“There are two types of stories. One, where you sit up and say “This is so me.” Second, when a story takes you to a world you would hardly believe exists.”
Saumya Kapoor’s story is of the latter kind, says Sachin Garg, author of I’m not Twenty Four...I've been nineteen for five years. It chronicles the experiences of city-girl Saumya, who, ‘cursed’ with a unisex name, lands up in the god-forsaken village of Toranagallu because she was mistaken to be a boy by the HR team of Lala Steel, her employer (and her first ever job).
So go to Toranagllu she does, after a lot of whining, denial, and finally acceptance. Once she reaches there, she realizes that having a unisex name is the least of her problems. Toranagallu is a village with no coffee shops, multiplexes or good-looking eye candy. She also realizes that all the crazy shopping she did during her last two days in Delhi were a complete waste, because she has to wear a uniform, like the rest of the employees at the company! Worst of all, she has to work in the Safety Department of the company. So she has to come to terms with seeing severe acid-burns, severed limbs, and all sorts of hazards. She almost runs away, but then decides to stick it out, because she doesn’t want to be known as the city-girl who quit. Also add to this a romantic angle with the intriguing and mysterious, gypsy-like Shubhrodeep Shyamchaudhary, and that’s I’m not twenty four for you.
Ok, now for the review. The story is good. By now, we have had thousands of MBA graduates churning out books by the dozen with pretty much the same story- hero/heroine, life in B-school, corporate life, good/bad boss, stroke of inspiration, girlfriend/boyfriend etc. I was starting to wonder whether simply joining for an MBA would ensure that I would eventually write a book somehow or the other. (Is ‘writing’ one of the courses they teach in the MBA course? Genuine doubt). Sachin Garg manages to take a slightly different route, thankfully. Yes, essentially, it is still about an MBA graduate and her job, but the job and the atmosphere here are very different. He takes us out of the plush AC offices and into a steel plant in a tiny little village. He describes a world that is very difficult for many of us to fathom (just as he’s promised in the synopsis).
He hasn’t cluttered up the narrative with too many characters and sub-plots. He has kept it simple. Also, the USP of the book is that it is written from a girl’s point of view, i.e., Soumya’s. I’m not sure if he has done complete justice to it, but yes, a decent job.
But, just as how at the heart of every Bollywood movie is a love-story, at heart, I’m still a Grammar Nazi. And the Grammar Nazi in me was very very VERY disappointed with the typos and grammar mistakes. Were the editors watching Bigg Boss while editing this?? At one place, he’s written ‘shows’ for ‘shoes’- TWICE! And ‘struck’ for ‘stuck’. These were just a couple of the mistakes. I was somehow not very impressed with the language. The words just did not jump out of the pages and grab my eyeballs, if you know what I mean. You don’t? Ah well… I’m not saying you have to write in flowery language to be labeled a good writer, but they did not have an impact.
So yes, while I liked the basic story and the narrative, the ordinary (for lack of a stronger word) language and poor editing kinda put me off. Over all, I would give it 2.5/5. Go for it if you aren’t a Grammar Nazi like me.
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