A family's future is about to get messed up as an invitation arrives...
After a great month of reading modern-day classics like Kane and Abel, The Prodigal Daughter, The Odessa File, Flight of Eagles, Sons of Fortune and Paths of Glory, I decided to top it off by reading two books by Indian authors. The first one, Chetan Bhagat's 2 states – The Story of My Marriage was highly entertaining and scrumdiddlytumptious (as my favourite author Roald Dahl would say!). The other book was first time author Sangeetha Mall's Cloud 9 Minus One.
Since I loved one IIM grad's hilarious antics, I assumed that Sangeetha Mall's escapades would be similar. With Chetan Bhagat fresh in my mind, I settled down in my favourite spot and jumped straight into the book.
Therein lay my first mistake. Cloud 9 Minus One is an extremely serious book when compared to 2 States. It traces the life of an ex-IIM grad, Shruti Malhotra, 20 years after she has passed out from the revered institution in Bangalore. Shruti now lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Kailash (a model husband and a beautifully etched out character), a professor at the University of Pennsylvania specialising in Theatre, and her two children, Isha and Rohan.
One fine morning she finds a rather queer e-mail in her inbox: an invitation for an IIM alumni reunion at Bangalore. She deletes the e-mail without further thought as she doesn't want to confront her somewhat murky past. But her omniscient and thoughtful husband, Kailash, convinces her to attend the reunion and confront her inner demons with the whole family!
Sangeetha Mall could have easily added generous helpings of rib-tickling comedy into her first book, but interestingly she has chosen to take the uncharted territory of nostalgic drama.
Since most of the reader base will consist of school and college going kids, I'm not sure how they will connect with the book. Sangeetha Mall shows plenty of promise, demonstrating a flair for creating memorable characters. Be it the neurotic and sexually active best friend Priya Pathak, the sneak Ravi Saluja aka ‘Rats', the insanely jealous Jaggu, the brilliant young professor , Mr.Sasikanth and the eccentric best friend from Philly, Xenia.
What does the reunion have in store for Shruti and why is she so hesitant about going for a reunion, an occasion which no one in their right mind would miss? Well, that's for you curious readers to find out! Read this book only if you're in the mood for some serious drama!
Dhanya Srinath is a II nd year BA Economics student at Stella Maris college.