to the people working out in the gym, the couple was greeted with a friendly smile followed by a mocking smirk. The guy used to even drop her off to her place, which was merely two blocks away from the gym, and how I know that, well I’ll get to that later.

Chapter 2: The Big Bang

Now what started the fight between the couple isn’t very clear to me, but I’m sure it was enough to end this sugar-coated, gold-plated relationship. Now when I reached the open area of the gym, used generally for weights, floor exercises and a twisting exercise with a bamboo staff  held at the back of your neck (apparently that’s my instructor’s personal favourite), the ‘discussion’ was already on. Pallavi was doing the same exercise as I just described and the guy was sitting on a bench with lots of dumb-bells around him. (Pun intended) Now as always, I was finding it difficult do any of the instructed exercises and I was merely waiting for my hour to end, when suddenly the Lord of Excitement showed His grace and I heard the golden words, “Can you shut up for like 10 minutes Abhay! I’m seriously not interested…..” Yes! That’s his name. Abhay. I sometimes amaze myself at how attentive I am when girls speak. Anyway, back to the story. Pallavi’s voice brought me back to life from the semi-limbo state that I was in. Gushes of energy ran towards my limbs and for the first time after having been a regular at the gym for about a month, sweat broke on my forehead. Energized, as I was now, I got a whole new reason to stick around. I too picked up a bamboo stick and started doing the same weird exercise as Pallavi, wondering if even I would get a chance to fling the stick into someone’s head someday. My ears, though, were magnetically fixed on the conversation going on merely five feet to my right. Abhay, donning the most innocent face that he could have made, was trying, in vain, to explain why he’d said that he was unwell and he couldn’t go to the movies with her, when someone (Sorry, I’m bad at remembering names) spotted him at a very posh mall with a beer in his hand, sitting with Sakshi. Well I know Sakshi because she used to come to the same gym too. But that was ‘before’ Pallavi joined, mind you. Abhay’s explanation, not that it mattered (to me and also perhaps to Pallavi looking at how angry she was), was that he was ‘really’ not well, but he had to go out because Sakshi was leaving for Sates the same night, for an year. I wonder why she wasn’t busy packing then! Pallavi, who is exceptionally fair usually, was now looking pink, matching the colour of her shoes and contrasting her dark purple socks. Pallavi’s answer made me fear a confrontation with a woman more than ever because her answer was actually a question that why, if he was ill, did he have to come to the gym then. Wasn’t lunch and drinks with Sakshi enough to exert him more than required for someone ‘under the weather?’

Abhay, as always, followed Pallavi’s cue and turned a slightly darker shade of pink, though the reason was probably similar to mine and add to that the obligation of having to give an answer. Word’s failed him and what I thought was sweat on his cheeks suddenly looked like saline from a different source. All he could manage was a mumble, too low for me to hear, but enough for me to know that it was a stupid answer as Pallavi reply was, “I feel like hitting you with this stick itself.” Unlike Abhay, she was loud, loud enough ring a few bells in my ears and make me realise that I was doing nothing more than holding the stick and staring at them rather than trying to conceal my interest in my exercise. Just then an Uncle walked into our area and asked Abhay if he was using the dumbbells. He could have answered the question had Pallavi not stormed out of the gym and Abhay, now as you must have guessed, followed her, leaving his towel behind. Looking at the situation, I thought a towel was probably the one thing Abhay needed the most that day, other than probably some colour for his face, which had turned pale by now. And thus, was I deprived of more action.

Chapter 3: The Dark Knight

That’s not the end, definitely no. Not without the ‘other guy’ making an entry into the story. So I was rejoined by them in the abs section, where Pallavi was actually working out while all Abhay was doing standing and staring…. then one frosty-nose look from Pallavi brought Abhay back to life, and he landed up on a ab-training machine. Maybe he thought increasing the weights might impress or atleast soften Pallavi a little, but I’m sure she couldn’t have been more ignorant. And then, as the two were about to leave the ab-section, Abhay, God only knows why, decided to pick up Pallavi’s phone. With the glint of an arrow and the speed of an eagle, Pallavi, in one swift movement grabbed the phone and the blood from his face, giving it again the pale palor that it was getting used to by now. Another exchange of whispers and stern looks couldn’t be heard by me as I prepared to leave the gym. Surprisingly enough, the story was far from over, and I was destined to get luckier, as while I was waiting for someone to pick me up, when Pallavi showed up from behind asked me for a lift. She had apparently seen me around and knew that her place would be on the way back. I was happily awed, and fate spoke for me just as my dad’s car, (chauffeur driven, yeay for that day), pulled up. Chivalrous as I am, I opened the door for her, more to flaunt to an awestruck Abhay watching from a little distance, than as a courtesy. Finally, for the first time in my life, I was the other guy!! That really made my day, and the 3 minute distance to her place wasn’t enough for much talking, but Abhay and Pallavi have not been gymming together since. That my friends was probably the end of it. I think I’ve said enough already, don’t think of me as a sadist laughing at other people’s misery, but boredom can make the most unusual of things interesting.


Yours Truly.