Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life by Ravindra Shukla

Title: A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life  
Author:  Ravindra Shukla
Publisher: Leadstart Publications
Genre : Fiction
Date:  2012
Price: Rs. 195
Pages: 383


First of all I thank the author Ravindra Shukla for immense faith in my work and sending a copy accross. It was an enjoyable read.

Snapshot:  This is the story of three friends that begins in IIT Mumbai and goes up to the "wall street". As the title suggests it is about the conflict that one goes through in choosing what the heart wants or going by the ways of the world depicted through story of three good friends and strong characters. Its not a typical love story or a triangle, its more about dream versus practicality and in short decisions of life. 

The Story & Critics Perspective: The story begins with the lead character Richita, who is the icon of a modern Indian girl. She is smart, beautiful, clear headed and yet has Indian values. She goes through an unpleasant experience in her graduation days with a guy at a party, which she escapes but only after locking herself emotionally and being closed to a lot of social contact. She therefore avoids most guys at IIT where she later joins the management program. Her focus lies in sports and studies and she excels them. 

Rahul, yet another strong character and a man who goes by his own mind and upto any length for his values. He is the change he wants to see in the cosmos. He notices her in an inter IIT basketball match and sketches her. She however annoyed initially, starts noticing him too being active in social activities and lectures on campus. Both of them become good friends and eventually fall in love. This phase of the novel is great, particularly the IIT campus life with the fun, projects and sports is something everyone can relate to and thoroughly enjoys. 

Neerav is Rahul's best friend, who is the third lead character. He is a cool guy with brains and practical outlook about life. Rahul and Richita being involved and Neerav become good friends with her too. However Richita's dad is a little concerned about his daughters future and starts looking for a suitable groom around the same time. She goes with the flow being a typical Indian girl who cant make her parents sad. Also they convince her that Rahul will be considered if he gets into an MS-PhD program with scholarship in the U.S. He almosts gets it, however his assignment submission gets delayed by two weeks as he gets busy with real life problems and social issues and all his plans are backfired. On the other hand a "so called perfect NRI" Deepak decides to marry Richita, and her parents want her to as he the "wall street millionaire". Therefore her Indian values, fathers accident, their choice being a settled  guy and Rahul's inability to match her parents expectations force her to accept Deepak.

With Rahul not being able to even finish his course that year and her parents liking Deepak, Richita has no choice but to agree with them. She marries him, moves to U.S.A and cutts of entirely with Rahul. This breaks down Rahul completely and he channels all his energies into more of social work and trying to solve issues at grass roots, related to tribals education etc. 
Meanwhile Neerav gets an admission at Stanford and moves away, leaving Rahul all alone. Richita and Neerav remain in contact for sometime however that too is lost as both get busy with their own lives. 

Deepak is a typical corporate guy, who does anything for money and as every sinner gets paid, he too looses his position in his company etc. during recession and also because of blunders he commits. Now Richita studies for a specialization and being hard working and intelligent grows into her career fast. This partly makes Deepak jealous. She tries to balance everything but Deepak is never satisfies. The heights of his greed is seen when Richita losses her first pregnancy in an accident but forgives the other person, from whom all Deepak wants is millions of dollars in compensation. She leaves him. In this part I believe the author has given a great description of life at wall street which could have been further edited, however Richita's emotions are not depicted so well, which the reader truly craves for.

Rahul on the other hand gets into trouble with local politicians, never caring about them as he knows he is doing the right thing for people. However he gets frustrated by corruption and failure despite his hardwork and gets into a lot of legal charges which pile up and eat up his time. Neerav and Richita meet at a lecture series she organizes and stay in touch. Meanwhile Nirav starts a business with a smart lady which turns out to be highly profitable and convinces Richita to join. He is in touch with Rahul on his visits to India, but that is all. Rahul gets too busy with social work and one day when he solves a great technical problem of Neerav and gets awarded million dollar for his research the headlines say " He is not Reachable". His mother just tells Neerav he has been jailed for going against some politicians while doing good public service as a part of RTI. On the other side Neerav and Richita become billionaires. Everybody believes Rahul is wasting his talent in social work.

Where is Rahul?Will he change his path towards better life or stick to his values? Will Rahul and Richita meet again and the trio unite? How will their totally different lives come to an equilibrium? For more read the book, you will surely enjoy it.

The Review!!!

Positives: The book has highlighted quiet a lot of important issues like, the drawbacks of Indian education system, a woman's conflict between Indian Values and love, the attraction of parents to NRI grooms, materialistic youth, corrupt government etc. to name a few. Language, flow etc is good. Characters very strongly defined and a reader can easily understand them without words in the later part. There are some amazing quotes and dialogues all through the story.

Negatives:  The editing could have been better. There are parts which were explained in too much detail and there are parts which really needed more detail. Also in some parts the story is narrated as first person and in some parts as third person.  Minor spelling errors are also there.

The Verdict: An enjoyable read, a must grab! 3.5 stars out of 5. Had the editing been better the story definitely would have scored more.

About the Author:
Ravindra Shukla
 is an engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He has been working in emerging technology and business analytics in IT software technology. His professional experience includes working with consulting firms – PWC and IBM in USA for 15+ years. He is a member of the Film Writers Association, Mumbai. His interest includes – writing fiction, literature and movie scripts apart from sports, movie and travelling across the globe. Author can be contacted at ravindra.shukla@gmail.com or www.ravindrashukla.com


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