Monday, 14 July 2014

And We Remained by Asad Ali Junaid: a review

Remember you college days? How much fun can engineering college be? What about your feeling when you’re principal gets you arrested and files a FIR on your name for doing NOTHING? Want to know about the Dappan Kothu? And We Remained by debut author Asad Ali Junaid is just the book for you if you want an answer to all the previous mentioned questions.

As on the cover- It is Bangalore in the late 1990’s. There are trememdous socio-economic and cultural transformations taking place as a result of liberalization. How would these changes impact the thinking of a group of friends in their late teens? How would they cope, find opportunities and what of their original identities would they be left with, after western ideologies are brought in and bombarded into their awareness by cable TV? Told through emails and first person account of events, And We Remained is a light and entertaining read of these friends as they experience love, heartbreak, prison, politics, drunken binges, strip clubs, sexcapades, US and Europe during their journey into adulthood.

The first striking feature that caught my eye was the cover, the black and white combination in it and the name of the book. Sahir, Sandeep, Wardha, Gopal, David, Anand, Engineering, Sex, US, Philosophy are the works which mostly strike out from the cover, demanding immediate attention and after reading the book, one surely knows why.

Before moving on to the story, I would like to congratulate the author for moving ahead with this unusual venture and publishing at on his own stake. And I must say, the author doesn’t disappoint. Now coming to the story! Well, I don’t think I can actually term it as a story. For me, it is a testimony of events! Events of all their lives.

Another thing I loved about the book was the narrating style of the book. Off late, I haven’t been a witness to such a drastic narrating style. The two ways of the narration was wonderful. The past from everyone’s point of view and the present through emails. I specially loved the concept of the email exchange.

If I talk about my favorite character, I would want to mention David here. I had simply ‘fallen’ for his character. Applause to the author for being able to give all the characters equal importance yet retaining his focus on Sahir and Wardha.

The book also described friendship in a very pure way, through fun. The epilogue is something which leaves the readers agape. That was the masterstroke by the author. Finding a drawback for the book was really tough for me but nonetheless, when I finished the book, I felt that a bit more to the book could’ve done no harm, for which I would rate the book 4.25 out of 5.

This story is really an absorbing one told differently….

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