The cover page looked quite unimpressive and the blurb although spoke of profound word like ‘resonance’ (guys dealing with Physics would certainly love it), yet, in a nutshell it turned out to be another book based on the lives of three IIT graduates. Yes, you must be thinking of an eerie resemblance with Chetan Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone”… I also got the same hiccup when I was offered to review Ravindra Shukla’s new novel “A Maverick Heart: Between love and life”. But, after some casual web-search when I found that most of the readers were more or less satisfied with Ravindra’s work, I agreed to review the book.
As the title suggests, “A Maverick Heart: Between love and life” is a tale of love and life only, nothing more or no less. Now, if you’re looking for Bollywoodish love and candy sex in a tale of love then I’m afraid my friend, you’ll be utterly disappointed. By tale of life if you can only fantasise slum-dog millionaire then also your high hopes would be shattered! “A Maverick Heart: Between love and life” is actually a realistic decade long journey of three friends who hold different priorities in their lives but coincidentally share one feature, ‘maverick heart’. Our ‘genius but emotional’ socialistic protagonist Rahul, an ex-air-force pilot’s son, after prestigious graduation from IIT Bombay decides not to part with his homeland unlike other cream minds and do his part to cure the polluted socio-eco-political scenario of India. He fell in love with good-looking Richita, a politically influential professor’s daughter, more importantly an orthodox father’s obedient daughter! So, it’s not surprising to find some heartbreaking pragmatic melodrama when Richita relocates to US for a high paying job. Noh, don’t expect me to tell you the ultimate fate of their love story, you got to read the book for that. The third friend, Neerav, who hails from an affluent business background, sees things, rather prefers to execute things more practically in the conventional way. But his goal-oriented mindset or goggles of capitalism doesn’t stop him from turning up for his best friend Rahul when he needed his support. By now you must have understood that I’m not going to spoil your craving with a spoiler for this almost 400-page book, but I’ll finish this plot-talk with the reminder that, the story revolves around these three main characters encompassing their college days, interactions, moments, transition phase and professional lives in most non-dramatic settings and non-surreal angles!
Ravindra Shukla was smart enough not to miss out the ‘hotdog’ keywords of the hour like US corporate life, recession and young India movement (thinking of Revolution 2020?). The real essence of this book lies in the conversations among its characters which are highly nutritious cookies for thought. They’ll professionally tease your judgement, reasoning and philosophical centres of brain – e.g. “Ignoring somebody’s mistake in life from a powerful position makes you a saint, but the same act, if carried out from a weak position, will make you a coward or helpless”, or, “Beauty lies in one’s heart and sex lies in one’s mind. It all depends on where your belief lies.” I could conspicuously feel the author’s craftsmanship in rendering distinct silhouette, correlation and connotation to his characters’ lives, decisions and fates!
Though I acknowledge Ravindra’s consistency of ideas and principles throughout this book, at times, I must admit, I got bugged up by redundant details which could be very easily avoided. Frankly speaking, taking up a ‘383 Pages’ new read itself is a challenging thought and I’m not yet ready to take the pain of swallowing IIT campus life, predictable romance, family interference, Silicon Valley Vs Wall Street, lots of American folklore and at last purification of Indian socio-political dilapidated infrastructure. Yet, if you have patience and spirit to taste this ‘slightly different’ work I’ll recommend you to try “A Maverick Heart: Between love and life”.
My rating for this book: - 6/10