Book Review – A Maverick Heart Between Love and Life by Ravindra Shukla
By Sucheta Sinha
Fiction world today deals with 200-250 racy love story and obviously this is based people demand and choice. A maverick heart between love and life is of 383 pages, I still opted for this book – based on sample chapter reading (totally awesome the way Rahul defends Richita back-ground and blast others. Another part – where clarify difference between logic and imagination). I would highly recommend everyone to read it in one go, so a lot your time for this piece. Do not read in parts. The best environment to read this book is while journeying in train or bus. It will be an excellent read then. The book was been selected by Penguin Publishers but because of some issues, author turned over to Leadstart. An unfortunate step but then, such mistake happens in a debut novel. The author Ravindra Shukla is an Engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He has been working in IT software technology. He has worked with PWC and IBM in USA for 15+ years. No wonder I was impressed by his profile – Expert in data analytics/emerging technology, an iitian and then mind blowing sample chapter.
Story revolves around three young kids- Rahul, Neerav and Richita with different family backgrounds with different approaches yet forming a formidable combination of friendship. But life is not about just three of them. It involves so many near dear surrounding. Life has some different plans for them. Their logic, practicality, emotions clashes against their surrounding and all them get parted away. Being in the same IIT campus, meeting each other and befriending, they feel that their life is perfect. They love their college life a lot until Richita’s family intervenes.
Rahul’s uncompromising and passionate involvement in areas he chooses goes beyond definition of practicality.
“If we had always thought from a so-called practical angle – we would’ve never had anything new in this world. We would’ve hidden under the security of practicality and taken no risk, we would have never discovered heart transplantation as a new possibility, we would’ve never thought curing cancer patients a possibility, and we would’ve never discovered a new galaxy in the universe. Taking the cover of practicality is more or less like hiding under the cover of security for fear of failure.”
Logic makes it difficult for everyone to stay with him. World believes in logic and he believes in imagination. Obviously there will be clash. This is just start after setting up the three main characters. Plot picks-up movement after basic character setting. The book covers journey of almost a decade- 1996 to 2004.
Sample chapter you can read at this link – http://www.ravindrashukla.com/p/blog-page.html
Another reviewer writes at goodreads.com –
Language is very simple without any pretense of literary (a very fluent and good English). Yes, I get very few opportunities where I get to say that I got to learn something from author’s language and this, fortunately, lands up in this good category. He has not used same sentences and emotions to express the events that we get to witness in almost every book. He has his own unique style which makes it evident that the author has talent to write. The way he has embedded lots of issues in a single story is appreciable. I got to learn so much from those parts. IIT’s stories are abundant in market but still this is featured in its own artistic way. I can easily say that I will pick Ravindra Shukla’s work next time I’ll see it in market.
It is good to know that author is not hiding behind meaningless vocabulary, but clear and simple for direct message. Beauty lies when you can accomplice great message in simple words. Book is full of such dialogues/messages/quotations.
Three characters have been covered in detail starting from campus life/educational world to corporate world and social world and culminating to social political revolution and innovative success and meaning in Wall-street and Silicon Valley. There are many characters, plots and sub-plots (Richita parents, Rahul mother, Deepak, Roy’s, Neerav, professors, social activist etc), author has succeeded in defining everyone’s character uniquely that attaches us to each one of them. My favorite character of the book has been of Richita’s because it is too real to be called a fictional character. 🙂
Richita father diary, Rahul letter to Richita (dream sequence), Neerav part of story for his early love are so natural that they make you feel author has lived those parts in real life. The interaction of children with professors in a party-kind-of-gathering is amazing. I loved reading the part. Rahul and Richita’s romance in the IIT campus is fine and mature. It isn’t kept under the clouds of love making and sex but in determination and passion. Inter-IIT sketching part is so sweet. Richita – Rahul first meet-up and cheering part during Sporting ceremony is simply beautiful concept. The way Rahul and Richita has to part their ways later on in the story tells us what realistic world is and how some people have to take such decisions because of the situation. Richita’s reaction to Rahul’s last letter is emotional even when it is expressed in just two sentences. Neerav and Richita’s conversation in the Interactive session is very refreshing. Again, Deepak’s coverage in the story is appreciable.
The USP of this book is the conversations that are described between any characters at any point of time. Each one of them carries a philosophy and knowledge with a pinch of wit and wisdom in it. I just want to frame all the conversations and place them on walls of my house and read them every morning. They are so good. Not in any other book did I find such wisdom in conversations. Even if you don’t have time to read the book, go through its conversation, you will learn a lot. 🙂 The climax of the book is some thing that satisfied me a lot because as the whole story kept on going with lots of sacrifices in every character’s life, I was skeptic about the climax.
Why Do I recommend this book?
After campus life glamour of corporate world, book enters into third stage. This is where maturity of content goes to highest level. Book not only discusses the current problem India as country is facing but it also suggests holistic approach to solve it.
On high level – focus is how to integrate youth energy into a single platform and channelize this energy for constructive purpose. Raising critical issues interlinking and having a practical approach to look from solution point of view is glimpse of author message to complete solution. Juist discussing problem without hinting on any possible approach is incomplete story. I am reallu glad that author takes it to conclusion.
Coming to the drawbacks- As the 2/3rd part of the story is based in America, people who does not have much idea outside India may find difficult to connect. But it is perfect for NRI crowd who has seen Indian life and US corporate world. There is heavy focus on USA corporate life and Indian social life. Characterization is very deep even if you are still in college and do not have much exposure to corporate world.
Value of money, involvement in society and nation building is prime focus. A phrase below describes capitalist vs social values –
“She could afford anything, she could give anything, but she could not share a moment of her life with anybody. She was a beautiful and a glamorous diamond with an astronomical price tag, but to a crude reality — she was still a stone, a living stone. Nothing else but a stone in an aesthetic sense.”
Some other notable quotes –
“America runs on credit darling. Why do you worry, our credit will take care of this payment. It is not saving or cash in hand that matters. We do not need cash, we just need potential. The system in the US believes in potential. That isthe model of the future. You need not be born rich, but you should be in the league that can make it big.”
“When people of similar frequencies come together, output is not a simple sum of individual work, but exponential. In science we term this phenomenon as resonance. Output at this stage is beyond any logical limit.”
“Robots do not celebrate anything. Celebration is an expression of joy, which cannot be mechanized.”
“Beauty lies in one’s heart and sex lies in one mind. It all depends on where your belief lies.”
“Needs are stronger than liking.”
“If you rob too much from one person, it becomes murder. If you steal little by little, it looks like business. Just find a way to refine it. The Internet has made it possible to connect to the whole world via one platform. Steal a penny from each person, call it service charge and you will be a millionaire. The volume makes a difference.”
“If one keeps on adapting, their contribution will be limited. They can only imitate but never create.”
Ignoring somebody’s mistakes in life from a powerful position makes you a saint, but the same act (whose intention does not matter), if carried out from a weak position, will make you a coward or helpless.
Sucheta Sinha is a free lancer academic journalist based out of Washington, DC.
Note# The above said review and comments are of Sucheta Sinha and not that of WHN.